Hugs and kisses

We had people over yesterday for a New Year’s lunch. They were three lady friends of my wife, her sister and our nephew, 9.

That’s a grand total of five guests.

redlipsOf course, I was required to kiss them all and, since it was New Year’s Day, a nice hug was necessary too. The kid was exempted because he and I agree on this custom.

He, like me, is a kiss-and-hug rebel.

If you live with Latinos, much kissing is required. Unless someone is a stranger you’re meeting for the first time, and even then it can happen, you are expected to give a cheek kiss on meeting and again on departing.

Even if only 60 seconds have passed between coming and going.

I dislike this a lot and dodge it whenever possible. The only people I want to kiss are blood relatives and women I’ve seen naked or want to see naked.

The rest of you, please stand back. I don’t want your moisture.

Wait, there’s more, and it’s even worse. At times you must hug men too, though (thank God) you never have to kiss them. We are not Arabs.

Strangely, many foreigners who have moved down here seem to happily embrace this nasty custom. I say nasty because you can have the worst head cold imaginable and kisses are still required. Contagion is no deal-breaker.

The foreigners who play along with this kissing and hugging, I have noticed, are invariably very sociable sorts, which I emphatically am not.

We dined on green pozole, but when they departed hours later, I had to kiss and hug them all over again. Damn. But not the kid. He’s on my side.

26 thoughts on “Hugs and kisses”

  1. Happy New Year Felipe… but what’s with the cranky old goat persona you seem to wave like a flag as of late? Socializing is not an onerous ordeal… I’ve found that life can a lot more pleasant with hugs and kisses thrown in from time to time.


    1. Hola, señora. Oh, I’ve been a crank for a long time, and it just got worse after Obama was re-elected. Socializing is not an onerous ordeal? I’d say that depends on the individual. You are generalizing, based on how you feel. Women are usually more sociable than men, I’d also say.

      For me, it depends on whom I am socializing with. And, as I said, I don’t wanna kiss anyone who’s not a blood relative or someone I wanna see butt nekkid. Or have seen.

      In short, people are different. May 2013 be good for you.


  2. I’m with you on this one, particularly when it involves those with whom I really have no desire to kiss and hug. When forced, I will give an air kiss. You’d think that was a signal that I wish to keep my bodily fluids to myself, but noooooooo. Then there’s the matter of one party having a fairly obvious case of the flu. You tell them that it’s just not a good idea to come close, and you might as well be beggin’ ‘em to. They just don’t get it. I’ll play along when the situation forces me, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the other side will get a clue from less-than-enthusiastic body language. Nope.


  3. I’m also with you on this. My husband thinks I’m anti-social, not true just don’t like hugging and kissing everyone I meet. I know it’s a Mexican custom and out of courtesy to my husband’s friends and family I go along with it, but I don’t like it.


    1. Jackie: Sorry it took so long to move your comment to the light of day. We had to leave town unexpectedly yesterday, and we only got back within the past hour. I have no idea why it was sent to the moderation list.

      And we see eye-to-eye on the kissing and hugging, I see.


  4. I would have to agree with you, except when some of the relatives or friends are female, between the ages of 18 and 35, wearing nice tight sweaters, greeting them outside in a mildly cold day, say 40 to 50 degrees, and are decent to good looking, having recently just had their hair and makeup made up, and have had one or two glasses of champagne … like at a wedding, perhaps.


    1. It took 6 years for the good looking chica daughter of our friend to give me a goodbye kiss. The moms, especially the plump, older ones, have no hesitance. I guess I’m just ugly or unlucky, or both.

      Don Cuevas


    1. I’ve got some buds that insist on a hug but it’s more to check for the quality of the bosoms of the said lady. That’s when you use the cross-armed hug. Intricate but effective.


  5. I grew up, as you know, in Louisiana when French customs were still somewhat the norm. I rarely attended a church service without kissing and hugging. A peck or two for the oldsters wearing hats and bonnets made everyone happy, including me. Maybe we should try out these social customs again. Unhappy people might be less likely to shoot up congregations and schoolchildren due to the good will of affection applied liberally. I would guess that a certain curmudgeon would feel better if he shmoozed a bit more now and then.


    1. Laurie: I like lots of now out-of-fashion customs, and I think they did society a world of good. But kissing and hugging everybody who passes by will never appeal to me.

      As for my schmoozing more, no, it would not make me feel better. Quite the contrary. It’s just not how I was made.


  6. I am a sociable person. But I have never felt comfortable with the hug and kiss greeting. For that matter, I am still not certain that we should ever have adopted the German bourgeois habit of shaking hands.

    The most ironic example of the kiss-hug is at my doctor’s office. Even when her reception room is filled with sniffling, hacking patients, she greets each with a kiss and a hug. Perhaps believing a mother’s love is more important than the risk of contagion.


    1. Steve: Up the comment line here, I said that contagion is a concept they do not believe it. But that is not true, though from what I have seen they do treat the notion more lightly than I do.

      The reason your doctor kisses all the afflicted, and the reason everybody kisses everybody, no matter their condition, is a matter of priorities. It’s more important to appear open and friendly than it is to avoid the plague.

      If you do not appear open and friendly, people talk.


  7. As far as Spanish culture, hugs and kisses are a greeting, is all. Something you’re brought up with, as standard, and expected of, in many Spanish countries, improper and maybe even rude when not done.

    We Spaniards would be more sensitive to the dislike of said greeting, if we were told straightforwardly or in advance.

    I would have no problem abiding by that, if I know/knew in advance.

    But I know it’s a cultural tradition. To do so otherwise can be
    disrespectful, for us.


    1. Andean: I wrote a comment to Steve before seeing yours, which backs up what I said to him.

      But a common acquaintance once told me that you are quite a lovely woman, so I stand ready to give you a hug and a cheek smootch. I won’t mind. Just don’t tell my wife.


  8. As I said, it’s a cultural tradition to hug and kiss. I would afford you and your wife the same greeting.

    PS being “naked” is not a consideration.


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