It’s what Italy is all about and maybe it is better than shaking hands. Let’s face it – with most double kisses you are not really kissing the persons cheek – just rather touching their cheek with your cheek so probably way more hygienic than shaking hands. And everybody does it ….
Don’t you think Obama looks quite handsome here – wonder what Michelle thought?
It can sometimes cause confusion amongst non-Italians because when does a regular kiss-on-the-cheek greeting become the double kiss? It’s hard to tell really and then you have that hanging in the air second kiss. That’s embarrassing. The best way around this is to make it very clear that you are a double kisser. Firmly place your hands on the persons shoulders and then lean in for the first kiss, lean back and then without letting go of the shoulders do the second kiss – then no one is taken by surprise – even if they don’t like it very much.
It’s very common for men to double kiss too – not just in Italy but in many countries around the world.
When visiting Italy the kissing double cheek thing becomes habitual. Sometimes it almost feels rude not to. It’s kinda nice – makes you feel as if you totally belong and you can imagine that you were raised on ravioli and can carry on a lengthy conversation just with your hands.
You can, however, get carried away. After an amazing stay in Italy and on our transfer to the airport in Florence the taxi driver entertained us with typical Italian flair – i.e. talking non stop, waving his arms around, having a conversation with his brother who rode alongside on his scooter – you know what I mean!
I love Italy and it was with great gusto that I said goodbye to the taxi driver with the old Italian double kiss. What my husband didn’t realise was that set the tone and when he tried to shake hands he was grabbed by both shoulders and yes – double kissed. Now I have to tell you that our taxi driver had a pretty heavy designer stubble thing going on. “Is that what you women have to put up with?” he asked.
Um – Yes!
PS – this was NOT the taxi driver……. just thought it would add some glamour to the post.