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Operation Manual: Guide to kissing

  • Serial Ululer
  • Pioneer
  • Writer

Everyone knows the French have a reputation for exhaling love right from the moment they say hello. Pecks on the cheek whenever and wherever, et voilà, they continue endlessly!

But don’t get me wrong, kissing is a question of protocol, so take care not to cross the boundaries or you certainly won’t receive any affection in return.
There’s nothing offensive in it, in fact there are traditions of kissing; so many variations according to the regions, that I decided to illuminate this complicated topic with a Guide to Kissing.

The Kissing Card

You’re away in a foreign region where you meet old friends you haven’t seen for years, and you are scared you’ll embarrass yourself if you’re too liberal with your kisses, or on the contrary seem indifferent and cold. Should you go for one cheek, both, or more? Take a look at this site which will shed light on the number of kisses you should bestow.

Rules to kissing

  • No ill-timed kisses !

Kissing is spontaneous, so don’t hold back.  But limiting yourself to one kiss in the mornings and one in the evening is enough. Be careful not to overdo it - you will just look weird. So take a moment to think whether a kiss is actually necessary.

  • Cheek to cheek, or a peck on the cheek?

That depends on the degree of familiarity. With family we can kiss without restraint, while with colleagues it will be more of a quick cheek to cheek. The important thing is to ensure you don’t make people feel uncomfortable.  You can leave the full intensity of your kiss to the recipient’s own judgement.

Don’t be intrusive! As Patrick Swaze said in Dirty dancing…

“This is my space. This is your space.”

Be yourself, of course, but respect people’s personal space.

My advice: Favour the honest kiss. Slightly biased since I’m a supporter of the real, full-on sloppy kiss, which is really reserved only for professionals or the crazy old aunt. But this kiss requires practice because it carries many a risk: the dribble, the noise, and worst of all, the potential misunderstanding!


If you don’t really know what to do, and you’re scared about ruining a moment of true emotion by hesitating, here’s a solution: hug! A little peck followed by an honest pat on the back will let the recipient know that he has nothing else to wait for.

Tour of the kiss around the world

To prove that the French aren't so weird, here’s a quick tour of the kiss around the world:

  • Many Africans believe you can lose your soul in a kiss. The mouth represents the main exit from the body, and they worry that the soul escapes with your breath whilst kissing.
  • The Polish, just like Eskimos, uphold the custom of rubbing noses when they’re in love.
  • Papuans trim their eyelashes with their teeth, right from the beginning of their courtship to the climax of love!
  • In Morocco, a kiss is a mark of respect. Among the Berbers in particular, a man shakes his elder’s hand, and then puts it on top of his head.
  • In China, a kiss on the lips is a purely sexual act.
  • In India, kissing is frowned upon, but the men walk hand in hand like the Moroccans.
  • The Russians are the most informal of all: kisses are exchanged between men and women as well as between the same sex, it’s all very open…They’re the top kissers!

Fact: a kiss uses 12 of our facial muscles, so enjoy it!

6 replies

  • Pioneer

We all know you're a fan of kissing Rebecca...

Spread the love the French way!!

  • Pioneer

I just love the photo!

If only it were me...it would be on the lips and last for hours!

There is no harm in kissing and I love the way the French greet by kissing on both cheeks - so much better than a cold English hand shake.

  • Pioneer

Fascinating... I never knew there were so many cultural differences

  • Pioneer
  • Writer

Woa, that Papuan tradition is just weird...does it make the eyelashes grow faster?

  • Pioneer
  • Writer

I'll never try this Papuan kiss again !

  • Serial Ululer
  • Pioneer
  • Writer

Personally I like Eskimo kissing ;)


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