Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Can you kiss your friend?

In France we air kiss people when we see them in the morning. Basically it's just cheek touching cheek and both site make the sound of kissing, at least this was how I was taught.

These days I noticed that some of my classmates actually peck my cheeks and I sense the "wet" lips. It kind of disgusted me, but I can't tell the French to change their way of greeting, can I? It just that I won't reciprocate. In fact I try to avoid air kisses as much as possible by simple say good morning and smile at everyone in the class when I arrive. But when the others arrive some of them will go kiss everyone in the class, and it would be weird to refuse this nice gesture.

Another phenomenon is that I saw a classmate (guy) pecking the cheek of another classmate (girl) during a conversation, when he was happy or just wanted to show friendship. He would sometimes massage the shoulders of some girl classmates. Us the foreigners were a bit disturbed and we told him to not do that, but he said this is the French tradition.

This map shows how many air kisses you need to do in each region, represent by the circle. Four circles mean four air kisses for one person. As for me, I let people do two kisses no matter where I'm and just apologize that I didn't know they do four kisses.

So for you guys, can you accept to be kissed on the cheeks? Would you kiss everyone in your class/workplace? How do you greet your friends?


  1. Hi Bee Ean, ha ha, love this post of yours.
    Here in Canada, even among our Malaysian, Singapore exciles they have followed the welcome, goodbye of embracing, Canadian style, but thank goodness not kissing cheeks.
    For me, I rather shake hands, or just a nod to say 'goodbye' or 'hello', be it a male or female.
    I may be a Canadian of 21 years here, but no way I go around hugging or kissing cheeks.
    Ahhhh, but under a full moon by the beach, on a moonlight rendezvous, that is a different story, ha ha.
    Au revoir, m'selle. UL.
    ps, if free come over for cafe au lait.

  2. BE,
    I love the post, I just stumbled it and wrote a review on stumbleupon site, you might want to check it out :):).

    Aiyo Lee, why you so old fashion one leh ? Ok, I won't kiss you on the cheek then :):).


  3. u.lee,

    Thanks for passing by. Can I have a croissant to go with the cafe au lait? In fact, I still haven't appreciated how to drink coffee.

    Thanks for the stumble.

  4. Back in my workplace in France, we had to cheek kiss (the air type) all our colleagues on the same project every morning! So time consuming. It's ok when you have 2-3 people on the project, but on 1 project, we had 20!! It's always best to come in early that way, the late comers come to you. Otherwise, you have to go round to everyone! All the kissing was "air-kissing" - none of those wet-lip type kisses -urhghghg.

  5. the map is excellent! but damn it that in bretagne, we have to give 4 pecks! most of the time, i just touch cheek-to-cheek without making any sound.

  6. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Good post.