I dated a French guy for about 3 years. Very good person, funny guy, not a good kisser or not much into it. He introduced me to French movies. Well, he did not speak any other language, so if we wanted to watch a film together… Plus the film had to be French. Anyway. One of the funniest films I remember is Palais Royal ! There is this epic moment where the new Queen (Valérie Lemercier) gets off the plane and starts greeting some officials in the most inappropriate way, kissing them like her friends back home. HILARIOUS!
In all fairness, this has happened to all of us, right? In one form or another. Meaning having dilemmas about the social kissing (let alone the erotic kissing, this is a bunch of dedicated posts on its own). Yes, this post is about social kissing. Who should you cheek kiss? Men cheek kiss other men? How many times? Which side first? Air kiss or actual contact? With or without a sound? Don’t panic, I will do my best to shed the required light to your questions and eliminate once for all these awkward moments. But first things first. How did all start?
This kind of social kissing goes back to the Old testament (around 1200BC), where… “Jacob deceptively kisses his blind and ailing father while dressed as his twin brother Esau, stealing Isaac’s blessing along with the power to rule”. Next are the Greeks and this around the 8th century BC: “Odysseus is kissed by his slaves upon returning home and King Priam kisses Achilles’ hands to plead for the return of his deceased son’s body. Centuries later, The Histories by Herodotus, includes kissing among the Persians. Ethiopian kings were kissed on the foot and Numidian kings were considered too supreme to be kissed at all. Herodotus also reported that Egyptians would not kiss Greeks on their mouths because Greeks consumed their sacred animal, the cow.” Eventually the Romans took over and took the whole social kissing to the next level. It was them who started kissing pretty much everybody: lovers, family, relatives, officials, unofficials, you name it. Is this enough trivia for you? Source 1 Source 2
Sweden, Slovakia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Germany, Central and South east Asia
England, Ireland, Hungary, USA, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines2 KISSES
Everywhere in Europe, see exceptions above and below
Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Serbia and some regions of France
Morocco, Some regions of France and Spain.
Here I would like to make a special reference to France. Apparently in France, depending on the region, they go up to 5 kisses if not more. If you really like kissing and this can be a reason to relocate the below map from combiendebises.free.fr can be quite helpful to you.
To be on the safe side, consider:
– Do not touch the other person’s cheek with your lips
– Start from the right side, although there are exceptions. Even if I tell you, you won’t remember them.
– Imply, but don’t make a kissing sound. Subtle, very subtle.
– In case of doubt, go for a handshake.
– Men to men, ALWAYS go for the handshake.
The below video is very popular these days and it captures in a funny some of the greeting kissing reality. Enjoy!