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].