To kiss or not to kiss? That is the question
One of the cultural customs I wrestled with most during my first year in Spain was whether to
kiss females on the cheek or not. It comes quite naturally to me now and I don't give it a second
thought, but in the UK there's usually a very strong connection between a man and a woman before
kissing of any form takes place.
It's not that I was opposed to the idea, quite the opposite. Which heterosexual young male would
object to touching cheeks twice with a pretty girl? It just felt so strange to me, especially when I was
expected to kiss a complete stranger only seconds after being introduced to them.
With time I discovered the kissing protocol. I became sensitive to the female leaning in a little to kiss
me first, and then I'd respond and meet her half way. I wouldn't initiate the kiss unless I'd just been
introduced, hadn't seen the person for a very long time, or was a little drunk!
I've been living in Spain for nearly 17 years and I thought this kissing thing was no longer a problem.
But a few weeks ago I ran into a work colleague on the street. The chance meeting surprised me and I
wasn't sure whether to kiss her or not. I'd only seen her a few days before, but seeing her suddenly was
so unexpected that I didn't know what to do. In the end I just said hello, smiled and we chatted for a
few minutes. Should I have kissed her hello? Maybe not. Or maybe I left her wondering how strange and
cold these British people are!

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