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Friday, September 6, 2013

The Stressful Kiss

Kissing is a big thing in Switzerland.  Actually, it is in Europe in general. Some places two kisses are customary, but here it is three.   

In Canada we hug, shake hands or do nothing.  A kiss is for family or lovers.  So for me, this kissing thing was at first extraordinarily uncomfortable.  However, as the adage goes "when in Rome" I went with the customary three kiss greeting hello and the three kiss good bye.  In fact, it is now so completely reflexive that if someone hugs me I get a bit thrown off.  

Today however, I found myself once again in the to kiss or not to kiss predicament.  I was at the train station with two male colleagues. All was normal until one had to leave to catch his train.  Normally in business environments we shake hands. Kiss greetings and farewells are for out of office activities with friends and acquaintances.  Normally.  Anyway, the two guys shook hands, and when it came to me it got awkward.   This fellow is both a collegue and a friend.  We were out of the office.  The handshake seemed too impersonal.  A three kiss farewell seemed wrong in front of the other colleague.  To me.  I think not to anyone else there.  

In the end, I shook his hand.  It felt completely strange.  He laughed at my uncertainty and the handshake.   "We could just hug" he offered.  

...and that was about when I said "see you Monday" and left.  Who knew kissing could be so stressful?


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