27 May 2012

LIFE Give Me a Little Kiss

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.”
You Do It Like This
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. 

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
In Central and South America, they are not quite as kissy as Europeans so they only give one kiss, usually on the right cheek, unless of course the person is a complete stranger. Complete strangers get no kisses, they get a handshake. The next time they meet they may kiss, but no kissing on the first encounter. 

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
So, Will Smith, the guy wasn’t trying to put a move on you, he was simply trying to show you he likes you by greeting you in the way he knows best, although in most cultures, cheek kissing is reserved for people who actually know each other. The Spanish and Portuguese are the exception. Those hot blooded Latins always kiss women, even those they are meeting for the first time. Men, don’t kiss so much, but men hugging each other is very popular. It's probably a good thing the reporter didn't try to hug Will Smith. He might have gotten a punch in the nose instead of a sissy slap.

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. 

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