Besos: The Latin American Kissing Culture 😽
So I heard about the Latin American culture of kissing as a way of greeting, but for some reason, I still imagined it as an occurrence between people who knew each other well - friends, family, maybe even coworkers. After all, that has been my experience a bit in Europe, even in Russian culture…
But I got a kiss on the cheek as soon as I got to Buenos Aires… from my AirBNB host. Then my gym class instructors - you just walk in to class and are expected to kiss them - both men and women! My boxing class gym partner. My massage therapist. My beautician! I recently went to a meetup where some new people walking in would walk around in a circle and kiss everyone who was already there! The email pictured above translating to “Waiting for you! Kisses!” is a professional email from a beauty salon!
At first I would be super awkward. When an unexpected person I don’t know put out their cheek for kisses, I had to think about it and remember to be culturally appropriate! Some figure out that I’m American, so they don’t go in for a kiss after all and I don’t push for it. But after two months, I have gotten over my shock and am at least at a point where I am expecting it and know what to do.
Overall, I definitely like the idea of it. Why shouldn’t you kiss your massage therapist? And when the people in the meetup walked around and personally kissed everyone, it made for a super warm community atmosphere right away, cutting out on the awkwardness. I think the world would be a better place if everyone kissed each other as greeting, although it would be a lot to get used to for me and I’m sure a lot of the rest of the world!