How many kisses? (December 3, 2007)

Heheh, it is so true.

Unlike more reserved nationalities, the French greet each other with kisses on the cheek--but the practice varies to the point where one risks l'embarras social when the kisser has another number of pecks on the cheek in mind than the kissee. Suppose, for a moment, that you intend to give three kisses and the other person turns away after two. Ah, the humiliation! - "French Kissing Map", on the Strange Maps Blog

The popular lore in Swiss Romande is that Swiss people kiss three times while French and Italian people kiss two times. That's what everyone told me, and apparently what they all think. According to the above map, though, it differs all across France, with many regions going for three and a few going for one or for four. Four kisses! Can you imagine? If five women meet for lunch, they'd have to exchange 80 kisses before they can come up for air. It's practically an orgy.

By the way, there is a similar problem with which side you start on. If one of you goes left, and the other one goes for their left, then even more embarrassment can ensue. I eagerly await a new strange map on the question of which side to start on.

Lex Spoon