SARONNO, Italy – Had to laugh at how shocked Will Smith was when the reporter kissed him on both cheeks. He (Will Smith) took it as a personal affront and reacted by slapping the guy. I’m sure the reporter was stunned by Smith’s reaction since cheek kissing – one on each side - is a normal greeting in many parts of the world, Italy for one, the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Latin America too. Even in Quebec, Canada it is normal for people to give each other “un bec.”
It’s as common as shaking hands, a standard greeting among friends, both male and female, young and old. But there is a right and wrong way. The trick is to lean forward, turn your head and lightly touch the other persons cheek with yours, first the right cheek and then the left. You can actually kiss them (barely a touch) if you are close friends, or fond of each other, or just air kiss.
|You Do It Like This|
Here in Italy, the two kiss is standard, I’ve also seen three. In France sometimes they do four, it’s called “faire le bise.” The number of kisses varies from country to country, but they do kiss. Which is why I’m sure the reporter was taken aback by Will Smith’s reaction. Smith looked like he though the guy was putting a move on him, while nothing could have been further from the truth.
|Poor Will Smith, He Was All Confused|
Cheek kissing between men is less common in Central and South America, it’s that macho thing, you know, except in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay where it’s common between men friends to kiss “a la italiana.” This can get a little tricky if one person is trying for a cheek kiss with someone who’s trying for a handshake.
|Don't know what the green thing is, but it's the only photo I could find of two guys|
The only exception is the UK where cheek kissing is reserved for family and friends – but not necessarily men. In fact the video is from a UK business training site and it shows the right and wrong way to cheek kiss in a business/social setting.