Today, I propose the immediate ban on any celebrity using a “Baby Wave”
— the slow opening and closing of spread fingers closing into a fist with the palm facing you — that red carpet fame carpetbaggers like Paris Hilton and Penelope Cruz and many others routinely use instead of a proper, flat-handed, wave that pivots on the wrist from a visible elbow anchored to the side of the body. In the image below, we have the perfected example of a proper Baby Wave — from Heath Ledger’s daughter Matilda— and since the Baby Wave is from a celebrity baby, we’re fine its flexing and extension.

However, when iconic celebrities use the Baby Wave on their fans and the paparazzi, our stomachs churn just a little bit as we wonder about the why of the wave. Do they think they’re being cute and childish by stealing the wave of a baby? Or are they so self unaware that they never learned how to wave like an adult?

The only thing worse than the spread-fingered-baby-wave is the “Cupped Baby Wave” where all the fingers move in unison from an open, but cupped, position into a fingers-on-heel-of-palm closed state. Some celebrities are repeat “Baby Wave” style offenders.

Actually, there is a worse wave than the “Cupped Baby Wave” — and it is the “Modified Hitler Salute” — where one leads with their elbow instead of the hand and fingertips of the palm point behind the head.

The often-mocked “Queen’s Wave” — where one presents the forward-facing palm for the slow and methodical open-palmed “waving” anchored on the axis of the wrist — is not a bad celebrity wave. It is controlled and shows respect.

The “Over-Anxious Puppy Wave” is one that imitates a dog’s wagging tail. The hand moves above the head and forward of the face and the elbow disappears into the arm. Radical waving ensues as the hand blurs against an even and steady eye. This wave begs for attention and can actually form a slight breeze for bystanders.

The most proper celebrity wave is the “Heya Wave” and it is marked by an open hand with fingers slightly ajar and the open palm roughly matches the height of the head. The elbow is constantly visible by the celebrity’s side and never moves. The only movement is in the billowy, soft, waving of the palm-front hand that makes eye contact with each observer.

Sometimes — in order to control the proper “Heya Wave” from becoming a “Over-Anxious Puppy Wave” — the celebrity must employ handcuffs to keep the arm from losing its elbow and becoming a mast for a blurry hand flag. We honor the dedication to chain an appropriate “Heya Wave” in place.

If these “Rules of Celebrity Waving” are too much to take in — a simple nod of the head is always better than any sort of wave because it conveys a calm coolness that we expect from those we choose to adore.


  1. Wow! I didn’t realize that celebrities had such a big impact on how we wave.

  2. Wow…I’ve never thought in such details about waving…
    I seriously started pondering — “did I wave to anybody? Ever? What was it like? Would I wave again after reading this??” Now I am way too confused about these rules and agree a slight nod works the best!

  3. It’s a horrible anomaly, Gordon! You see these adult stars — mainly female — waving like uncoordinated two-year olds. Talk about infantilism in action! I guess the Baby Wave goes with the Baby Voice.

  4. It’s funny that when you watch the red carpet rope line of many entertainment award events — the women Baby Wave and the men nod and keep their hands in the pockets. It’s a strange an frightening phenomenon. In real life, most people wave to say “Hello” when they’re out of earshot, while others, within earshot, give the “Peace Sign” and others still use the “Thumbs Up” model to talk with their hands in quiet environments.

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