A few years ago, I had noticed that whenever we spent any time with my husband’s work acquaintances, many of these people often greeted each other with kisses.
I joked around with my husband about this because as someone who is just not that physically affectionate even with my own family members, it didn’t feel natural to me to offer my cheek in greeting strangers. I tried the best I could to cultivate this habit, but I always just felt awkward about it. Mainly because I just didn’t exactly understand the nuances of cheek-kissing: Am I supposed to kiss one cheek? both cheeks? actually make physical contact with lip to cheek, or just smooch the air? bump cheeks? kiss both men and women? married men? older men? people who smelled funny?
So despite my attempts to try to become a natural cheek-kisser, I just gave up and accepted the fact that I would never be that type of fancy person.
Recently, as my husband has started a new job in the past year, we’ve attended a few work-related social functions, and again I find myself in the dilemma of cheek-kissing with strangers (What is it with these urologists and cheek-kissing?). But this time around, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to do it. So the other night, we were at a dinner party, and as the party guests were saying goodbye and kissing each other on the cheek, I ended up doing something that may have be perceived as just a little bit strange. From previous experience, I know that these kisses sometimes are preceded by hugs, so instead of trying to suggest a hug or even a friendly pat-on-the-back, I sort of craned my neck away from the potential kisser, held up both hands and sort of did an awkward double wave, yelling out “Bye!” as I backed away. It was kind of like the opposite of an awesome dance move.
Yes. I am a total dork. But at least my personal space did not get invaded by strangers.