How to Kiss Correctly

The Fighting Couple’s  instructions for perform the perfect kiss!

Now that we have your attention, we want to offer you a cultural primer to correct kissing.  Each county that we have traveled to has its own social kissing customs.  We hope that you have the whole romantic kissing down.  We want to offer some of the other social setting in which kissing is appropriate.

Kissing in parisFrench Kiss:

How could we not start with the French?  While they likely didn’t invent the kiss, they came up with an interesting version.  Parisian social kissing is reserved for family, friends and known acquaintances.  The double cheek kiss is very common in French culture.  Both persons lean slightly forward and lightly touch cheek to cheek or lip to cheek.  Male-female and female-female cheek kissing is very common.  Male to male is less common.  A failure to offer a kiss-kiss is often a sign that two people do not get along.   The kiss is initiated on the left, what else would we expect?  Public displays of affections are a national pastime.

German Kuss:

German’s are much more reserved in their expressions of affection.  The double kiss is common amongst family and the closest of friends.  A warm handshake is appropriate for friends and acquaintances.  Hugs or embraces are also frowned upon in a business social setting.

Italian Bacio:

The Italians follow the French model.  The double kiss-kiss is appropriate for friends and family.  Male-male kisses are also more common.  The Italians have turned the kiss-kiss into an art form.  Public displays of affection between couples is also very prevalent.

Aussies Smooch:

The Aussies are a melting pot of Europe with a heady dose of Limeyness.  The single cheek kiss male to female is fairly commonplace between close friends and family.  Before you book your flight down under, brush up on your kissing!

Spain/Portugal Beso:

Spaniards in particular actively practice the kiss-kiss approach with friends and family.  They do make one deviation from the two kissing countries identified above, they start on the right and move left.

Middle East Peck:

Cheek kissing in the Middle East is very commonplace.  It is typically reserved for expressions between friends and relatives. Cheek kissing male-male is very common. However, cheek kissing between a male and female is usually considered inappropriate, unless within the same family.  “Involved” public displays of affection are forbidden and in some locals illegal.

Girl blowing kissUK Snogging:

The Brits are firmly planted in the nod and shake camp.  A nod in the general direction of a friend or an associate indicates a kind acknowledgement.  A firm handshake and a back slap are also very typical.  For the females, a typical embrace is the elbow grab.  Both parties extend arms and place hands lightly on each other’s elbows.

USA: North

The US has a different set of rules depending on where you are.  For the north eastern part of the US, see UK above.

USA: South 

The refined south is likely the most liberal in allowed affection between friends and associates.  The kiss-kiss is still practiced in much of the south on a female-female and male-female basis.

USA: West

Westerners are a combination of north and south.  Much like the northerners, a handshake works fine in most settings.  Westerners do like to hug close friends and family, especially the male-female variety.   It is not uncommon for two close male friends to hug with a back slap.

Some Hints for Kissing:

Regardless of where you are off to, it is best to “follow the leader” in your selection of affection.  Watch your guide and or those around you for the level of affection required.  Don’t feel that you must kiss someone.  Just because you Italian taxi driver gets you to your destination in time, a kiss is certainly never expected (unless is he is extremely handsome!)  Lip to lip contact is reserved for husband or wife or couples in all the locations that we have traveled.

Now it is time to practice!  Gold luck!  Mwah!  Kiss, Kiss!

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15 Responses to How to Kiss Correctly

  1. Hannah March 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Love this, such a cute post! Great idea!

  2. Angela March 9, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    I think Holland is the only country where they do three kisses. Left, right, left. It’s more of a formal/family thing.

  3. admin March 10, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Thanks…It all came about because we kept wondering what the right number of kisses and whom to kiss…. Know we know.

  4. Charli & Ben March 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    It’s quite confusing when you’re travelling in foreign countries and you meet fellow foreigners. Do you follow the your own customs, theirs or the natives?!

    Great post. We’re off to practise our technique!

  5. admin March 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    Great question! We love learning and practicing the customs of a place we visit. I say…give it a try!

  6. suzyguese March 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    I am so awkward with the double kiss! I guess practice makes perfect but I always end up bonking heads.

  7. Britany Robinson March 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Love this! Never thought of the elbow grab for Americans, but now that I think of it — I do that! I’m also a hugger, which has led to some super awkward body bumps while traveling and greeting people who immediately go in for the kiss-kiss. Kiss-kiss-Smash.

  8. admin March 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Love it!

  9. The Guy ✈ April 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Great guide here. The double kiss also often throws me, do I start on the left or right? Sometimes it can be a triple kiss which often catches me off guard. I have known people’s wives greet me with a gentle kiss on the lips. I’ve experience this whilst in the UK and think it is highly inappropriate even with the husband looking on.

  10. admin April 20, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Never heard of that one. Yikees!

  11. Wandering Carol August 27, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Adorable post! I know it’s about social kissing, but ‘snogging’ definitely has a different connotation. Still, I guess it’s ‘social snogging’ you’re talking about. Too cute.
    Wandering Carol recently posted…Places to visit in EnglandMy Profile

  12. The Fighting Couple August 27, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Yes. Very different distinction. We wanted to capture the different cultural aspects.

    Cheers!

    -mike
    The Fighting Couple recently posted…Long Term Travel as a CoupleMy Profile

  13. Frank September 4, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    Cute! So you’re saying the British don’t actually kiss, but instead slap you on the back or an elbow grab? How romantic :)

    Reminds me of a joke I once heard; what do British men whisper lovingly to their wifes before sex?
    “Brace yourself”.

    Frank (bbqboy)

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