European Kisses

April 12, 2012

One of the things I really don't like about living in Europe is the kissing. Instead of shaking hands (or doing nothing like Americans) when meeting someone new or just a friend for coffee, Europeans feel the need to do the air kisses. They're cute enough, but every country does a different number of kisses and it's almost impossible to know when to kiss or when not to kiss. It's impossible to know if you should hug, or just kiss, or slightly hug while kissing or, just do nothing, or shake hands. It's my personal nightmare. I find it horribly embarrassing when I lean in to kiss someone and then it turns out we're not going to be air kissing after all. Oof! Fail. I also have no idea if I should talk while kissing, as in, "Mwah! How Mwah! are Mwah! you?" In Switzerland it's three kisses. So embarrassing when you kiss an Argentine (one kiss) or a Parisian (two kisses) and you keep going in for more. Oh! I really do hate the kissing. 

My final thought on the negatives of air kissing is that it spreads disease. Hear me out. A few days before going to the US, J and I came down with the most violent stomach virus in recent memory. So did all of the moms in my mommy group that had met that week, presumably because we all kissed when we got together. And, one of the moms in my mommy group is part of a Swiss mommy group and that whole group got it, too. Finally, let's just add that when we were raging contagious, just hours before the projectile vomiting began, we attended a little dinner party of Americans. No kisses were exchanged. The virus stopped there, my friends. Not one of our friends at that dinner party got it! So, there you have it. Yes, they're cute and ultra-Euro, but I hate the kisses. Sorry!

{photo from Parisien Salon}

Join the conversation!

  1. I hear ya sista, I too hate the kisses!!!

  2. I completely agree! The worst is when you enter a room full of Swiss people you do not know and you must kiss all of them three times and then again before you leave. Ugh! So time consuming and awkward.

  3. The Swiss are SO huge on greetings, aren't they? Hello AND goodbye. I've gone in for the hug (as I have gotten some of people to understand that I'm American...I hug, deal with it) - and she went in for the kiss and WHAM, right on the lips. ha! What I have a harder time with isn't the kissing really, but like you say, it's the not knowing whether we're kissing or not: you first meet someone that you really don't know - you shake hands, but then by the time you go to leave that person, if you've gotten to know each other, so then you do the kissing thing...but seriously how do you know? Then there's the 'which side do we start on' problem. ugh.

  4. Glad to know you all feel my pain! Amyjo - a kiss on the lips is my biggest fear!!!! Wow.

  5. May I point out that "Europeans" is too broad of a generalization. In fact, in Northern Europe really only the Swiss and French are "greeting-kissers". Some young people in the Baltic/Slavic countries do, but that's about it. Move on over to Germany and you will be air-kiss free ;-)


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