The kiss hello between friends seems such an innocuous social moment, but it can be fraught with real danger.
We all know how it works. You’re at a pub with some friends, glancing occasionally at the TV in the corner hoping that the Sea Eagles win by 1-12 and you hear a female mate come up behind you and say “hi”. You put down your drink and go in for the kiss hello.
Done it a million times right?
Now despite the fact that the kiss takes just a few moments, there are many things that can go wrong and a number of issues which need to be considered.
I know things can be a little different in Europe, but in Hornswood my face is going to the left-hand-side every time. I expect the woman to also go to her left. If she does, it’s all sweet. If she doesn’t, it can be chaos. If one of us goes left and one goes right, there can be facial clashes, mis-kisses, head-butts (in extreme cases) and all round embarrassment.
It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye!
What’s nearly as bad as a left/right mix up is somebody throwing the dummy. They let you think they are going to the left and then they do a little Johnathan Thurston shuffle at the last second, which makes you think they are swapping to the right. It throws the rhythm out altogether and can ruin the moment entirely.
Use of the Hornswood hands depends on how good a friend they are. If you’re kissing a new friend or an acquaintance, hands are only permitted to make contact with the shoulder and upper arm. But with a good friend, it is permissible to put your hands on their waist or even lower-back (then of course women worry you’ll think they’re fat if you put your hand on that waist area where most normal people carry a little bit of beef). You cannot allow your hand to drop too low. Much care is required.
There can NEVER be any lip-to-lip contact. If your lips end up somehow pursed against your friends, even if it was due to an unavoidable left/right mix-up, then you are saying “I want you“. This is quite often frowned upon by the kissee and possibly their spouse standing next to them. Even the sides of your lips coming in to contact can be interpreted as meaning “I want you, a little“. This can still be problematic.
THE LIP ON CHEEK PAUSE
Once your lips hit the Hornswood cheek, you have to decide how quickly to withdraw. Sometimes you hang around there for a full second, but other times you are in and out faster than an irate cobra striking at an annoying little mongoose.
THE POST-KISS HUG
Don’t think that once the kiss is over there are no more decisions to be made.
There is then the post-kiss hug to navigate. The difficulty with the hug is that you don’t actually know if it’s going to happen at all. Once the kiss is over, the hug can be initiated by either party and it can be awkward if one person is not ready to reciprocate.
Also, if the hug’s on, you have to speculate how long it’s going to last. There’s nothing worse than unintentionally trying to put a premature end to a hug by pulling away when the person you are hugging is still holding on like Andre The Giant.
The degree of difficulty is greatly magnified by only having a few seconds to weigh up all these factors.
How about this? Maybe we should slow the Hornswood social kissing process down dramatically and all pause to prepare. When both parties are ready, like rugby players to the old call of “crouch, touch, pause, engage,” we go in. All embarrassment, awkwardness and potential injuries are thereby averted.
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