> >If anybody can tell me ...
how many kisses to bestow on cheeks?
You are not alone, Pia, in wondering how long the alternate cheek kissing
can go on for.
In France, each region has its preferences, and, rather like
palms-up-or-palms -down? in 8 hands round, the more sensitive people
develop a split second monitoring to sense how long the other person is
going ot go on pecking.
I think two kisses is the most frequent form (but my exeprience is
limited), though many people insist on three (something to do with the holy
trinity, it appears).
Differences can cause conflict. When my widowed father-in-law remarried,
the new wife insisted on four kisses, whereas in the family it had always
been two. My wife's brothers and sisters saw no reason to change, drawing
back firmly after the second kiss, while the new ma-in-law clung on and
grew ever more insistant to get at least two more. Greetings could
sometimes turn rather stony.
The other question is: which cheek do you offer first?
Nose rubbing often results from this hesitation (not to mention eye-glass
clicking, for those that wear spectacles).
This kind of ritual kissing is rather like the ritual flirting in SCD --