To bise or not to bise

When should you greet a friend with a kiss on the cheek? And how many? One, two, three? Or even five? And on which cheek should you start?

It's astonishing how much discussion there has been on this issue, even in the French press. Google "combien de bises en france" and see what comes up. Or just start here. Even The Economist has written on the subject. And this is from Le Parisien -- see, it's not just us that get it wrong!

On the Combiendebises home page or here you will find an interactive map of France. Run the cursor over a department and up pops the information on how many kisses and on which cheek is the norm in that department. A must-have link on your smart phone if you want to avoid banging noses because you've opted for the wrong cheek. A couple of clicks before diving in to kiss your new friend can save a lot of embarrassment!

You can even influence local customs by adding your own vote to the database. Now there's a thought. If all the Brits in France added their vote could we sow confusion in French ranks?

Today in french class, my male teacher kissed twice as usual. When another (English) woman came in he kissed her 3 times. She did the two, and he said "no. 3 this time" He knows her much longer so I reckon it's familiarity. I gave hime a small gift, and to my amazement, he hugged me (for an Irish woman, this is completely acceptable, we love hugging).

Some of our neighbours have also upped the number of bises, from 2 to 3. (Ariege, MP)

My husband baked cookies as xmas gifts, and when we presented to one male neighbour, I got 3 kisses, but hubby got kisses too - his first time ever. Needless to say he was dead chuffed.

There can be changes even within departments - I think it depends on villages. But another friend - she does 2 - her hubby always does 3 cos he's from Brittany!

You need to hold off on the wine in the mornings Sheila ;-)

Like my tennis. Going to school in Wimbledon, we were all at it. We had Ashley Cooper, the Oz who won in 195something, although they were officially amateurs in those days (like stingy SW19 gave them nowt) as a coach for two years. The other was Rod Laver for a couple of months while he warmed up for the great event. My tennis, not that I can now, a total (to put it mildly) embarrassment.

Not a lot of skiing here fortunately !

"great golfer doesn't always make a good teacher" They also think that because they can play the game they can run clubs which is why we had a lot of @rse*oles on our board of directors ;-)

Do a lot of skiing in Finistere then Vic ?

Keeping well off topic as usual, believe it or nor not my golf teacher was an ex Ryder Cup player (Ralph Moffitt in 1961) so a tidy golfer. The fact I am a rubbish golfer just goes to prove a great golfer doesn't always make a good teacher !

My missus Jak, an excellent raquette sport player decided to take up golf & I well remember her trying to actually hit a stationary ball let alone direct it where she wanted it to go. She really couldn't hit the thing. Two years later, with my lessons, she was playing off 9 H'cp & had her name on every trophy in the ladies section. I also taught her to ski & she beat the hell out of me at that. It just goes to prove the old adage " Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" True stories (I'm afraid) ;-)

At least demand a commission.

Blimey, just imagine if you could bottle the secret, you would make a fortune !

I was at our annual guitar bash a few years ago & a bloke was telling me about his lifetime 22 H'cp slicey game. Somebody had some clubs & I showed the bloke my anti slice take on the swing. He now apparently plays off 12 & toasts me every time he takes the money off his mates :-)

I have to admit (quite shamelessly too !) to using my position to help my game. Every time I entered myself in one of the club competitions ie Stableford or Medal etc I would re-position the tee markers as well as change the hole positions to suit my slicey type game. This didn't actually help me tho' cos I still ended up at the bottom of the list !

Do NOT be tempted to ask "Alors est-ce qu'on doit baiser maintenant?" (as a Flemish-speaking Belgian friend of mine speaking to a group of French people did, cue MUCH hilarity & embarrassment)

I feel sorry for the horse...

And why is a rabbit's foot supposed to be lucky ? It's not too lucky for the three-legged bunny !

Cheers matey, same to you ! I heard that Gary player used to aim for a greenside bunker sometimes as it was easier to hole out from there. I also heard that that wasn't exactly true as he was actually aiming for the holes YOU had mistakenly set in the bunkers ;-)

Thinking of luck, have you noticed that in France, horseshoes are hung with the opening at the bottom, unlike in the UK where it's at the top. My French wife says it's that way in France so that the devil can't climb in and make himself at home. Whereas in the UK we fear that the luck will all fall out if the opening is at the bottom.

The devil comes into the UK tradition too, as the story goes that St Dunstan trapped the devil in a horseshoe and refused to let him go until he promised never to enter a home where a horseshoe was nailed above the door.

Vive la différence.

Luck ? Nowt to do with it.

The old chestnut about Gary Player. He played a great shot to the green and one of the spectators following the game said "Gee Mr Player, that was lucky" The great man replied "Yep, the more I play, the luckier I get !"

Have a great 2015 Vic and any one else looking in.

So this is why I have such rotten luck !

Yep, cross hand-shaking is frowned upon just like 'trinquer' or toasting/ saying cheers with drinks. Apparently it's considered unlucky to cross arms when saying 'cheers' to each other.

When in doubt, Sheila, just say “On s’est vu?” with a quizzical tone. Works every time.
on another issue altogether, I found out very quickly that when you’re in a group shaking hands you should avoid forming a cross with your arm when you and someone standing next to you are shaking hands with several other people. Very bad luck if not worse so I’m told.

I don't want to interrupt the flirtation going on between Brian, Vic and Peter, but here down in Le Sud de France (or whatever we are going to be called when the new map of France is drawn) it is two. There are a handful of male friends who will "bisous" with Henry. He is used to it now! Of course, at the NY's eve party, everyone bised with everyone else, whether you knew them or not. Here in our village, even the ex-pats faire la bise with each other.

The trick I have yet to master is remembering who I have already greeted that day, and don't need to kiss again!