I love hugs. This is one of the little things that I missed when living abroad. In France, I never really got used to giving a kiss on each cheek in greeting or farewell. For one thing, I wasn’t always sure how many to give. In most places, it is two kisses, but I have been kissed three or even four times depending on the region. Some people just touch cheeks together while others give loud, moist kisses. « You don’t give kisses on the cheek right, » I was told by a friend in Burgundy. « You have to make more noise. Don’t just touch cheeks. Give a real kiss, with real noise.» In France, the kiss is apparently an art. Once, we spent New Year’s Eve with friends at a ski lodge and when the clock struck midnight, I had not only to kiss all of our friends, but all of the other people staying at the lodge. That was well over 50 kisses! After so many kisses, all I wanted to do was retreat to the bathroom to wash my face.
I will stick with the hug, this gesture of human warmth. Hugs are great because they are so multipurpose. A hug can mean nice to see you, I’m there for you, congratulations, this is so exciting, see you soon and just about anything else. It is amazing how much can be conveyed with a mere clasping of arms. Now that I am back in a country of hugs, I really appreciate this friendly gesture. I am a fan of the hug.