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.
Of 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.