Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Etiquette of Ex's pt. 2

In part 1, I talked about the practice of signing written correspondence with "x's".

Now, lets talked about how this plays out in person.

I'm super-proud of myself because the last 2 times that I've greeted people that I know, I've totally pulled off the cheek-kiss.  I think.  It's the little things, right?

The other day, Ross and I were at The Trafford Centre picking up coffee pods for our Nespresso and having a wander.  We ran into Ross' cousin.  He went in for the cheek-kiss and I was totally ready for it!  No awkwardness at all!  (At least until afterwards when I pointed it out to Ross. "Did you see how I totally did the cheek-kiss!??!!")  

Then, this weekend, we met up with our friends Debra and Tom for lunch.  I greeted them both with the cheek-kiss.  Huzzah!  I'm getting the hang of this.

I think the only people I greet with a kiss on the cheek in America are close female relatives- like my mom and G'ma.  Maybe my aunt, but I'm not sure.  The problem is, now I've been corrupted and I can't remember if it's that I did before or if I would now so I think I did before.  Oh well.  

I don't know why this is such a difference between cultures, but it seems to be a default greeting in the UK.  I find this sort of interesting since I think of the American culture of being much more touchy-feely.  I'd definitely say Americans are way more huggy.  We're definitely more high five-y.

It was only in the last couple of years that I finally got the hang of a non-awkward adult handshake when meeting someone.  Prior to that, I languished in the adolescent "awkward wave" school.  It seems like a handshake greeting here would be totally out of place.  I feel like it would feel strangely formal and inappropriate in a social setting- even when meeting someone for the first time.  I remember when Ross came over for our second date, we went bowling with one of my friends and her husband so they could meet him.  My friend Cindy mentioned specifically that she loved that Ross did the cheek-kiss greeting when we said goodbye.  When I came over before our wedding and met Ross' family, I was totally wrong-footed by everyone coming in for the kiss.  I was overwhelmed by all these people I'd never met before putting their lips on my face.  Now it's 2 years later and I'm fine with it.  

But I do have one question.  I noticed that when I'm much more comfortable with the faux cheek-kiss.  That is- going cheek to cheek, but then kissing the air next to the cheek.  I've tried both ways.  I find that men generally actually make lip/cheek contact where as women do the faux method.  Is there an etiquette for this?
Will anyone be offended if I don't make contact and just faux cheek-kiss them? 


  1. Interesting, the different greeting cultures. We spent a year in Switzerland and there you shook everybody's hand when meeting. Each time. I taught English to kids and the little 5yr old Swiss kids would shake my hand each time when they arrive and again when they leave. Close friends did the cheek-kiss, three cheek-kisses each time!

  2. Haha - I love this. I was so proud of myself when I mastered the cheek-kiss! When I was back in America last month, it just came out as habit and I cheek-kissed friends and they totally werent expecting it, but handled it with grace :)