Have you noticed how suddenly everyone's kissing? I'm not talking continental kissing, pecking one cheek, and then the other. I mean a bit of a hug then a kiss on the cheek or the side of the face at least. And it's not just extended family and very close friends here. Though certainly they're at it too. No, I mean kissing in a business context.
Seems to me the rule is, if you have ever met the person before even just once, then you greet them with a kiss. Male-female kiss, yes. Female-male kiss, sure. Female–female absolutely. Male-male, actually I'm not sure. Maybe readers can enlighten me.
Everyone's doing it. Bank manager and customer. Boss and employee. Next door neighbors. Client and accountant. Any old colleague. They're all welcoming each other with a little muffle and a scuffle around the cheek and lip area. Granted, not a full smackaroony, I'm talking fuzzy, huggy, apologetic, crushing of cheeks, lips, or anything else around the upper head region.
Where has this come from? It's stolen upon us insidiously. What was once an occasional phenomenon 18 months ago when I was still with Ernst & Young, is now rife throughout the world, business and otherwise.
What's your take on this? Mine is a bit of awkwardness. If I don't do it first then I get treated to a muffled hug - like I've forgotten. Or when the other party is more inhibited, I find we are looking at each other with inadequately covered discomfort, knowing what we should do but not quite mustering up. And the uneasiness sits with you throughout the meeting, like a thinly veiled sensation of indigestion.
Well, I'm having no more of it. From now on I'm sticking to the rules – as I have perceived them. From this day on, whoever you are, if you know me, expect a kiss. The only exception being those I am meeting for the first time. But that's your only ever opt out, next time you'll get one, just like everyone else. Brace yourself.
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