Kissing with Confidence

A bit of nonsense for a Sunday evening. And I am not referring to the Will Powers song advising me not to have spinach in my teeth...

Are there are rules regarding the bisous? Are there hidden meanings?

My own research has found many differences. Let's start with my neighbour's darling little girls of barely walking, big toddler and youngster at first school classes. They will plant a big smacker on your cheek then offer their opposite expecting you to do the same.

A couple of posh French ladies at work - barely a brush of the cheek but I hasten to add these two ladies are as lovely as you could meet.

My daughter's landlady who is in fact Belgian. Usually goes right to right followed by left to left. But with me, she leads with the left. A Southpaw Biser... Is there a meaning there? (Apart from if you pay next months rent on time, I will go back to the right...)

Any others?

But whatever, vive la difference, vive la bisous!

Had this one before not long ago - here's the map for you ;-) but there are areas where it isn't correct, in St Brieuc it's 4, or was when I was working there!

As for men kissing - depends where you are in France and varies from person to person - there are four of us brother in laws: Patrick and Christophe kiss between them but not with Manu or me, and Manu and I don't kiss the other two (who are the same age and grew up together from primary school onwards, Manu is younger and from a different village 10km away and I'm an estranger so there's the difference in our family) we all use vous with MIL and FIL (apart from Patrick he's their son...!)

Here in Lozere it's three and usually begins left cheek to left cheek. I say usually because our Martiniquaise friend always starts right to right! As to whether or not to kiss, if in doubt leave it up to the French person to decide. It's like tu or vous, really. You can always say "on s'embrasse?" if you've known someone for long enough. And it is polite to remove your specs to avoid poking someone in the eye. Which reminds me of the two ladies I spotted on the TV coverage of Ascot, both wearing enormous hats. They tried to kiss each other on the cheek. Immediate clash of hat brims and they finished up kissing the air about two feet from each other.

Here in the Aude (Languedoc) it is two. New Year's Eve at midnight, Henry was roundly bisou-ed by most of the other men at the party, none of whom were relatives or close friends!