The politeness rules got inverted during the “giant pause,” no more kissing hello, handshaking or hugging as a greeting. That felt awkward at first, but as the pandemic continues to hold us hostage, we are getting used to the new way.  

As a result of what we are experiencing globally, kisses hello have been temporarily discouraged in countries where they are traditional; companies worldwide are discouraging and even banning handshakes between associates; places of worship are temporarily modifying traditions that involve interpersonal touching or the use of communal objects. 

While I am not fond of the kissing part, I have noticed that I miss hugging. Before the pandemic, I assumed I didn’t want any contact at all and was walking through life conforming to the protocols outlined by society. People’s perfumes and hairspray are best kept to themselves in my opinion. 

How do I not look like a snob when I enter a room and prefer not to have people kiss my cheeks as a greeting? While traditions vary amongst various cultures, like the number of kisses per cheek is different depending on where you are coming from, it was never something that made sense to me. It most especially made little sense if I saw you in the morning and had to kiss you when I saw you again three hours later.  

 I come from a blended cultural background; one side is of British descent while the other side is Lebanese/Syrian. Growing up, our family home was divided on what the polite way to greet people was. Dad kissed and hugged while Mom was more a wave hello from a distance kind of person. 

I lean more British on this issue, or at least that is what I thought. I recently went to an outdoor event that a few of my friends attended. I had not seen them in person for months, and instinctively wanted to reach out for a hug.  

Could it be that absence is making my heart grow fonder? Since when did I want anyone greeting me with a hug? Is it all the isolation that has us yearning for human interaction like the good old days? Did I always want the hug, just not the kiss? Or was it that I didn’t want the kiss from the people who insist on using their lips to kiss, leaving my cheek wet? Or was it the embarrassing seconds after the kiss trying to find a way to wipe my face of the residue without being rude?  

I am not sure what is happening but what I do know is I miss the parties and the festivals and the hugging. But not kiss greeting. I think that is one thing we can thank the Karmic universe for.  

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