The cheek kiss. A simple way to greet friends and family - or should I say simple to most - but not to me. For the three years since I've moved to Australia, the cheek kiss has plagued every social encounter I've had. I just can't seem to get it right and end up over thinking the situation and embarrassing myself without fail. I mean won't a hug suffice? Too much can (and has) gone wrong with the cheek kiss.
For starters the protocol is unclear - do you go in for just the cheek kiss or the hug as well? If I go in for just a kiss and then pull away, the other person tends to go for the hug and an awkward,'crump' dance routine seems to follow. I've also had the pleasure of misjudging the velocity of my cheek kiss and have nuzzled necks, kissed lips, broke sunglasses and practically head butted elderly relatives. Don't even get me started about meeting and greeting large groups of people, as a few glasses of wine are needed just to ease my nerves about how the initial introductions will do down. Perhaps over time this social disorder will fade but until that happens I can't help but ask -what ever happened to a good old firm handshake?