The social kiss “hello” between friends seems such an innocuous social moment, but it can be fraught with real danger.
We’ve all been there.
You’re at the pub with some mates, desperately hoping that the Sea Eagles win and then you see a female friend coming up to say “hi”. You put down your drink and go in for the kiss hello. Good times.
Now despite the fact that the kiss takes but a few moments, there are many things that can and do 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 (the mystical little suburbs between Hornsby and Chatswood) 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 awkward and chaotic. If one of us goes left and one goes right, there can be nasal-clashes, mis-kisses, head-butts (in extreme cases) and all round embarrassment. It’s awful.
What’s nearly as bad as a left/right mix up is when somebody “throws-the-dummy”. Whereby, through their confident body language, they give me the impression they are extremely competent in the social-kiss-hello field and they have mastered the perfect technique. Thereby lulling me into a false sense of kiss-security, so I nonchalantly turn to the left.
Then, they suddenly do a subtle little hesitant-shimmy at the last second, thereby interrupting the coming-in-for-a-kiss body movement, which makes you think momentarily, that they are swapping at this late stage, to the right. It throws the rhythm out altogether and can be a disaster.
Always go the left ladies. Please.
Use of the hands during the social-kiss-hello, depends entirely on how good a friend they are. I wouldn’t go putting my hand on the arm of my kid’s Head Mistress, if meeting her for the second time.
If you’re kissing a relatively new friend, hands are only permitted to make contact with the shoulder and at best, the upper-arm. But with a really close friend it is permissible to put your hands on their waist. Or if it’s not permissible, and they aren’t quite as close a friend as you thought, she’ll let you know I’m sure. Be advised no matter who the old friend is, women will always 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 of course cannot allow your hand to drop too low and any form of inebriation is not an acceptable excuse. Much care is required.
There can never be any incidental lip-to-lip contact. If your lips end up somehow pursed against your friends, even if it was due to an unavoidable left/right, throw-the-dummy mix-up, then you are pretty much saying “I want you. Any chance?” This is quite often frowned upon by the person you are kissing 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. Any chance?” This can still be problematic.
THE LIP ON CHEEK PAUSE
Once your lips hit the Hornswood cheek, you must then 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. However, despite the importance of the length of the lip-on-cheek pause, there’s no way of predicting how long the other person is expecting you to hang around there.
You simply need to be poised, ready withdraw at exactly the moment she does.
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 terrible if one person is not ready to reciprocate.
If the hug’s on, you then also have to speculate on 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 for the social-kiss-hello of course, is greatly magnified by both participants, only having a few seconds to weigh up all these factors.
How about this?
Maybe we should all slow the social kissing process down dramatically and all pause to prepare. When both parties are ready, like rugby players to the old call of “crouch, pause, engage,” we go in, having discussed the expectation/rules. All embarrassment, awkwardness and potential injuries are thereby averted.
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