親幾次（臉頰） How many kisses (on the cheek)
The son for some unknown reason (at least unknown to me) have some diehard fans at day care. One of the fans kept on asking his parents to arrange a play date with the son, so it eventually happened.
Boy A’s parents are both Europeans; the dad is German and the mum is Italian. They also invited boy B from day care to visit their beachside apartment. As the three boys knowing each other’s playing habits from day care, they were playing happily without any disputes or fights by themselves, despite not having any adults’ supervision.
Boy A’s parents told us that they bought the airfare package during the first wave of COVID while the airlines sold those deals at a steep discount to keep the cash afloat, and have been waiting to use the package to go back to Europe for a visit once the impact of COIVD is more tamed.
Boy A’s mum said that it’s mandatory to wear masks in Italy, and that led me to a question.
So I started the background of my question by stating that in Europe, when we greet others we do kisses on the cheek, and my experiences made me feel that the southern the countries are, the more kisses you do on the cheek. In Luxembourg and in England, most the time it was one kiss by the cheek (and of course it depends on the counterparts’ nationalities), while in France and Italy, it was normally 2-kiss (one on the right and the one on the left). Nevertheless I had been given three kisses on the cheek in the southern Italy (and once by a stranger in London when I visited there for the first time). A sense of disapproval on that statement was raised by boy A’s mum, who commented that she had heard of something similar by foreigners, but being a native Italian, she hadn’t experienced doing three kisses on the cheek before. Boy A’s dad therefore said, maybe people are taking advantages of foreigners.
I rolled my eyes at heart, what advantage? Of me?
Mr McWang, for knowing me more than half a century, understands my rational (higher percentage as irrational really) randomness logics, so he ended up asking the question I hadn’t got to: so with people wearing masks in Italy, do they still do greeting kisses on the cheek?
Boy A’s mum did not know the answer.
無三小路用通識之見面禮儀 Useless Common Sense of Greetings
The greetings noted here do not consider the current greeting standards under the influence of COVID, like elbow bump or fist bump — for people should stay home as much as possible, not going out and about considering the skyrocketing infectious cases out there.
Most the time people shake hands at first encounter, especially with a male counterpart or at a work environment.
In a social environment, the greeting would normally be a hug in the States if the counterpart is a female even if it’s the first encounter (the hug is more a touch of each other’s shoulders by leaning your upper body forward), and kiss(es) on the cheek in Europe — not really with mouth on the cheek but cheek against cheek would be considered a ‘kiss’.
If both parties are male — or when in doubt — it’s safer just to shake hands.