The first presidential debate of the general election kicked off Monday night with a show of peace between the often discussed spouses of the candidates. Bill Clinton and Melania Trump took their seats in the audience five minutes before the show kicked off, flanked by a gaggle of Trump children and the Clintons' daughter — but before that, they met center stage to acknowledge one another as potential first-spouses. To be clear: Not since Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" has the meeting of two hands captured our hearts.
While the major beef and fisticuffs were expected to be between Hillary and Donald, the meeting of their partners brought out different feelings across the Twitter-verse: From people marveling at the potential of a first-ever "first gentleman" or "first dude," a few off-color jabs about the two of them canoodling (c'mon guys!) to serious, probing inquiries into whether this was a subtle competition to see who actually had the best firm, two-pump, boardroom-ready handshake.
Comedian Patton Oswalt did take a moment to caution Twitter against the low-hanging fruit jokes that come with such a deliciously uncomfortably awkward situation, but quickly realized it was too good to pass-up: "Okay guys, let's try to rise above the Bill/Melania handshake jokes. This is an important...oops, never mind" It's obvious, there was certainly something there in that sweaty-palmed interaction — something that makes it so, so hard to look away.
I'll give it to the haters out there: It is sort of lame to focus on the antics of Bill and Melania while their spouses duke it out for our highest political office on state. I'll own that. However, when you're given such a wealth of material in under 15 seconds on screen, it's all too easy to get caught up in the Bill and Melania fan-fiction.
First of all, there's the slow walk across the floor, not unlike a death march (no one's in a rush to meet their fate), then there's the grip (looks firm and tight enough to be unpleasant, someone might be sweating), the actual shake (two pumps and an awkward wiggle thing that lasts a few beats too long), and then the parting of ways (both eyes glazed over, turned back to the safety of their respective camps.)
For all the despair and discomfort in this election thus far, it helps to have a moment of comic relief. Thanks to the both of you, Bill and Melania.