11 June 2014
The Hug Culture
I'll admit this up front, My family is Irish . From Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas.
Sort of. I also have sisters in law from France, Chile and Brazil. And my girlfriend is Irish/Lebanese.
We Irish are a stolid type unless we've been drinking. And as Frank J has pointed out, the word Irish means “contains Alcohol”. So that's covered, at least from my POV, 'cause I'm not about to go into a big family get-together sober.
The Americanos del sur are hug plus chaste kiss on the cheek, look of amazement of how wonderful she looks, a kiss on the other cheek, and a SHOUT of “caio bella”. The French gets a grip of the hand, a look of astonishment, a raising of the hand to the lips, and a repeat of the continental kiss on both sides.
Now this is made easy by the fact that most everyone at the table speaks (or at least understands) English/Spanish/Portuguese/French.
In Russian-where it gets fun (um, the fam can follow all of those) is when we get a GF from one bro in Russian/Hungary/whatever..
I have a vocabulary of about 20 words in Polish (Beer. Restroom. Food) and even smaller in
Russian (tov yab mat) no I won't. Google it. I never pretended to be a good girl here, did I? I never even pretended to be a girl.
Getting back to the point: MittleEuropisch is odd. Hand will be extended, but at arm's length. Gentleman's hand rises to meet, carries to a very goddamn chaste pressing of the lips, by bowing over the hand. Yeah, like the old movies. The thing is that this expression reminds them of what dickwads their boyfriends in the old country are, and make them wish that they were in the old World, like their Grandmothers.