Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just a Kiss

I have written before about how at times I feel uncomfortable with the modern kissing and hugging manners. Young people seem to have no problem with it at all. I just try to go with the flow and not think about it. While I am not sure that she comes from it at exactly the same angle, so too it seems does Elisabeth from Sixth in Line.

A situation has arisen with Mother over the last couple of years, probably because my stepfather died and we need to see Mother more often now. I suspect when we saw her in the past, maybe once a month or once every two months, we always kissed when we greeted each other, only on the cheeks mind. I think the late Queen Mother had something to say about being kissed on the lips by a friend and I should think the same goes for family.

I see Mother about twice as often as R does and he always greets her with a kiss, but I no longer. Why? I think it is because she doesn't initiate one or is not in the right position to receive one. I doubt it is something she has thought about, just a subconscious act. I think Elisabeth might have been on the money when she suggested it may come down to frequency of contact.

Musing away, as I do.


  1. Deep musings, Andrew. I have always hated the way certain of my family members go through the ritual of the obligatory kiss when they meet, and it feels hollow as if it's an attempt to hide real feelings and words that can't be spoken behind a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. To me it's almost like the social function of talking about the weather. We often talk about the weather with strangers as a way of protecting ourselves from discomfort, so too for me in certain instances is the obligatory peck on the cheek. A protection against discomfort. and yet for me the obligatory kiss is a great discomfort. I'm with you here, Andrew. I think it's different when the kiss is genuine.

  2. Even worse (to me) is when an Australian with delusions of grandeur (aka 'social climbing') tries to inflict the European double kiss! That's TWICE the discomfort that E mentions above, with which I completely concur!!

  3. It is like in tv programmes when people end every family telephone call with "I love you!". Some people might do it, I suppose, but I would feel a bit silly.

    With kissing, there is still room for confusion. So if mum doesn't put her face in the right place, say clearly "come on mum, give your old son a kiss". It avoids that uneasy moment when neither person knows what to do.

  4. Elisabeth, the weather analogy is good. A friend who we don't see that often because she doesn't live here, is quite different. It is always a pleasure.

    Agree Hels, that I love you is annoying. For me to say what you suggest would be very unnatural coming from me and not in either of our characters. I may elaborate why one day.

  5. Red, we have a gay friend who does that, anywhere, anytime. He is from Chile, so perhaps they do that there.

  6. My family doesn't do kissing at all. Occasionally my sister and I will hug, but I'm always been uncomfortable with it. It feels phony to me and I just simply don't get the need to be hugging everyone all the time. Especially when I see them all often. I think it is also a cultural thing. In California it was always with the hugging but here in Oklahoma you seldom see it except with people who haven't seen each other in years.

  7. My late mother was very loving and I would receive and reciprocate her kisses willingly. My father and I on the other hand did not exchange kisses except in the last days of his life. I know he was just as loving of me as my mother but he was old school male who never displayed his emotions.

    Interestingly whilst in Brisbane over Christmas two unrelated straight males, new to my acquaintance, both greeted me each day of my stay with almost loving 'man hugs' which I found slightly strange at first but then really started to enjoy. (And, no it was nothing sexual.)

  8. Mwah Mwah! hello darlings - I've lived in Brighton.
    I have also had elderly Italian neighbours who slayed me with the double cheek routine, but I got used to it.
    I cannot recall my mother ever being even slightly friendly, ever, consequently my daughter and I circle each other like cats, neither wanting contact.
    R is a saint.

  9. Anonymous6:00 pm

    Am I the friend you were talking about...or should I keep my lips and arms to myself next time we meet??!!!

    You may have noticed that I have absolutely no trouble kissing or hugging people I know and like but I loathe being hugged or kissed by people I've just met. V.

  10. My sister and I are more likely to slug each other than hug. We were never a kissy huggy family because of my father's fear that he would pass on TB to us even though he had recovered years ago but my inlaws drove me crazy with the kissing. I hate being touched by strangers which doesn't include you or R, sweet things you are. MiLord Sedgwick is also a welcome hugger as long as you watch his clodhopping feet.

  11. OMG you would all think my family are CRAZY then, we are a really close family, and it's more often than not a hug or a kiss everytime we catch up, once, sometimes twice a week and darlings I love it...but NEVER the two cheeks kiss thingy, that's just weird haha!!

  12. ....well here in Geneva it's the TRIPLE kiss, I kid you not!

    Left side, right side and left side again! No choice in the matter either, so after seven months it's already ingrained.

  13. I've never been comfortable with the kissy huggy thing especially between almost strangers. Years ago at work a lot of my friends were Greek or Italian and at Christmas there was a lot of Merry Christmas kissing going on. I received a few but was uncomfortable about it and the next year when the big boss got in on the act I said something about preferring to choose who kisses or hugs me.

  14. Rubye, exactly how I feel. I can imagine that it is not so common in my stereotypical mind view of Oklahoma.

    Victor, that I suppose because of your Euro heritage. The man hug, lordy, how hard was that to learn. I must post about that.

    Ann, the Braighton kiss. What's where it all started I think. My parents were not demonstratively affectionate either.

    V, yeah, ok. You. I feel genuine joy when we meet but I probably wouldn't if we saw each other often.

    Dearest JahTeh, I don't think it is Lord Sedgwick's big feet you need to worry about. But was it just TB, or wasn't Australia different back then?

    PDP, that is great. And you do it so naturally without thought.

    Kath, so we will we do the triple when we meet?

    River, with strangers I don't care. I go with the flow and there customs. What about with your kiddies?

  15. Anonymous11:11 pm

    Ha Ha! I wanted to come back with some witty remark but my brain failed me. :) I have just finished work, so that's my excuse. V.

  16. No witty from me either V after the day I have had. Care to look after a sister and her friend? Oh, you have one of your own.

  17. I think you are right about frequency. I mainly hug my daughters - we are not a really kissy family - butwhen I see them daily i don't hug unless it just happens spontaneously, but if I haven't seen them for a while we have really long hugs.

    The saddest thing I heard my mum say not too long before she died (and she wasn't laying guilt or anything it was just a statement - she commented that after all the hugs she had from all five of us as little kids and affection and love from our dad - all of that that happens when you are the mother of a family that's still at home - to have all that and then when dad was killed and we one by one left home - to go from all that affection to no human touching at all was hard to bear. We had the longest hug after that and to this day I can still remember how cool and damp her face felt (from heart disease) she died only a month or so after this.

  18. MC, it is something not often talked about, but I should think physical touch for some older people is something they miss very much. It would have never occurred to any of you if she hadn't mentioned it.