Americans aren’t typically social kissers. You kiss your significant other, your family (though usually only if there are significant age differences, like adults and kids, etc), and you kiss inanimate objects or people in magazines or something.
However, the foreign service is full of interculturalism, and a confusion of kisses. When you meet someone new, you never know if they’re a social kisser, or what their greeting routine is. Some people prefer a double air kiss, others kiss right on your cheeks, some just touch cheeks. I’ve been lip kissed as a social greeting. Rather startling. In single gender groups, a typically non-kisser may become a social kisser. At a baby shower with only women guests last week, there was a flurry of all kinds of kisses.
I would have thought that kissing would be limited to interactions with those who were not American by birth, but I was wrong, as many unexpected people have turned out to be social kissers.
As a non-kisser, I frequently misread the cue and try a cheek touch when an air kiss was initiated, and vice versa. I’m still learning.
Neko has also become a kisser recently. As I picked her up out of her crib this morning she pulled my face in for a drooly gum and tongue bump, she hasn’t mastered the technique yet. She also shies out of her kisses sometimes, pulling you in, but turning her face away at the last minute. Silly baby.
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