Awkward Cheek Kiss Greetings

The other day, I was shooting this thing at the new agnes b, store in SoHo. They are rotating art installations through the store there, and are currently featuring the work pictured above (among other items). Anyway, the PR person who organizes these openings is a really cool lady. At the last one that I went to, I ended up talking to the woman for at least a half hour.

The other night when I showed up, I walked over to say hi and she leaned in for the cheek kiss. PS, this is totally normal practice for this scene. I grew up doing handshakes and high-fives. And I have to admit that I was a bit caught off guard when I first moved to NY and people were doing the cheek kiss thing. I was like, “what is this, France or something?” But over the years I have grown accustomed to it, and even tried to learn how to do it without being totally awkward. But the problem is, I can’t.

My friend Mike, who was born and raised in southern CT has the greeting down pat. He makes it look so easy. I really envy that. When I was in Spain recently, some of our friends there, even gave me some pointers, on how not to mess it up so badly. But inevitably, every time someone opts to do the cheek kiss thing with me, I either end up giving an accidental headbutt, or else actually planting one on the cheek (you are supposed to kiss the air).

So, I apologize to the very nice PR girl and countless others over the years who have been the recipients of my poorly executed attempts at the cheek kiss greeting. One of these days, hopefully I can get it down. Maybe I’ll watch some instructional youtube videos.

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  1. Eff the air kiss! Start a new (old) trend: headbutt greetings!

    ‘Cept you’re so tall, people might run from you. Dilemma.

    Well, when you master the air kiss OR headbutt greeting, make a tutorial, k? ‘Cause I can’t gracefully receive an air kiss to save my life. (Oh, the stories I could tell you about visiting South Africa, where people kiss ON THE MOUTH to say hello, goodbye, goodnight, etc. So. Awkward.)

    (By the way, do you like how I pretended we were having an uninterrupted conversation while you shut down JNB and set up JM? I’m smooth like that. And not good with sudden change.

    Seriously though, welcome “back.” You were missed. High five for Jake’s Mag.)

    *Note: send me the bill for the blog real estate I took up with this comment.

  2. I have to admit, when I moved out here it was totally weird for me as well. Now it feels so normal, except for when you come across someone for whom it’s not normal. Sometimes I go back home and forget it’s not normal out west to greet someone or say goodbye with the cheek kiss and then they end up thinking you’re a weirdo or pretentious. I really wish everyone would just do it though, because even though it seems like it would be more awkward than a hug, the minimal contact is WAY less awkward than an awkward hug with a distant relative if you ask me. 🙂

  3. I am so lame when it comes to the cheek kiss greeting! I always assume that we are going in for a hug and then the other persons face goes towards mine but I am still going for the hug…. its just weird the whole encounter. I`m in California. I have not noticed that it is the norm to hug or kiss… it just depends on the person. I think the kiss is actually less awkward since it less body contact. I`m just going to go for the kiss from now on. blah!

  4. I am a lip kisser so the cheek kiss is always awkward because I always assume they are going for my lips and then realize halfway into it they are probably going for my cheek (no one kisses lips but it is an instinct for me.)and so it is sort of a cheek butt except I always end up kissing their cheek because it goes too fast for me to adjust to cheek to cheek. The cheek butt being they totally plant their cheek into my lips harder then they probably normally would if they were expecting a kiss there.
    Does this make any sense? Can you imagine what I am even saying?
    Anyways, my point is I prefer lip kissing and wish more people would do that. Just think about the awkwardness that would ensue! Now maybe the air cheek kiss won’t be as awkward because you can be grateful it is not a lip kiss.
    Sorry I am done now but I like this topic so thanks.

  5. I totally know what you mean! When I lived in Europe I was not used to it at all when I first got there, and some places did one cheek, or 2 and one placed I lived it was 3 times. Muah muah muah. It took me forever to say hi to people if there was a big room of people. Of course, some people I didn’t mind at all…but then others, it was too close to be to their face. haha that’s so mean.

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