Kiss me like you mean it.

I’m a hugger.

I’ve always been a hugger.

I’ll hug anything:  cats, dogs, people of any gender, trees, Triumph motorcycles.

Haven’t ever been much of a kisser, and not due to some weird aversion to intimacy, but primarily due to the awkwardness of it all.

The whole issue about who is kissing who’s cheek can begin a pleasant reunion with a head bobbling clash.


What if one of your friends turns out to be a lip kisser, when you were certain (in the .5 of a second of running through your kiss-memory-bank), that they were a cheek kisser?


The double cheek kiss, (I find the ‘double cheek’ alone affectatious at the best of times) that all of a sudden turns in to a TRIPLE cheek kiss… it creates a weird pause as you return to the middle to say hello to the person ONLY to have them sliding hungrily toward you for third peck.

I just don’t get it. I’ve tried, but I don’t.

Interestingly (for me at least) I find the whole process completely impersonal, and find it generally akin to ripping a bandaid off, or leaping into a potentially cold pool.

“Hi, we’ve met a couple of times, but we’re not, like, BFFs or anything, but we’re not, like, complete strangers, so I’m like a little uncomfortable right now, let’s air kiss and get it over and done with, like mwah…MWAH”

Drives me nuts.

It’s not the action, it’s the intent. Most of the time I would prefer to be greeted with a warm handshake, a double hander is particularly nice, so, given that at larger gatherings the time spent in greeting might be ALL the time you spend with that person, that contact can be made more meaningful by having the opportunity to look at each other and smile… rather than mwah MWAH-ing in each other’s ear, sharing no meaningful time, and then moving on to the next victim.

There is enough non-personal contact in the virtual world as it is with Facebook, twitter and now Google taking a bite into how we all interact, so for the love of all things connected why reduce our limited contact time to such meaningless gunge as double kissing?

“But, what about the Lebanese? They triple kiss.” asked Mrs Ad-ist, an inveterate double-lipper…

No problem, because they are LEBANESE.

A key factor.

They (Lebanese folk) generally perform the triple with a warmth and drawing in of the body, a lingering that suggests that they care about this coming together... the opportunity to spend a moment.  Not the ridiculous bum out lean in mwah-daaahling fest we seem to indulge in, like merging skeins of geese, all flapping and kissing and trying to land somewhere.

In fact perhaps I am also railing against the bum-out ridiculousness that is the multi-kiss flapping frenzy.  People end up looking like they are bobbing for cheek apples, bent over some imaginary barrel that has materialised between the two parties, both of whom set about trying to avoid touching, lest the rim of said barrel leaves something nasty on the crotch area of one’s party clothes.

What is the motivation? Have we seen so many caricatures of “society living” that we have inadvertently perpetuated the very behaviour that we have previously derided as being annoying and worse - false?

Nope I’m done, I’ve been lured into this abhorrent behaviour over the last couple of years, NO-one I know at home behaves in such a manner, and I’m not doing anymore.

As I mentioned from the start, I’m actually a hugger, but am aware that people have space issues that preclude the return of same, so I don’t pursue or instigate hugging as a rule.

No, in lieu of a good and proper hug, I’m sticking to handshakes, double handshakes OR if the person I am making the acquaintance is desperate to bob for cheek apples, I’ll stop at one.

I’ll reserve the saved time for actually saying hello.

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Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

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