No more kissing: an update

DUE TO COLOSSAL stupidity on the parts of a couple of young relatives last March, I swore off the Latino custom of rampant kissing and hugging.

I had never liked it in the first place.

Some will remember my post on the matter in April. In brief, this is what happened: The two young relatives nudged their toddler in my direction one evening to give me a goodbye kiss, which she did. Seconds later, they revealed they were on their way to a doctor’s office because they suspected the child might have chickenpox.

And she surely did.

I have never had chickenpox, a very contagious affliction that is serious business to adults and even graver (pun intended) for elderly adults, which I am. I then sweated bullets the next three weeks, the time it normally requires for chickenpox to appear after one is exposed. Luckily, I did not get sick. I have since been vaccinated.

I was mad as hell and immediately decided to opt out of the kissing custom. Obviously, the locals cannot be trusted. Gotta bad cold? No matter. Kiss. Got the flu even? No matter. Kiss. Got the bubonic plague, leprosy? No matter. Kiss. One who does not live in a Latino nation cannot grasp the power of this idiotic custom.

You do it. No matter what. Or you are rude and cold.

Well, I ain’t doing it no more. And I have not since March, and I won’t in the future. I announced this decision to relatives here on the mountaintop, I was met with both surprise and amusement. The crazy Gringo. The one relative I thought would have the most trouble with my decision is my child bride’s sister who owns the coffee shop downtown where I hang out a lot.

I had to kiss her a hundred times a day, or so it seemed.

She is extremely traditional and provincial to boot. But after a day or two, surprisingly, she was okay with it, and now we throw air kisses on seeing one another the first time each day, or we just wave and smile. I do the same with the rest of the kin.

We also have relatives in the nearby capital city and in Querétaro farther north. Those folks do not know of my smooching decision, and I’ve yet to encounter any of them since the chickenpox scare. Since I rarely see them, I likely will just kiss them and be done with it, which will be easier than explaining it all.

But I am enjoying my new, kiss-liberated life. I’m not a kissy person anyway. The only person hereabouts whom I want to kiss is my wife. Nobody else.

So this is working out fine.

If you see me, do not expect a kiss. But I will shake your hand.

If you don’t have chickenpox.

14 thoughts on “No more kissing: an update

  1. Maybe they had been doing it just to be polite, and are relieved to not have to kiss your ugly mug ever again? Ever think of that?


  2. Wow! You are a crusader trying to change Mexican culture one blown kiss at a time. How very courageous of you. The next thing to change is replacing handshakes and high fives with fist bumps. Much more sanitary.


    1. Brent: One blown kiss? If only. They normally do not blow them. It’s direct facial contact in one way or another.

      Fist bumps? I’ve never done a fist bump. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Were you here, I’d give you a fist bump right now. It would be fun.


      1. Fist bumps are all the rage now among the hipsters. It’s a good thing. I was never any good at high fives. My wife is half Swiss and over there they have this bizarre custom to touch cheek to cheek three times. I can never remember whether you start on the left or right first.
        So I’m sending you a virtual fist bump. Never too old to be hip.


  3. I will be happy to greet you the next time we meet with a wan smile. No handshake. No bump. No high five. I have never understood the utility of such meaningless social gestures.


    1. Señor Cotton: The handshake serves a useful purpose. Those variations are just that, variations, usually from the young.

      I’ll take a wan smile from you, something I wager I’m far better at than you are.


  4. I’m in for smiles. They can be hard to come by from some folks.

    In the situations you describe, the kisses seem a little without meaning except maybe for tradition.

    Carry on, sir!


    1. Ricardo: The endless smooching here is often without meaning and done for tradition. Probably more often than not. And if one of the people is sitting and the other is standing, it’s even more of an inconvenience than usual. Enough already!


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