Sunday, February 06, 2005

Besame Mucho

Here's a custom that I quite like in Mexican culture: When friends meet up or say goodbye, they often do so with a friendly kiss on the cheek (if the friends are woman-woman or woman-man, that is - two men might greet with some hearty back-slapping, but never a kiss). In the tradition of my homeland of Tucson, we generally avoid physical contact - or much of any affectionate behavior, for that matter.

So for me, it's quite nice to see people being affectionate in a friendly way like that. But while I've done pretty well at getting over my own awkwardness at giving women friends a peck on the cheek, one place that I just can't get comfortable doing so is at work. I see the other young people in my workplace doing so and so I'm quite sure that it's an acceptable practice, but after so many years working in the U.S. where if I had ever tried to kiss the cheek of a female co-worker I likely would have been brought up on sexual harassment charges and fired in an instant, I just can't get with it. I sure hope I don't come across as cold or aloof, but there's only so much trained uptightendness I can overcome, I'm afraid.

Can you imagine if we had such a friendly method of greeting people?

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