Friday, September 30, 2011

The Kisses of the Bises

In Belgian and every french speaking country, the people do not hug, they "bise"- two people kissing each other on the cheek. Many people even make the pecking sound when they perform the bise. Its a simple greeting and does not seem too harmful but it can get complicated. For example, when I first arrived in Belgium this new greeting was new and completely foreign to me, therefore, I was ignorant of how to commence in this practice. I had to anticipate who I would kiss, who not to kiss, when to kiss, where to kiss, and ect. Whats worse is when I go in for the bise but the other person is oblivious. I look something compared to a bird, bobbing its head and flittering around confused. This situation can be reversed as well. Someone else may try to kiss me with a bise but I don't realize it until its too late and the awkward moment presents itself. I am getting better at kissing people and I definitely know who to kiss and who's cheek to avoid (those with sweaty cheeks are the faces I avoid the most). This traditional greeting is sweet and interesting. I suggest it to anyone who don't like using their hands and doesn't mind other peoples faces. And as my friend says: sneak a cheek.

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