In the interest of keeping CT as highbrow as possible, I have an observation about kissing. Namely, on-the-lips kissing between not-mutually-attached ladies and gents.
I do a fair bit of cheek-kissing and hugging, both socially and at work, probably more than most but not unusually so (I haven’t had any complaints yet). It’s really come in amongst the anglo-saxons in the past decade or so. Time was when only the French did cheek-kissing when they met. Perhaps as the result of many forlorn French exchange summers, or maybe just aping our more sophisticated Continental neighbours, the Irish and British middle classes began to do single-cheek kissing in the eighties and nineties.
I kiss a French person once on each cheek (twice if they’re a close friend or family friend), three times in total for a Belgian or Dutch person, and just one single-cheeked peck for a fellow anglo-saxon. In the last few years, a new variation has crept in. Married men who kiss me – just a peck – on the lips.
Cheek(y) kissing is now so common that perhaps for very good friends something more is called for? Or maybe it’s just an opportunistic twist in a situation where you can suddenly get away with kissing women other than your wife. God knows, I don’t dislike it (though I’ve never lingered), but I’m not in the habit of snogging other women’s husbands either (long live teh Patriarchy!). To call it a guilty pleasure would be to concede there’s something going on where it shouldn’t be – and there clearly isn’t, as none of my lip-kissers has ever made a pass at me – but I have to admit that I enjoy it probably just a little more than I should.