Monday, January 30, 2012

French Kissing. . .

Non, non, non, pas ça mes amis. No indeed.

I'm talking about air-kissing, perhaps considered an affectation on the other side of the Atlantic -- or the Pacific for that matter, but in my life it's a normal form of greeting, and, honestly I love it.

I mention the custom today because if you click here you will be taken to a post I wrote for Women's Voices for Change where I explain why I love my French girlfriends. We always say "bonjour" and "au revoir" with light brushes of our cheeks, lips pressed into a relaxed kiss formation and usually a whisper in the ear about how happy we are to see each other.

Rarely do women really "plant" a kiss on a cheek -- heaven forbid, one could leave a lipstick trace -- but men who are good friends do actually gently kiss a woman's cheeks. This I really love.

There are many, many nuances on the ritual -- the number of times, two in Paris for example, more as one moves south in the country.

France's First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and Letizia of Spain setting up for their official air-kiss -- right cheek to right cheek. I'm confused. Are they leaning to the left?
I'm sure there is some protocol for left or right cheek first and I could Google to find out, but I simply scope out the direction someone is leaning in for the kiss they are about to give me and I follow their lead. An interesting article in the London Daily Mail some time ago noted that studies reveal the level of emotional feeling connected with social bises, is demonstrated by which way we tilt our heads.

Approximately 80 percent of men and women turn their heads to the right when kissing cheek-to-cheek, which is supposedly a gesture of genuine feeling while those leaning toward the left were reacting with the less emotional part of their brain and thus not making a warm gesture at all.

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