Given the current pandemic climate and the use of social distancing, even this social gesture is now prohibited. It just goes to show that you don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.
Bear in mind this post was written in 2011.
This poem was written about this habit we have aquired of air kissing when greeting people. It may well be healthier and less germ ridden than hand shaking (here’s the social etiquette for those who aren’t sure)
Liz Brewer, a social etiquette expert on ITV’s Ladette to Lady, says a single air kiss next to a friend’s cheek was the most acceptable for the British: “It is important to go for the right cheek, as that way you are greeting each other heart to heart… If you go for the other cheek it is less friendly.”
She says the air kiss is best for people you don’t know well as there’s no contact – but for the very confident there is the two-cheek option.
It is only the sometimes false sentiment behind the air kissing that I have a problem with – and this is what originally inspired this poem. (December 2020)
Kissing the Air
Complacency props up this world
As effortlessly it sighs.
Disguised concern yawns unfurled
Underneath the lies.
Life’s an overstuffed easy chair,
An affectation beyond compare,
A big pretend of love and care –
Kissing the air.
Sophistication puffs us up
And fills our sails with wind.
Our stiff yet honest awkwardness
Flies loosened and unpinned.
Mouthing platitudes we don’t share,
Twisting our smiles whilst feeling despair,
Blinded by duplicitous glare –
Kissing the air.
One cheek or two? we start to fret
As we approach our prey.
Caught in this mindless etiquette
In which we have to play.
Meaningless words which go nowhere,
Playing our game of solitaire,
United by the guilt we share –
Kissing the air!
©L M Roberts 2011
Rene Magritte images Here