Parallelogram: Kissing Perfect Strangers

\One experience explored from two points-of-view\

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Laura\Mayaguez

How do the locals greet each other?

Men shake hands with other men. Women give a little kiss on the right cheek.  I assume men and women kiss likewise but I don’t see it as often. And not everyone does this all the time. I think it’s primarily when you greet a good friend or someone that you work with closely. It really varies from person to person. I should ask someone about this. We just hosted a neighborhood Christmas party and I didn’t see the neighbors do it much. But the parents at the school kiss each other.

Have they greeted you similarly? Is it awkward?

Only my kid’s babysitter and our Spanish tutor.  At first when the babysitter did it with me I was all “whoa! ok!” which I think she sensed then she didn’t do it much again.  I kinda missed doing it so I began the custom again.  I think people are unsure if Americans want this interaction so they just hold off.

Have your kids taken up the custom?

No.

This pic has nothing to do with kissing.

This pic has nothing to do with kissing.

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Lisa\Montreal

How do the locals greet each other?

Kiss Kiss
“French Canadians are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. You’ll be surprised how quickly you catch on to the customary two kisses, one on each cheek. These “bisous” are a common greeting, an expression of endearment among friends (and really a more hygienic salutation than shaking someone’s who-knows-where-they-have-been hands).”

Have they greeted you similarly? Is it awkward?

I have yet to work out all the kinks of this custom.  For example, when saying goodbye to a friend I’ve had over for coffee then yes – kisses.  But when saying goodbye to this same friend after the kids get on the bus in the morning, then no – just a wave.  Never from my landlord.  Never with our sitter (but I suspect there should be and she is just abdicating to my role/lead as the adult.)

I like this custom.  Did they do this in Bermuda?  I can’t remember but I don’t find it awkward.  Bring on the love.

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Have your kids taken up the custom?

Out of nowhere one day, maybe after kissing Daddy goodbye in morning, Arlo stopped the proceedings and said “No, no!  In Montreal they do it like this!” and proceeded to plant a kiss on both cheeks.  Oui!  Early education, people!  Farrah Star, eyes never wavering from her brother, was clearly intrigued so Kris in turn taught her how to bisous-bisous.  So now – inside our house at least – we are all doubled-upped on kisses all the time.

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One Response to Parallelogram: Kissing Perfect Strangers

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