Thursday, 1 December 2011

La Bise......The Kiss


To the uninitiated, a greeting in Europe can be a high-anxiety moment, fraught with danger. And no more so than in France . 
When I first started to travel around this country of contradictions, I ignorantly thought that 2 kisses on the check – with no “lip to skin” contact - was "the norm", but I was sadly misguided! Consequently  on meeting friends and acquaintances  en France my head resembles that of a confused hen darting awkwardly to and fro, backwards and forwards while waiting for a cue, from those whom I’m greeting, to stop. And when do I kiss-kiss (or should it be kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss) on the cheek, give a firm handshake or just a verbal greeting, with no accompanying body contact? 
Even Britain is no longer a safe haven from la bise when meeting and greeting! As for Australia – that’s simple, as I live in an area renowned for kissing when saying hello to friends and family. And it is definitely a single, albeit prolonged, kiss in the vicinity of the right cheek.....with the accompanying sound effects!

So if you are as confused as I am about exchanging kisses in France, you may benefit from watching the following video, L'art de la bise, and adding the web address of Combien de bises? to your iPhone.....to  which you may discretely refer in order to meet and greet with finesse instead of confusion.





Addendum: this is my 100th blog! It may be the only century I ever reach! My hat is off to those of you who have been committed to maintaining a blog for years. I hope I have the energy to follow in your footsteps. Bon weekend. 
If you are the owner of the lips image, please contact me so I can acknowledge you. Thank you.

7 comments:

martinealison said...

Chez moi nous faisons 2 bises et à quelques kilomètres de chez moi, dans la haute-Loire nous en faisons 4 ! Qui aime plus ?!!...
Moi je vous envoie autant que vous voulez...
Bisous

Lost in Provence said...

Oh my gosh, I loved this post!! That little video was adorable and spot on! Yes, of course, I mess up sometimes. Here in Arles it is 3, but I have an American habit of touching the right arm as I do, which is NOT appropriate always in this very macho town. Can give wrong ideas! Oops! When we went up to Paris, sometimes I would forget and give 3, which definitely made me look like the country mouse that I now am! :O

Ann said...

Did I ever tell you about the first time I traveled alone to Holland to visit hubbie's family/ So proud that I made it over alone and managed to get all over the country via train. The last night, went to Leiden, visited the family there & they brought me to the train station with just a few minutes to spare. Except that I had forgotten to allow 3 cheek pecks for each family member and I missed the train! Had to wait one hour, alone on the platform at 11pm.

While we were in France, I noticed it was 2. Here in the US for my family and friends- 1 kiss and hug simultaneously. For every member of the family. In my family (and yours?), one must begin the goodbyes a good half hour before leaving!

French Basketeer.com said...

I am a big proponent of kiss-kiss, kiss-kiss-kiss or even kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss but I don't associate it with anxiety....go with the locals and spread the love...bisous~ A

Virginia said...

How fun! Thanks for helping us French wannabes get it right.
V

classic • casual • home said...

We lived in Paris when our daughter was in 7th and 8th grade. She wrote here college entrance essay about how people greeted one another in the different places she had lived...your Australian single long kiss is a new one!

LaPouyette said...

Okay,
Here in France I started over 25 years ago with 2 kisses, then I've learned that it has to be 3 times (in our region) and then when I went to Paris and thought that I'm absolutely perfect in the kiss-ceremony! But no - Surprise, surprise, in Paris 4 times! Since then I'm most of the time confused...
Anyway - I found and still find it sometimes rather exhausting when I went for buying trips, kissing the whole day long to greet all my dealer friends, not to talk about the kiss-greetings when invited to diners or.....

Love this post! And sorry for late commenting but you know why. Just try to catch up with everything today.
xxxkarin