Friday, January 26, 2007

The Triple Kiss

Nice to meet you I said right before I kissed his left cheek. I went in for the obligatory second and final kiss on his right cheek. Contact! Another successful euro double kiss I thought to myself as I started to pull away. But wait, at the very same time that I was pulling away he went in for, gasp, a THIRD kiss! What was he doing I thought to myself. Did I just make a social mistake that I would not be able to recover from? Confused and not sure what to do, I started to greet the other people as if nothing happened. Quickly adapting, I made sure to follow the lead of the second person I was greeting and successfully made three cheek contact. Three people, 9 kisses and several minutes later I was embarrassed, exhausted and still confused.

I learned later that Swiss custom dictates that the typical euro double kiss morphs into a triple kiss in Switzerland. Take a few seconds and think about the consequences of the triple kiss. It's bad enough when you're greeting 5 people and must give 10 kisses. In Zurich, those 10 kisses would turn into a startling 15. Nice to meet you…Kiss, Kiss. Pleasure…Kiss, Kiss. Good to see you again, Kiss, Kiss. Hi, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss. Imagine my excitement going to a small party of 10 or 15 people and well, you get the idea. Lip balm is an absolute necessity.

I wanted to share just one of the many subtle, yet important cultural lessons that I encounter and must navigate every day. Kiss, Kiss………..Kiss!


Anonymous said...

Do not be fooled, my friend. The triple kiss is a Swiss, Dutch, Belgian, Brazilian, and yes, Serbian tradition. Isn't it fun?! Oh wait until you meet some old ladies who not only leave their ancient lipstick all over your cheeks, they tend to also have a higher frequency of slobbering. Mmm!

Chris Rako said...


Anonymous said...

Tis was a hoot & gives me an opportunity to send some kisses your way!! Chris you never cease to amaze me with your constant observations..keep em' coming..we love em'!!! Kiss kiss kiss to you for a safe trip back to Barcelona!!! XO

Anonymous said...

That last comment was from Mama R..hmmm didn't print :)!!Sorry Technical difficulties!!