The XX Factor

Win or Lose, Tim Kaine and His Dad Gestures Came Ready to Play Today

“There’s my main man!” —Tim Kaine


Tim Kaine has been practicing his corny-dad gestures in bathroom mirrors all his life, waiting for a moment when he’d get to try ’em out on an endless line of people waiting with hands to shake and arms to grasp.

Today was his big day! Kaine came out in peak form, greeting supporters in his home state of Virginia with a diverse array of pleasant gesticulations. In CNN’s footage, he looked like a rec soccer coach before a game, giving each of his team members the individualized encouragement she needs to win the darn thing.

His warmth was contagious and soothing, reminding viewers that no matter what happens today, Kaine will still love us and support us in whatever we do, and trying our best is the only thing that matters. Kind of? Anyway, here’s what we heard from Kaine’s parental body language.

The Two-Point Salute


What he’s saying: “There he is! The big guy! My buddy!”
The recipient: An insecure young man—at risk of being seduced by Donald Trump, perhaps—who needs a role model to show him that strong men can be feminists who play harmonica.

The In-Your-Face Thumb


What he’s saying: A hyperaggressive version of the traditional campaign thumbs-up, this is Kaine getting up in his fan’s business with golden-retriever enthusiasm. “Are ya gonna vote? Ya gonna vote? For me, right? VOTIIIIIIIIIIING.”
The recipient: An even-keeled voter in need of an energy shot.

The Wound-Up Fist Bump and Shoulder Squeeze


What he’s saying: “Put it there, my man. You can do it, champ. And you know what? I’ll always have your back.”
The recipient: A devoted Democratic voter who inspires Kaine’s untold depths of affection and gratitude to overflow.

The “Woo! Heeyyy.”


What he’s saying: “CIVIC DUTIES are friggin’ awesome! And is that—? IT IS! Judiiiiiith. Get in here, you.”
The recipient: Judith, or someone like Judith, whom Kaine either totally loves and appreciates or doesn’t remember one bit but pretends to recognize so no one gets hurt feelings. USA!