Swiss Kiss

There are lots of different kinds of kisses. A kiss hello, a kiss goodbye, a blown kiss, an air kiss, a French kiss, an Eskimo kiss, a first kiss, baby kisses (a personal favorite), and for me, the Swiss kiss. It won't leave you begging for more but it's really quite nice.

Americans can be very particular about their personal space. I admit it-I'm one of them. Some are more comfortable with this than others. Even within the same family, attitude about personal space can differ.

Watching my kids, I look for who has Swiss kiss potential. Sam, he likes a hug and a kiss. At 13, he will still find me and insist on a long hug. He's in. Lauren will require more work. She is quite particular about maintaining her space, but I think she has more Swiss potential than any of us because once your "in" with her, it's for life.  She won't jaywalk either-ever-no matter how much I beg. We have to walk out of the way to join the rest of Switzerland dutifully waiting at a crosswalk, even though a car can't be seen for miles. Caroline isn't happy unless she's always near you and thinks hugs and kisses are as essential as the air she breathes. She's a natural.

A Swiss kiss is a series of three. Left, right, left. Maybe it's right, left, right. Men. Women. No one is exempt. You approach the person, maybe hold their upper arms while simultaneously touching cheeks and air kissing. Make sense? Maybe you don't Swiss kiss the first time you meet but once you do, you can't go back. But you can go on strike.

I remember reading someone else's blog before we moved here. She was on strike (wonder if she still is). No more Swiss kisses from her! She was tired of attending dinner parties, kissing 10 people 3 times each only to have no one talk to her (30 kisses!). Can't remember why no one would talk to her. I need to try to find that blog again.

I've had someone in the middle of giving me a Swiss kiss, stop and say, "Oh, you're an American. I forgot." That interrupted kiss was from a non-Swiss. That person is now on my "No Swiss Kiss List." Not even if they beg.

Swiss kiss training begins very early. I'm not sure how kids are taught hello (I do a lot of my anthropology studies while I drop kids off at different events; gymnastics, birthday parties, school). I'm frequently late, which is un-Swiss. My hello observations aren't as reliable. But I've seen lots of goodbyes.

Gymnastics goodbyes are fun to watch. Kids line up by height in a perfectly straight line. The coach travels down the line. Has a personal conference with each, then gives them a firm handshake goodbye. Once all conferences are complete, they may break formation. Then, the kids must approach every adult in the room and say goodbye. With a handshake and eye contact. I LOVE this. I try not to miss it.

Until later, XXX (that's my cyber Swiss kiss).


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