Cheek kissing is a ritual in many cultures. For the majority, it is usually a one kiss affair, one pucker to the right cheek then another to left. At least one party leaves satisfied (ok this is not going well) and/or feeling proper etiquette was followed, and you move on.
This ritual is regardless of gender. For some, it is a common greeting amongst adults who are friends, while for others, it is only reserved for close relatives.
And in some countries, if you are introduced to even a complete stranger, you are expected to kiss them on the cheek. And don't you DARE refuse as the consequences can be life-changing (for your reputation that is). For example in France, if the stranger in question is of the opposite sex, and you extend your hand, rather than plant a wet one, you run the risk of being thought to be .....a homosexual (not that there's anything wrong with that... of course).
Enter the pandemic. Now this was expected to change everything. Including putting an end to this slobbering tradition. No more smoochie-smoochie! Heck some even thought we'd be wearing masks and practice social distancing for the rest of our lives. But fast forward to today (with covid still ablaze- albeit far less dangerous), and fortunately/unfortunately (depending on what side of the fence you sit on this "issue"), kissing is back with a vengeance (people likely trying to make up for lost time and/or trying to make a point post lockdown is my guess as to why).
I mean I've never had so many people trying to plant their puffer fish lips on your sorry face. It's truly become a free-for-all.
Heart-shaped lips, heavy lower lips, drooping lips, fish lips, even those dreaded drooling lips, have all come back in a major way. They're all out to get us, folks, so make sure you protect those cheeks of yours! (perhaps slap some point on there, or some vinegar, have it serve as a deterrent!).
What I've found, over the years (spent a lot of time researching this), is that the best "coping" strategy is the Fake Kiss. In fact, dare I say so myself, I believe I've mastered the art of the "mwoi-mwoi". I'll take the lead, lean in, and as the opposing cheek comes into range, I will simply pull away a little, loudly uttering the words "mwoi-mwoi" and, Lord behold, 9 times of 10, the other person will actually believe we kissed on the cheeks (I guess it's sour grapes for the remaining 1 of 10, but that's not my problem)
But now let's give credit where credit is due (sarcasm alert) there are actually some good Samaritans left out there who are genuinely concerned about this cheek-to-cheek kissing tradition. And they will simply put out a fist or quickly go for the frontal bear hug, to avoid the nonsensical puckery. Frankly, these people have ALL my respect.
But the ones who have little or none of my respect, are the ones I refer to as the "Kiss-Blowers". They often claim to be under the weather, and hence, will walk into a room and announce to everyone (like we care): "Hey everyone I'm goin to blow you a kiss so as to not spread the germs".
Of course, most of us are probably thinking why thank you for being soooo considerate. You are sick like a dog, yet you graced us with your presence, and came all the way here just so you could dissipate those germs with that lovely human leaf-blower of yours. How generous of you, sharing the kiss of Judas with us all. The cheek-to-cheek, you, it turns out, pales in comparison to this sprinkler system of kisses.
And on that gooey note, mwoiiii mwoiii to you all.....