Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kiss of the Italians/17 Mar 2017

In America, it is typical to give a handshake to new people you meet. A handshake is used in Italy as well when meeting new acquaintances. The difference is that the Italians will give a greeting to friends and family with a kiss on the cheek vs a handshake. When delivering the kiss it is not done by planting your lips on their cheek, that’s weird! Instead, it’s described more as grazing the side of your cheek with the other. People usually go from right to left to make it less confusing (you don’t want to end up accidentally kissing them right on the lips!!!). The kiss is typically between people of the same gender but depending on the region is can vary. The number of kisses is typically limited to two in Italy, one on each side of the face. The number of kisses varies across countries and cultures. I first learned about the greeting kiss while I was exposed to French culture. The French call it bisous.  Another thing to note is that once you “kiss” someone, you should not go back to shaking hands, it makes the situation confusing. I encountered this dilemma with my landlord. The first time I met her I shook her hand. I found out that not giving the greeting kiss is rude so the next time I met her I attempted the greeting kiss. I almost turned my head the wrong way and we both hesitated for a moment before we performed the greeting. I felt extremely awkward and silly for giving it a shot but I am sure I achieved my objective in showing my landlord that I am embracing the culture. I hope to avoid these situations if and when possible!

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