Monday, January 10, 2022

User Manual


Back in the pre-Pandemic olden days, you could categorise people into cheek-kissers and hand-shakers. By "people" I mean your average Austria person, not, say French people who are (were?) mostly kissers anyway, or Swiss and Polish people who confuse you by giving three instead of two pecks on the cheeks which inevitably results in an awkward clash of cheeks or worse, lips. The simple rule was more or less: handshakes are for formal settings or casual acquaintances, friends get (air) kisses. These days, it's not so simple. Some people have become kissers again, others have decided to become huggers instead. Others yet prefer to stick to fist-bumps or sheepish waves for the time being. All these exchanges are absolutely fine with me as long as I know the person I'm meeting is not somebody who should be in quarantine because they are super infectious. Unless I can instinctively assess if the encounter in question will become a kiss, hug, handshake or "contactless" greeting scenario, I have taken to openly asking people if they are are the kissing, hugging or handshaking kind to avoid awkwardness and confusion. I have to admit that I am not very consistent myself and often use caution as an excuse for escaping from certain people's wet "suction kisses"...


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