Hands, not handwriting, can be very revealing of one's character. In fact, it is the hands and not the eyes one could scrutinize to get a better insight of the person, experts say.
As far as occupations go, common sense tells us that a writer or an office worker is likely to have soft hands, while the expression "horny-handed son of toil" aptly reflects the damage done by manual labour.
AdvertisementTo the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, such a theory was elementary. "By a persons' fingernails... by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb... by each of these things an individual's calling is revealed."
It was a lesson learned well by the Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia during the 1970s. In a bid to root out individual thinkers, Pol Pot's soldiers would routinely examine people's hands. Those with soft palms were deemed "intellectuals" and despatched to the Killing Fields, writes Julian Joyce in BBC News Magazine.
Yet hands also allude to a person's age. A study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that most people who were shown photographs of a female hand were able to accurately estimate the subject's age.
The most common giveaway, say researchers, is prominent hand veins, something that can be overcome - at least in the short term - by holding the hand up in the air so the blood drains away, says Steve Barker of the model agency Hired Hands. It's an old hand-model trick, and is routinely used to make a person's hands appear younger than they really are."
But while a person's hands may indicate their age or occupation, practitioners of chiromancy - or palmistry - believe the appearance of a person's hands can offer more revealing insights.
Whilst many scientists are dismissive of palmistry, they do believe that the shape of the hand, or more specifically the relative size of the index and ring fingers, can provide accurate information about an individual.
Research by Professor John Manning, author of The Finger Book, suggests those with a long ring finger compared to their index finger are more likely to excel at sporting activities. Those with larger index fingers are more likely to be sociable.
"It is all to do with the amount of the hormones testosterone and oestrogen produced by the foetus while it is in the womb," he says. "More testosterone is indicated by a relatively large ring finger. More oestrogen shows up as a longer index finger."
Recently the fidgety, ink-stained, nails-bitten-to-the-quick hands of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came under a scanner in the media. Whether he has become a nervous wreck or not, his anxiety in the wake of his declining political fortunes is there for all to see.
The relative sizes of Gordon Brown's index and ring fingers are not recorded - so his testosterone levels are difficult to assess.
But Ms Henderson, who is also creative director of the style agency Colour Me Beautiful, says if the prime minister wants to work on his image, he needs to take urgent action on his hands.
"If everything was going well for him, he might get away with those fingers. But in current circumstances he needs all the help he can get."
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