The Art of French Kissing

Ha! Thought that title would get your attention.

I’m settling in quietly here in the Languedoc; treading softly as I find my way around French life and customs – one of which I confess perplexes me a little. The French kiss… not the tongue tickling the tonsils kind and not the fatuous air kiss beloved by many in the UK. No I’m talking about the normal greeting between friends – a gentle buss on each cheek often with the added bonus of a brief waft of perfume or spicy after-shave.

Nothing at all wrong with any of that except that I keep getting it wrong. The question is which cheek to aim for first? My first attempts led to mutual embarrassment when my builder’s eldest Daughter decided to admit me into her circle of eleven year old friends. We bobbed  around each other in approximately the right area, rubbing noses, banging foreheads whilst her mates wet themselves laughing. Finally in frustration she grabbed my shoulders, bade me standstill in stern tones and delivered the required kisses. Meekly I asked her how she knew which cheek to kiss first and received my answer in the form of a hugely expressive Gallic shrug  before she ran off. I was only grateful my first encounter  wasn’t her little friend who wears specs like me. That would have ended up as the clash of the titaniums.

Then again the other problem is one of personal space. How close does one have to/need to get to administer the ritual greeting? Most nationalities have a concept of personal space and I have no invasion plans (at least not yet). So I’ve been  people watching to see if there is any norm. But there again I’ve been betwattled for observations taken so far show wide differences in approach from the crotch-rubbing clinch to the elegant bend forward leaving a discreet and respectful space between bodies. My own attempts have led to an unusual amount of neck-stretching and weaving, rather like a demented goose.

So I am left with the question – is this something that the French learn how to do once they’re out of the cradle? Perhaps it’s part of the primary school curriculum with exams at the end of the year and prizes for the best kisser. Actually that sounds like much more fun than the “posture stripes” awarded by my school to those girls with ramrod straight backs. However, the best advice I’ve had so far is to stand still, pucker up and let the other person do the kissing. Story of my life.







5 thoughts on “The Art of French Kissing

  1. You bet it got my attention. I prodded my mouse so hard it yelped. I was checking out your blog post faster than a squirrel could bury his nuts.

    That sort of kissing thing wouldn’t happen in Yorkshire, you know. And as for Gallic slugs. . .

    Apart from that you seem to be settling in nicely.

    • That’ll teach you to read this stuff wearing only your pj’s. You’re right… definitely unyorkshire and the flat cap would get in the way… to say nothing of the ferret. Let me know how you get on with the editing experience.

      • I put my MS in the hands of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy at a cost of £640. They have found an editor named Gordon Weetman who is based in Spain. He works electronically. His time span is 3-5 weeks before I get my report. I then have a 1 to 1.5 hour talk with him by telephone or Skype. There was £480 deal that didn’t include the talk. Initially I sent Cornerstones a synopsis and my first chapter. They came back the next day, said my writing was good and gave the two consultancy options.

        I went to the self publishing conference (run by Troubador) at Leicester Uni 3 weeks ago. Cornerstones gave one of the sessions which I opted to go to. I already had them ‘short listed ‘ as possible contacts so the talk at Leicester swung me their way. They seem to have a good reputation in the industry.

        So now I wait. . . with baited breath.

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