Mwah! One kiss or two?

(Photo by Guido Fuà)

In England, when I grew up, kissing or not kissing women on the cheek was a class issue. Lots of people think the English don’t do the kiss on the cheek. Not true. The posher you are, the more kissing there is. It’s so French and sophisticated, see? 

Among my mates, it was simple: no one ever touched the opposite sex, prior to a full snog, let alone kissed them on the cheek. 

Then I went to university, like a fresh-faced extra in The Line of Beauty

A good friend took me to the nightspots of Fulham and Chelsea, and I discovered that I was expected to kiss every girl I was introduced to. It was extraordinary. 

One cheek or two? 

I made a total hash of it, and did one-and-a-half. 

This inept action left everyone awkward and unsure of my intentions. Was I using the opportunity to go in for the kill? Or was I so put off by their first cheek that I couldn’t bear to fully kiss the other one?

This is the part of the blog where I say: Obviously, over time I got it down pat. Nowadays, I’m a natural with the ladies… [Is that coughing I can hear at the back? Hey, come on, pipe down!]

Intimacy is, as anyone who’s lived a long time will know, fraught with dangers. 

Alas, such sociable cultural fun might just be one of the casualties of Covid. But a nostalgic part of me hopes this awkward British institution will live on.

Like this? See what I can do with a cucumber