“Well just a quickie. You want to do it again madam? Whoa there. A third time, but we’ve just met?”
Cheek-kissing etiquette, those puckering up greetings, leave me confused and embarrassed. What do you do? How do you approach the situation? At a recent event a London PR woman hugged me and then cheek-to-cheeked me, one side then the other, three times. By the last kiss I was waiting for someone to shout, “get a room!” Indeed, I was so bewildered about where to put my head I gave her a Glasgow kiss instead of a chaste peck.
This might all be down to my nationality of course. I’m British and I like being reserved. I prefer irony to slapstick, detachment to engagement. As a rule I’ve found that tactile relations between new acquaintances, is the preserve of binge drinking sessions. Or Italians. When I was brought up in the seventies, outward displays of physical affection were taken to indicate deep psychological trouble - even between close family members. Hugging a stranger was welcomed like a dose of Black Death.
I pine for the good old days of a firm handshake. Not one of those idiot finger breaking workouts from businessmen worried about their manhoods, but a decent brief grip of mutual respect. There was certainty and clarity. None of this doubt over do I, don’t I and how many times?
Public relations (with noble exceptions, you know who you are in Manchester) is a largely useless lubricant in the cogs of society. But the first, second and third times I was cheek-bothered by someone they were all PR types. Could it be that human behaviour in the UK has been altered by PR? Lord help us all.
Then again it might be American teen soaps that are changing the British. They may already have done so. The OC generation in high schools, in universities - in Cathedral Gardens on a Saturday - are at it all the time. They cling to each other like a mutual friend’s just been savaged by a demon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hugging with no strings attached is de rigeur. No hang-ups at all.
It was suggested I write this with a view to offering advice on what people might do when faced with a person’s head bending towards them? But I’m clueless. I offer only incomprehension. Best I can do is say, close your eyes and think of England. Personally I’d much rather shake on it.
Do Confidential readers have a solution to the dilemma of air-kissing? Should it be one, two, three? A handshake or a slap in the face? Let us know below.
11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.
Depends on the arse.Read more
There are no excuses for arse-kissing.Read more
It's a good book. So why not, eh? Thank you for your troll-like comments, though. What a wonderful…Read more
I was born on George Leigh st. I consider myself a true Mancunian and your comments about certain…Read more