Introductions Between The Opposite Sex

Since I’ve been back I noticed that every time I’m introduced to a girl the accepted move is to shake her hand. After cheek kissing a thousand girls in South America, I find our custom to be quite distant and unnatural. I wondered if this was only an American thing, so I contacted some people to see what the custom was for other countries.

Argentina: One cheek kiss
Brazil: One cheek kiss, but two in Rio de Janeiro
Chile: One cheek kiss
Czech: Handshake
England: Handshake
Greece: Two cheek kisses
India: You put your hands together and say “Namaste”
Iran: Absolutely no touching
Italy: Two cheek kisses
Netherlands: Handshake
Nigeria: Handshake
Russian: Confusing
Sweden: Handshake
Turkey: Two cheek kisses


Creative Commons License photo credit: ravenmaven

And then there is France. I’ll let my French buddy Gregorie explain:

It really depends on the region but it is basically a 2 to 4 cheeck kiss. Most common is two. Four in Paris suburbs or Britany (very stupid, it is a waste of time). Three in some areas but not very common. Bourgeois give only two, lower class three or four (Argentina Mendoza was one kiss…. that was kind of sexy.)

Men usually shake hands, except for V. Good friends tend to cheek kiss but they have to be above 16 to do it. Family, cousins, and uncles kiss each other. When you are introduced to a girl if you are same age and under 30s you can kiss her hello, after it is quite complex there is no rule at all.

It is science & the secret of french love.

:crazy:

I was more than ready to conclude with “Western countries are more distant in their introductions,” but I cannot make such a conclusion, though I do find it is ironic that this culture is perhaps the most germophobic in the world but we continue the practice of hand-germ exchange every chance we get. I’ve started to teach girls I meet about the Argentine introduction, which I find to be most agreeable, but I don’t think it’s catching on.

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roissy
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it looks like there might be a trend with northern european countries being more distant, which conforms to stereotype. you could throw the northeast asian bowing cultures in the distant column as well.

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Jo
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I’ve noticed this too. And it’s especially awkward when you get back and you’re introduced to someone and automatically lean in to kiss– then there’s that awkward moment of the lean in and a and shake.

Adding to the France thing, there are places in the South West of France that give 3 kisses. In Rio it’s 2 and in Uruguay it’s 1… it’s sooo confusing. But at least no one gets offended if you kiss them more than once.

cuchulainn
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Russians do a double kiss.

agnostic
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agnostic
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It’s two cheek kisses in Spain (Barcelona at least). Yes, very agreeable.

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Sudamericana
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I am so confused in regards to introductions… I always end up acting kind of awkward. Worse part is, since they know I am from Argentina, people tend to kiss me, while I learned to go for the handshake, expecting that is their way of doing it. Worse is, said people usually go for the two side kiss, which is unnatural to me. So confusion usually reigns.

Anyway, the kiss in Argentina can get a bit too much sometimes. I had people interviewing me for a job and kissing me when we said good-bye (if said person was not too formal). Or I find it even stranger, everytime I go back, to have to kiss even a doctor I have never met before, when going for a check up, etc. Kissing can be tiring.

Matt Savage
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This is interesting stuff. Though I don’t usually do the kiss cheek while first meeting a girl, I have been making it a habit to kiss cheek with existing female friends whenever possible. As for my guy friends, I tend to do the handshake, pull in for a pat on the back bit. Both seems to create a better bonding experience and prefer it much more over the simple handshake or fist bump.

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Beach Bum
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I didn’t know that in Brazil the standard was a one cheek kiss, I always assumed it was two. In Brasilia is either a 2 or 3 cheek kiss, more often 3. But what usually happens is you give 2 kisses then kind of wait around to see if the 3rd is coming or not, which can be really awkward, specially when you’re both wavering like that.

Ah, and needless to say, since we do the kisses for hello and goodbye, a lot of guys use that as a chance to move full on to an actual kiss, nothing like slowly moving your cheek away in between kisses.

Argh, and you just brought memories of my parents dinner parties. My brother and I had to go in and do the 2-cheek kiss routine with all guests saying hello. And then before going to bed, had to show up in our freaking pajamas, and repeat it saying goodnight.

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Person in a position to know
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http://combiendebises.free.fr/

A web site that tracks how many kisses in each department in France.

FYI, in Belgium a 2-3 kiss introduction is standard.

Cynically Yours
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I can never keep straight when I’m supposed to use tongue.

Ned
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Poland’s got an odd three cheek kiss

namaste
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namaste
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…yeah…after living in Spain and spending a whole lot of time with Arab women (who triple kiss, but on the last of the 3, then hold you there for a while longer, making a double kiss extra on one check), I still just kiss everyone. in the states, I stick to the single kiss in a social greeting or first introduction. my advice would be just to keep on kissing. it makes you exotic to our American friends, which is lovely and refreshing. when i meet a guy who gives me a cheek kiss at hello, i know that we most likely speak the same language–the language of international travel and social awareness…among other important things… 🙂

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Ava V
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Ava V
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in high school i tried to be cool and do the two cheek kisses, but it didn’t catch on.

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Jewcano
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Jewcano
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In some parts of France they also give a quick pinch of the ass. Or maybe that’s just my family.

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Seduction Chronicles
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Australia is pretty much the same as the US, although we sometimes try and through in some European…

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
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I think you should put Public Iran : 0 and Private Iran : kissing is for virgins (which there aren’t many left in Tehran if you ask me)

Awkward and Girl-Crazy
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Awkward and Girl-Crazy
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What about Mexicans? I’m working on my third flag this Friday, so I need all the help I can get!

Bruna
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Bruna
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That’s party incorrect, baby. The “standard” here in Brazil is more like 2 cheek kisses…

spaceman
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spaceman
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in miami, guys kiss girls on one cheek.

i like it.

NeedSumBitches
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Argentines are one weird group of people