|The chocolate version|
When we were attending attache school before our first overseas move we spent quite a bit of time talking about kissing as a cultural form of greeting for both women and men alike. Because it simply isn't the cultural norm for most Americans, especially those in uniform, we actually spent time practicing our kissing greetings. I think this came easier for the women in our group as the majority of the men looked physically uncomfortable with the entire exercise. But again, I believe that this discomfort is a product of machismo American culture where a firm handshake and perhaps a slap on the back is more of the norm, since Europeans, both in and out of uniform, seem to be so much more comfortable with the notion.
|A single kiss|
Now here in Belgium the rules are different from the southern part of the Continent. Whereas triple kisses are exchanged in the Flemish region, here in Wallonia the standard appears to be a single cheek kiss amongst friends. Again, I learned the hard way after being the perpetrator of a double cheek kiss which took the recipient by surprise (and this was after she had initiated the greeting). Apparently it is also less common here for men to kiss men. At least that is what I've been told and in thinking about it I have yet to see it actually happen. Instead hearty handshakes followed by a brisk slap on the back seem to be more of the norm between both young and old men.
So when is a kiss just a kiss? And how many is the correct number? And to whom? I guess it depends upon where you are and where you are coming from.
|And a totally different type of KISS|