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The insidious spread of social kissing

This may be a reflection more on the circles in which I move but has anyone else noticed that social kissing has become really rather prevalent?

There was a time when you were free from the risk of kissing from all and sundry except when in close proximity to mistletoe – handshaking was fine with most people and a peck on the cheek for family members

Increasingly I find myself ambushed by enthusiastic social kissers – it’s one thing to give a good friend a hug and a quick one/two but even fairly new acquaintances seem to consider it ok to lean in for a quick double kiss

I’m progressive, I can cope with that – nice change from the British reserve and so on

But the problem is that the line between business and pleasure appears to be increasingly blurred.  It’s that time of year when there’s more work socialising – a range of drinks events, coffees and lunches, all of which now appear to put me in the firing line to be manhandled and have my personal space invaded by all and sundry

Awkward doesn’t start to touch on how I must look – you go in for a nice, comfortable, old style handshake and suddenly find someone’s face FAR too close to yours and them mid-kiss

I can’t be the only one who then gets stuck trying to decide whether to leap backwards out of range or to reluctantly join in and, as a result, finds themselves fumbling the whole thing and risking looking too enthusiastic about the process as I frantically try to catch up with the whole thing – getting the right bit of body in the right place at the right time when you’ve been surprised by the manoeuvre in the first place is not easy!

I’ve tried proffering a very outstretched hand for a handshake whilst leaning back as far as I can, only to discover some chaps are so enthusiastic about social kissing they sort of us your arm to pull you in closer and you find yourself holding hands awkwardly as they lunge towards your cheek

Was there a memo sent around explaining that The New Thing in professional circles is to get up close and personal?

Has my new cologne made me devastating attractive to the opposite sex? (here’s where I admit I’m ‘borrowing’ Mr M’s having run out and there still being a few weeks to run until Christmas…)

Or is it just that social kissing is spreading like a nasty sort of mould?

As Littler would say ‘kissy wissy’ or rather not?

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22 Comments

  1. Yes! Was thinking the exact same the other day when I noticed there seems to be a lot of it in the playground too, which strikes me as odd as most of these people see each other every day. Like you say, the problem is that we are not used to it in this country, so the etiquette just isn’t established and it can end up awkward all round!

    Reply
    • Wow – haven’t seen it in our playground yet but that could be terribly uncomfortable – am still working on getting names and children sorted out without the distraction of added kissing issues

      Reply
  2. The workplace mix up I can cope with but it’s the ‘ooh-I’m-trying-to-be-continental-in-front-of-the-neighbours-by-kissing-both-cheeks’ which ends up with a confused smacker on the lips and a bottom pat thrown in for good measure from my father in law that I struggle with more.

    Reply
    • Bottom pat? Oh no

      Don’t people realise that we are English and this is just terribly uncomfortable for everyone involved?

      Reply
  3. I moved to Australia 4 years ago where everyone kisses everyone on not ont but BOTH cheeks and I’m still completely awkward. Just this weekend I turned the wrong way and nearly snogged a friends wife. What’s wrong with walking into a room and saying hello?
    I’m sure this smooching craze will spread a cross the uk too. Just one person in a group has to kiss and then every overly polite English person will feel obliged to too. Take a stand before it’s too late!

    Reply
    • I can sort of cope with it in a social context but at WORK!

      Is definitely getting worse – the only good thing is that I’ve been working in Iceland and presumably it is too cold up there to allow this sort of thing to happen

      Reply
  4. OMG, someone introduced their husband to me the other day in the playground and he leaned in to kiss me. I didn’t want to appear rude, so did the double-kiss-thing, but inside I was the very model of Maggie Smith’s character on Downton. World. Gone. Mad.

    Reply
    • World. Gone. Mad.

      And scary – much much more comfortable with hand shaking

      Reply
  5. I am married to a Greek so it seams perfectly normal to me! Always one for each cheek too!

    Reply
  6. I met a work contact today. Someone I have known in a work context (only) for about 6 years. I’ve not seen him for about 18 months. He went for the double social kiss too. Weird, but increasingly happening with (male) work contacts when meeting for coffee (and once even In The Office). Argh. Hard to duck without causing offence…

    Reply
    • Incredibly hard to duck and getting worse – I have no desire to get up close and smoochy with people I’m trying to look professional infront of! Just no idea how to stop it without going ‘ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww’

      Reply
  7. I have lived in Gran Canaria for over 19 years, and it’s totally normal here. But as the saying goes, ‘You can take the girl outta Swansea… etc, etc.”

    Most of the time I get it right, but I still balls it up occasionally, which finds me almost snogging the face off a colleague or head butting a teacher…

    In addition, the majority of the islands inhabitants go in for two pecks, but the capital city dwellers and wannabes only proffer one cheek. Also, close acquaintances and old friends expect a hug and maybe a bit of overzealous back patting too, it’s a bloody minefield…

    I think I’d prefer to curtsey!

    Reply
    • Am sure that kissing of hands is well overdue a renaissance… just too many variables for my liking

      Reply
  8. I try to avoid it whenever I can. I don’t really like it as it invades my private space. I’m not even a hugger, if I don’t have to or am very close to someone x

    Reply
    • I really don’t like having my personal space invaded, especially by people I don’t want inside it

      Reply
  9. Ha ha! Love your post. I feel lucky, having moved from. London to tiny Herts village kissing is not prevalent here…!

    Reply
    • Isn’t it? Seems terribly so in our little Herts town but maybe we are a few miles too close to London – like the idea of it being geographical

      Reply
  10. Oh I hate it the ones I want to kiss I get so embarrassed and botch and they must think I don’t like them at all and the ones I would rather not kiss leave you feeling that you need to take a shower!

    Reply
    • The worst botch being where you either get an ear or a mouth – shudder!

      Reply

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