Sunday, March 23, 2008

Romania For Rookies - Part 1

Bucharest

Kiss. Kiss. Hi. Hi.

Romania is a kiss-kiss country.

There are some countries that are only a kiss. And some that are a kiss-kiss-kiss. But Romania is definitely a kiss-kiss. Get it wrong and they will know immediately that you are either a total social misfit, or a new expat. You should know this for when you come here.

It’s the everyday greeting form that may be startling if you’re a Brit or exotic if you’re an Ami. You’re forgiven if you’re a foreigner. But com'on, you can only ride that excuse for so long before you're expected to get it right. And there is a very specific protocol.

Start with a regulation handshake and then, feet firmly planted, move your upper body in. The handshake should already have brought you into accurate bussing range. Later, often, after you get the hang of it, you can skip the shake and move directly to the smackeroo.

To avoid the embarrassment of headturn-headturn, bang-bang, oopsie-nose-wrestle, always start your first kiss to the right as you face the kissee. (That would make it their left, but that’s too confusing for a Rookie. Think right. Be right.) Then immediately and simultaneously with your target, move your face to your left for puckerup number two.

Hollywood air kisses are acceptable. Deep, noisy smoochie kisses are not. Pecking is perfect. Casual lip to cheek contact for old friends. Nancy Reagan at a Gala for brand new acquaintances.

Simple.

Do it again when you leave.

Saving expats everywhere from social pariahdom. If I don’t tell you these things, who will?

1 comment:

Katie B said...

I could swear I saw George W. Bush do a kiss-kiss-kiss to Basescu's wife on the first night of the NATO summit. I was watching Antena 3 online. Maybe he should just stick with the handshake.