What’s in a Kiss?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, what better subject to discuss than kissing?

photo (79)

Kisses … I like kisses. Real or virtual, I am definitely a kissy kind of girl! Of course, they are not all the same and neither do they all have the same meaning. The ones you give your children are different to the ones you give your partner, which again are different to the ones you give your family and the ones to your friends. Then there are the virtual ones that you put on the end of a text or an email. All very different kisses with their own rules. Yes, kisses have rules.

The Virtual Kiss Rule

Putting a single kiss at the end of a text or e-mail can be seen as another way of signing off; a way of saying ‘bye, see you soon’ or ‘thanks very much’ or ‘best wishes’. It doesn’t actually mean you want to give that person a physical kiss but it is a sign of sincerity.  Sometimes, a text or email will warrant two kisses. To me, this means you are good friends with that person and are fond of them, usually close friends and family. It means more than just ‘best wishes’, it’s another way of saying ‘Take care, love from’.

X    X

The Rogue Kiss

Hands up those who have been guilty of popping a kiss at the end of a text or email to a work colleague … very embarrassing, especially if it’s your boss! Well, that’s the Virtual Rogue Kiss. The one you automatically pop on the end of a text or email to  a work colleague, the bank manager, a friend of your son, who you were only texting in the first place because your son had switched his phone off and wouldn’t return your calls and now his friend thinks you’re some sort of cougar, it’s on these sort of ones that you only notice this rogue kiss once you’ve hit the send button. (What do you mean, no? Surely, I’m not the only one to have done at least one of the above, oh, okay, ALL of the above at one time or another.)

So what of real kisses? Although I put kisses on my text messages, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I will give that person a real kiss when I see them (which is a relief to my son and his friends). Real kisses have their own etiquette.

The One Kiss, One Hug Rule

I kiss my family when I see them and this is also followed by a hug. One kiss, one hug but can be repeated several times. That’s my immediate family. My cousins, however, have a sub-rule, the Kiss Each Side of the Cheek Without Really Kissing Rule. Whilst acknowledging the fact we are related, it’s not so full on and has a rather more polite and formal air to it.

The Friendship Kiss

No need to kiss each other hello or goodbye, unless (a) you’ve not seen each other for a while (b) you won’t be seeing each other for a while or (c) one of you has needed a shoulder to cry on.  This is the ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘you know where I am’ kiss.

There is, of course, the kiss for your partner but that’s probably for a different post, possibly even a different blog! 😉


It seems to me that the whole kissing business, virtual or real, is a bit of a minefield. Negotiating how many kisses to put on a text or email is one thing but trying to work it out in real life can be just as bad. Even once you’ve decided on how many kisses, you still have another problem to overcome – which side to go for? Left or right first? It can all get very messy with the bobbing of heads from one side to another, before finally making a decision on which side to go for. Even then it can still go very wrong. You commit yourself to the left or right, only to realise, horrors of horrors, they have opted for the same way as you and it’s too late to divert  … ouch … you get a Glaswegian Kiss instead!

Am I the only one with kissing rules and regulations?

Sue  x


26 thoughts on “What’s in a Kiss?

  1. I once wrote a blog post about this, and how I accidentally ended up kissing my sister-in-law on the lips! It’s a minefield. I’ve also added a kiss by mistake when subbing stories to magazines, and had to apologise, but luckily the editors had a sense of humour about it. The first time anyway …

    • Oh no, not the accidental kissing of lips! At least it was only your sister-in-law. 🙂


  2. The whole “which side to go for” definitely causes me stress. And the “should I, shouldn’t I” at the end of texts. I can feel my anxiety levels rising. I need a lie down 😉
    xxxxxxxxx (one per romaniac)

    • I actually now ‘the which side to go for rule’ – always go to the person’s right. It only gets tricky when they don’t know ‘the rule’.


  3. Oh no, I didn’t realise how much thought had to go into kisses, Sue…next time we meet I’m going to bring a printed version of this and make it my constant study! Am guilty of the rogue kiss far too often too. Great post, still tittering here. xxx (Make what you will of these three).

