Showing posts with label Inuit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inuit. Show all posts

Dec 27, 2014

How Many Kisses

A popular study showed that kissing as a greeting is healthier than a handshake because you don't know what someone has just been touching.

What we call the 'Eskimo kiss', or rubbing noses is called a kunik by the Inuit. It is an expression of affection, usually from an adult to a child. The Inuit also kiss on the lips as we do. The myth of rubbing noses grew out of a Hollywood silent documentary.

French disagree on the number of greeting kisses, but mostly for central France it's two kisses, and for the North, four. There are exceptions - in Finistère, one kiss is normal - and even disparities within the same area: half the population of Calais prefer deux bises, while the other half will greet you with quatre. The number of kisses can depend on whether someone is a friend or family member, and varies between generations. To the upper-class French any more than two kisses is a faux pas.

Of course, it is not just in France that people greet each other with a kiss; in the Netherlands three is normal, and in Belgium it's one kiss for your peers, but if someone is 10 years older than you, then three is respectful. In Spain, two is normal, but you must kiss the right cheek first.

The French don’t necessarily French kiss more than anyone else; the term probably comes from our belief that French sexuality is more sophisticated. In France, it's known as baiser anglais ('English kissing'), baiser florentin (Florentine kiss) or rouler une pelle (to roll a spade). In Quebec, it is frencher.

Kissing in public is illegal in India and a similar law has been proposed in Russia and Indonesia.