Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Men behaving fondly

It's that time of year, well a bit past it, when we celebrate the seeing out of the old and in with the new. We went around to be with french friends. They do know how to party. It takes a lot to get me dancing, which is just as well.

As the last minutes ticked down to midnight there was a fair amount of joshing by the blokes, rubbing each others' faces and muttering about piqué from badly shaved cheeks. The clock struck and everyone kissed everyone. With 15 people I guess that makes it 210 embraces in all.

Now I know I have blogged about (the) french kissing elsewhere, nevertheless I must reiterate that

(a) I find kissing other men strange; however
(b) I find kissing other men strangely pleasant

It is so warm and affirming to have full contact rough cheek-to-cheek smacking kisses with your chums (none of your effete Parisian air-kissing mwahs down here in the Dordogne). And all without affectation or selfconsciousness.

We don't do this often, bloke to bloke (New Year's eve, winning or losing at rugby, funerals, close family etc) but it is a very good way of bonding and something that more reserved cultures have lost to their cost.

[Added later - good gried, that was a bit of a Freudian slip. I wrote "And all without affection or selfconsciousness". I meant of course affectation - affection is definitely allowed].

23 comments:

KAREN said...

It's a bit stalkerish to reply so quickly, but having written a post a while back about accidentally snogging my sister-in-law (we were going for the cheek and turned our heads the same way) and how uncomfortable we felt and how it's never been referred to since, I just wanted to say that you've brought back some very traumatic memories...sob

I suppose if it had been New Year's Eve rather than a regular weekday lunchtime, it might not have been so bad :o)

Janelle said...

me too! re: kissing men thingy...x j

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I'm all for bonding - though I'm not really up for razor burn!
;-)

Dumdad said...

The kiss that dare not speak its name?!

The manly kiss on cheek and hug are quite okay in my book (no tongues though). Look at footballers: they virtually make love to each other after scoring a goal.

I was brought up in that very English "how do you do" school of politeness and was taken aback when I first started coming to France and everyone kissed on entering a room and on leaving it. I've been here so long that it's second nature now.

So, big kiss to you for the New Year!

Ernest de Cugnac said...

karen, fair enough. I'm not quite sure what the rules are for mouth-to-mouth, but you hardly ever see it (apart from when you kiss very young children, strangely enough; this then becomes cheek to cheek when they are older)

janelle - ah, quite!

av - I know *exactly* what you mean

dumdad - why, thank you, and the same to you.

i beati said...

great topic - more reserved but not so reserved in other ways-- that is the rub..

Where has fenuiness gone ??

Ernest de Cugnac said...

i beati - you threw me there, with "fenuiness". It was only when Google said 'no such thing' that I suspected a typo ... I'm guessing "genuiness"

Jeannie said...

It's funny, but after growing up in SA, I found the Brits terribly demonstrative when I moved over there! All the friends I met seemed to kiss on both cheeks whenever we met up, and I found it really hard to let go of the habit when we moved back to SA. South Africans seem to freeze in horror if you try it! I will say that this was girl/girl and girl/man stuff - I didn't ever see two British men kissing hello!

Should I say woman/woman? Am I degrading my gender by referring to them as girls? Sigh. I don't mean to.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I guess that's why men join football teams - to get more snogging time with each other.


Maybe i beati lets her cat help with the typing sometimes too Ernest jsfblwbdjs
(that's the ants helping me - there are more of them)

Ernest de Cugnac said...

jeannie - I'm surprised. Though I have lived in SA, don't recall the kissing aspect ... but thought that friendly and outgoing types as they are that they would be a bit more physical.

lulu - I hasten to distance myself from any football teams. But on the cat front, the same beast once placed an on-line trade for me. I decided to let it ride, and sure enough, it turned a small profit. Smug little bugger.

Nota Bene said...

Oh the kissing thing is so complicated. I have one male friend who gets a hug when we meet and part, it would just seem inappropriate for others. And then even with women, the dilema of whether to kiss on one cheek or two, and which side...oh, oh all too much

Lane said...

When I was young you weren't expected to kiss anyone apart from your aunties.

The trouble is nowadays (in the UK) there are no rules. Some people kiss everyone and some still prefer a handshake. Very confusing.

And my Swiss friends kiss three times which is time consuming:-)

Ernest de Cugnac said...

nota bene -- and lane

You make similar points about how many etc. Actually there are conventions, it seems. Standard Dordogne is two (either way around but possibly left first); on the other hand I find Parisians do it four times; and our Belgian friends do three. I can generally remember what's expected.

Lehners in France said...

Aaagh dearest Ernest - I sooooo miss shoving my tongue down your throat every time we used to meet....that erotic tickle from your Yassar Arafat stubble used to drive me wild - it's just not the same in darkest Essex.

bob

LittleBrownDog said...

Interesting post. Not being a man, I guess, I'm not sure exactly how it must feel - can only equate it with kissing my dog, but that I don't tend to mind (unless there's somebody watching. As a woman, however, I really don't mind kissing other women - bristly or not. In fact the more the merrier, really. (Kisses, that is, not bristles.) I guess it must be what you're used to. I'm assuming you're French, Ernest - although you may well not be...

Ernest de Cugnac said...

bob - how nice to hear from you, and a jolly good air-kiss mwah to you too. Hope life goes well with you in darkest GordonLand.

LittleBrownDog - not French, though flattered to be offered the opportunity. I'm a Brit, but live here permanently, and jolly pleased I am too. Don't get me started, but it's very time warped as in people don't thieve from each other, are polite, cooperative etc etc ...

laurie said...

it is true, there is something about skin-to-skin contact--and here i mean non-sexual contact, such as cheeks or hands---that is very affirming and lovely. it gives a warm feeling, perhaps because we are so cold and businesslike the rest of the time.

and how brave of you to post this, and how sad that one would be considered brave to admit that one likes affection....

laurie said...

ps dumdad made me laugh.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

laurie - men can be a bit uptight, but here it is so unselfconscious that you can't object.

dumdad makes us all laugh.

claires inner world said...

I love the way the French are so unselfconscious about it, too. It is really charming, I think.

More affection all round, I say. More!

Joss Albért said...

You know who kiss each other a lot? Gang members.

There's something quite macho about men kissing, especially if you are involved in a group which has a defined pecking order. It is ultimate show of acceptance.

Unless you are Judas of course.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

claire - "all you need is love"

joss - gang members? I have to say I did not know that.

Baino said...

No kissing in Aus . . blokes are blokes but the mega hug and the 7 pats on the back signal the release. I was once at the airport and a Maori family were greeting a family member from a NZ flight, they did that lovely nose pressing thing that I thought was long since gone but it was strangely affectionate to watch these massive tattooed guys having such an affectionate exchange. I'm all for it . .