El Primer Beso

(This is one of those rare posts from Tom. Michele thought my Argentine man kissing story needed to be shared. )

A simple handshake doesn’t quite cut it in Argentina.

Greetings are a bit more complicated than that, since they’re all accompanied with a discrete air kiss on the right cheek. It’s not quite as tricky as the right-left cheek kiss of Spain, nor the right-left-right of France. But, the wrinkle here is that the ritual is universal: man greeting woman, woman greeting woman, man greeting man…it doesn’t matter. Every greeting is accompanied with the beso.

We’ve been working with the girls on handling this situation. With visions of Zelda lunging for the wrong cheek and accidentally breaking some new acquaintance’s nose, we’ve particularly stressed that “You always go to the left!” Zoe may be a touch on the shy side, while Zelda has been known to offer an enthusiastic hug and a kiss on the ear as well, but, all in all, the girls are getting the hang of it.

That just leaves me.

Now, I’m not particularly shy about the Argentinian man greeting, but there is a slight feeling of awkwardness that I imagine will only dissipate once I’ve got a few under my belt. My first opportunity came yesterday, but Ian’s friend felt sorry for the “inexperienced American” and let me off with a handshake.

Tonight, Ian and I went to go see an amazing percussion group called La Bomba de Tiempo, and as we’re standing in line for tickets, he introduces me to a couple who are friends of his. Lead to the left, kiss on the woman’s right cheek, smile and say hello…lead to the left, kiss on the man’s right cheek…

…and just like that, I’m one tiny step closer to becoming a true Porteño.

2 Responses to “El Primer Beso”

  1. shagan

    It looks good so far. And in the photo you really don’t appear like the Euro refugees hitting SA in the 50’s. Back in the USSR, we don’t know how lucky we are…that would be not much luck at all. Spare change problem: just cash out the panhandlers.

  2. Michele

    Shaggy! Great to hear from you. Cashing out the panhandlers is creative–perhaps we could expand that to include musicians, clowns, and dancers at street fairs too! That wouldn’t be weird at all!

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