Tales From... The Archive


As a typical British person I find meeting someone for the first time can be a bit of a social nightmare.

I remember back in the day when shaking someone’s hand was greeting enough, then somewhere in the nineties someone decided that we needed to become more European and start kissing each other. This was a MISTAKE. Why? I’ll tell you why, because we don’t know what the hell we’re doing. We’re not French; they’re all about the kissing and the hugging. Dear God I wouldn’t be surprised if the men cup each other after a few wines.  It’s the same in Spain and Italy they love to kiss each other, it’s NORMAL there plus they know exactly how many kisses they’re supposed to deliver. We on the other hand have no idea, is it one or two kisses? Does anyone in this country have a clue? Every time I meet someone new I have to make a split second decision as to how many kisses I’m going to give him or her. I like to go in for one and then let my head hover in case they’re going in for two. This technique is far from fool proof because if I let my head hover for a fraction too long then we’re face to face and it looks like I’m trying to snog them. “Sorry about that… I was waiting to see if it was going to be two or one….ha ha obviously it’s two…so shall we do two…no? Ok…” I get penalised for not being presumptuous!  Then what exactly are you supposed to be kissing? The air, their cheek, their ear? Yes I said EAR. I hate to admit this but I have accidentally kissed more than one strangers ear. In an attempt not to look like I’m trying to snog said person, I’ve over compensated with the second kiss and moved too far round only to find my mouth on their ear. So not only is their ear slightly damp but I have deafened them with the sound of what should have been an air kiss. Could someone just shoot me in the face right now?

My mortification doesn’t end there, somehow I have managed to make shaking someone’s hand just as awkward.  If there is any  hand shaking to take place you can bet a fiver that I’ve just come out of the bathroom having washed my hands but without drying them properly. Yes I’m the person that dries their hands on the front of their trousers before offering my hand with the words,“Hi, sorry my hand’s wet…don’t worry it’s water…it’s not…you know …wee…” Because obviously that’s what I’d normally do, just hold my hand under a stream of my own urine and then shake strangers hands.

So, if we haven’t met yet and I kiss your ear, accidentally head butt you or look like I’m trying to lean in for a French Kiss lets just shake on it. I’ll bring a towel.

Posted on 18th May 2010


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