  4. Being American we don’t do that kissing thing when you meet, so I’m always awkward when someone wants to do the air-kiss thing and I never know which way to go first. I’ve never accidentally kissed anyone…but have sometimes “tripped” into my husband to get a kiss when he’s busy. 🙂

    • Hi Katherine
      Just for the record, it’s the right. Always go to the other person’s right first.
      I like the idea of ‘tripping’ into someone for a kiss 🙂

  5. I’m a kisser. I know, that’s a bit of an admission, and it’s really weird too because Germans don’t do the whole public kissing thing. But somehow… that’s me, and I have absorbed that part of British culture without really noticing. I totally do the near-hug-air-kiss-one-side-only thing with almost every friend. Really close friends get a proper-hug-air-kiss-one-side-only and some European friends get a air-kiss-both-sides. Weird, right?

    Well, you should have seen the look on a very old (as in, long-time-ago) school (nearly boy-)friend’s face when I randomly bumped into him at a bus stop in Germany a few years ago and enveloped him in one of my near-hug-and-air-kiss routines. He froze, stood stock still, arms ramrod stiff by his sides, then gradually yielded and awkwardly reciprocated, a look of utter horrror and confusion on his face. AWKWARD!

    I am guilty, too, of the accidentaly ‘rogue kiss’ in texts and emails but on the whole I don’t worry about those anymore. They just kind of happen. End of message, and the ring finger of the left hand goes to the xxx without me even noticing. xxxxxxxx 🙂 See? xxxx it just happens, I can’t stop it. xxxxx

    • I know you’re a kisser! 😉
      The thought of you doing the kiss hug routine on your old friend while he stands there rigid is making me laugh.
      Keep Kissing and Hugging – it’s good for the soul.


  6. Don’t have so many kissing rules, so never gave it thought. I have given close family like my mother and daughter a kiss on the cheek. Blown a kiss(kiss hand and blow it their way) to close family or spouse if they are leaving. Intimate kisses are only for boyfriends and spouses. I give hugs to friends, but not kisses.

    • Blowing of kisses – awww, I haven’t blown a kiss for ages. I think I’ll make sure I do that to someone today, preferably not a stranger but I’ll see how it goes!
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • Don’t worry, I’m working on it … 😉 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. I reckon I came close to the old Glaswegian Kiss when I was first introduced to my French brother-in-law. Clash of the noses from what I remember 🙂 Now I know what I’m doing, we’re fine! I’m a very tactile person. Love hugs and kisses (the latter in said various appropriate forms you’ve mentioned, of course!) I remember leaving a belter of a lipstick mark on Mr B’s face not long after we’d first started dating. He walked the entire length of Victoria Station, completely oblivious, bless him. *mwah* 🙂

    • Not the clash of noses! My French neighbour always gives me 3 kisses and I know it’s to the right first now. Her husband plays it safe and still shakes my hand.
      Lipstick kisses are the best. 🙂

  8. Such a fun post, Sue. LOL – I need to learn the etiquette. I’m afraid much depends on what mood I’m in at the time – and indeed the mood of the recipient:) Not quite sure how to sign this one off now. Oh dear. What the hell. BFSK 🙂 X

    • I’ll make sure you’re in a good mood before I next see you.
      My sign off to you … BFSK back atcha! 😀 xx

  9. I miss kisses!!!! But at least I get wonderful kisses from my little girls, a whole different type of kiss, usually of them trying to get away and me chasing them for millions of deranged kisses!!!!

    • Kisses from your children – can’t beat them. 🙂 Thanks for popping by.

  10. I’m with Katherine – having not grown up in the UK, I find the whole kissing thing a complete nightmare and always feel I don’t get it right! I mean, how long are you supposed to have known someone before you do the kiss-the-air-next-to-the-cheek routine? It seems to vary from person to person! The e-mail ones are easier so here you go, Sue – xx 🙂

  11. I tend to dive in with a kiss-the-air-next-to-the-cheek and then sometimes regret it. I did this quite recently when I was introduced to someone at a party who I thought I was supposed to know. At the hug stage of the greeting I realised I hadn’t a clue who they were. Turned out they were a rather important person who was being introduced to me for business reasons – oh the embarrassment, it’s still making me cringe now. On the plus side, I expect they’ve remembered me.
    Virtual ones are definitely easier.
    Sending them your way … xx
    Sue 🙂

  12. Good blog post Sue, as ever. I kiss female friends, because I’ve known them for years and also my best mate (since he & I have known each other since we were 7 and consider ourselves brothers), I always find it odd when you meet new women in company and there’s that awkward “hmmm, hugging eh, are we supposed to kiss too?” and you get past that before they say “two kisses!”

  13. Thanks for dropping by, Mark. Yes, that awkward what to do the first time is a nightmare. Why did we ever move on from the formal hand shake or nod of the head – it would make life a lot easier!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s