The kiss hello seems to be such an innocuous, brief social moment but it can be fraught with danger. Real danger.
We all know how it works. You’re at the pub with some friends and you hear a female friend , who’s come up behind you, say “hi”. You turn, see who it is, put down your drink and you go in for the kiss hello.
Now despite the fact that the kiss of a friend takes just a few seconds, there are many things that can go wrong and a number of issues which need to be considered at the time.
I know things can be a little different in some European countries but when I go in to kiss a woman hello, my face is going to the left hand side every time. I generally expect the woman to also go to the left. If she does, it’s all sweet. If she doesn’t, it can be chaos. If one of us goes left and one goes right there can be facial clashes, mis-kisses, head-butts (in extreme cases) and all round embarrassment. It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.
What’s nearly as bad as a left side/right side mix up is somebody throwing the dummy. Letting you think they are going to the left and then doing the little shuffle at the last second which makes you think they are swapping to the right. It throws the rhythm out altogether and can really ruin the moment.
I reckon the use of the hands depends on how long you have known the person you are kissing and how good a friend they are. If you are kissing a new friend or an acquaintance, hands are only permitted to make contact with the shoulder and upper arm. But with a good friend, it is permissible to put your hands on their waist or even lower back. But, of course, you cannot allow your hand to drop too low. Much care is required.