“See ya have a great day……….Wait…hold on!! Haven’t you forgotten something?”
I wait. Pouting. Making kissing noises as Max pauses mid exit.
A roll of the eyes, his head pops back in and he presents the top of his head to me.
Awesome. Another mouthful of hair.
I don’t remember doing the daily kiss with my parents but it is something that I do with my kids. Most days they are willing. Others they need reminding. And every so often I need to explain I don’t want to kiss the top of a head.
While I don’t want to force them to kiss I am guilty of ‘gentle’ persuasion.
“Kiss your Grandpa or there’s no TV for a week”
“Give Auntie Mabel a kiss for the present she gave you or I’m taking it back to the shop”
It’s not ideal. I never liked being made to kiss when I was a kid living in Scotland.
Kisses from 82 year old Great Auntie Mary still haunt me;
“I got a wee bit of lipstick on your face. Let me get that”, says Great Auntie Mary as she spits into a tissue to wipe my cheek. A bit of dribble running down her lip.
“Great Aunty Mary. Get that fucking tissue out my face” is what I want to say as she inches towards me.
But I’m only 8 and I don’t want to get a belting.
“There we go. Much better” she coo’s as she grabs a chunk of my cheek flesh and gives it a shoogle.
I leave rubbing my swelling cheek. Mental note to return only under duress.
There are many cultural ways of kissing. A few noted at the bottom of this blog. But I find one type of greeting very awkward.
The mouth kisser.
I don’t come across many of them. But they are out there. One notorious elderly, overweight mouth kisser loves to greet me with arms spread wide,
“oh hi Rob, so nice to see you again” she exclaims
I was caught off guard the first time and she planted a wet one right on my lips.
Now when we meet I move to goal keeping mode. I choose my side. My head bobs around like a Bollywood dancer. Choose wrong and I’m getting some tongue. Too slow and it’s CHIPS. Half cheek half lips. There’s a lot of pressure.
To a young boy it is mortifying to receive kisses in public. My youngest just refuses. Scrunches his eyes. Stands like a statue. Braces for impact. My eldest does a sweep of the area, checking there are no friends around, before reluctantly offering himself. Often it’s “Later dad. Later”.
The age of kids refusing to kiss their parents in public can range from 6 upwards. And then I imagine it gets less and less until post 20’s when they think that we are old and have nothing more to look forward to than a kiss from their child when they visit.
Perhaps they are right but until then I am going to continue to wrestle them to the ground and kiss them till they can’t breathe.
And it wouldn’t be uncommon for them to reciprocate with a Glasgow kiss!
A few social greetings from country to country.
- UK – not that common to kiss on the cheek unless it’s within the circle of family and friends
- France – each cheek seems to be the norm, although the kiss count per cheek does vary across the country.
- Spain – similar to France
- Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland – they like the 3 kisses here. Start with the right cheek.
- Middle East – common between family and friends. But between and male and femail is considered inappropriate unless they are married or related.
- Philippines – this is a cheek-to-cheek kiss and not a lips-to-cheek kiss
- North America – cheek kissing is common in large cities with a European flare. Amongst immigrant groups their carried over customs are usually continue. This greeting is almost exclusively performed amongst family and friends