Monday, 1 February 2010

To kiss or not to kiss?

Can somebody please establish a set of guidelines for the etiquette of social kissing? Whether at a party or work meeting, the moment of decision can be an excruciating time. There is no clear directive, and this inevitably leads to many moments of extreme embarrassment.

I have lost count of the number of times I have either gone to shake the hand of a woman who was zoning into my cheek for a kiss, leaving an awkward moment worthy of a Borat movie, or have gone to kiss the cheek, only to have the woman look at me like I’m about to assault her and give grounds for a mace retaliation.

Then there’s that awful moment when both heads go in same direction and you end up weaving from side to side like a pair of cockatoos. Equally painful are those times when you are lining up at a business meeting to say goodbye to somebody that everyone except you knows. One by one they plant a smacker on the cheek, whilst you wait your turn not knowing what to do. You’ve maybe known each other for an hour in a formal setting which is not really the grounds for a physical relationship, but yet you don’t want to seem rude and be the only person to keep their distance. What do you do? Shake hands, single kiss, double kiss, air kiss, right cheek first, left, faint, run away?

Of course the Mediterranean culture has had a big influence, so there are people who will kiss both cheeks and maybe even go in for a hug. I have even witnessed occasions of a quick kiss on the lips, but for God’s sake, where does it stop? Will there come a time when it’s de rigueur to perform French kissing followed by a bear hug, a breast grope or even a little light cunninglingus?

We need a set of simple to follow rules so we all know where we stand. Any thoughts welcome.

Mwah Mwah!


  1. I'm totally with you on this - and how does everyone else seem to know what to do? A colleague of mine actually does the triple-cheek kiss (all cheeks are on the face, he just kisses one of them twice - it's not that familiar!) and I have never once seen him so much as clash noses or get a slap. How does he do it?

  2. Thanks for posting this. The old kissy kissy cheek thing is a right old thing isn't it? I know people who steam in for a kissy kiss at every opportunity, like they're fucking French or something; "ooh hark at moi, I'm so fucking continental, I read the culture section of the newspaper, walk past the Eurostar terminal once a day, pronounce 'croissant' like a ponce". No thanks.
    It has created some very funny scenes though, where you see someone move in for a kissy kiss and the other person recoil visibly, or wince.
    That's good stuff.

  3. Unfortunately Sell Sell, the person who has gone in for the kissy kiss, albeit against my better judgement, and had the recoil, is me. Why can't we just stick to a good old fashioned hand shake and be done with it?