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L'art de la bise

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Uploaded on Nov 6, 2007

French short movie explaining how to kiss properly.

English translation:

In French, we say " as simple as a hello" to describe something easy.
But saying hello in France is not that easy at all. Especially for a foreigner!
Because the French do not simply say "hi" or shake hands: they kiss!
And kissing is an art in itself.
Those who haven't learned it in their childhood like most French kids -
"Come on, give a kiss to auntie Géraldine!" - are often feeling uneasy.
The uncomfortable foreigner try to lean forward with his lips pushed forward and his arms hanging limply by his side not daring to touch the other, not knowing by which side he should start not knowing if he's actually supposed to touch the other with the lips or just kiss the air.
Don't laugh !
The poor German exchange students know perfectly well this embarrassement when they have to meet their host families and when suddenly, everybody is trying to kiss them.
To kiss, 4 questions have to be answered: When? Who? How? How many?
When :
When you meet a friend for your spare time sometimes in the morning at work
and always when we're visiting friends.
Of course, the quantity of kissing is proportionate to the amount of friends. If there are already 15 persons at the party, you would starve before getting access to the buffet. Those who are used to waving their hands to say hello may find it a bit tiresome...
Who? :
You need to consider your family links, the level of friendship, the working relationship, the age and the social status.
For instance, you can't kiss your boss. Or rather, you have to wait and see if he's going to kiss you. But you can kiss you colleagues all you want.
Men do not always kiss. They might kiss if they're friends or relatives. But not always.
Young people kiss very often.
How? :
Kissing creates an immediate sense of intimacy. As a behaviour, it's similar to animal sniffing, but it is also a good way to start flirting with someone. Thus the intensity, the lenght and the conviction put into the kiss vary.
You just have to follow your feelings. If you don't really know the person, it is however better to be cautious.
How many? :
The number of kisses is indeed a problem.
People from Paris kiss twice, people from the South and the West of France kiss three times. And in some regions people even kiss four times.
It can be very unsettling to kiss someone if you don't know where the person is coming from, as it is very unpleasant to reach for a thirs kiss when the person is already turning away, or to stop after two kisses when the other wants to give you four.
Even the French do not really know how many kisses they are supposed to give.
People from the same city may not agree on the amount of kisses you have to give.
Why are the French uncertain?
Because you also need to take into account the social status. In France, the distinction between the social classes is still important. In a nutshell, working class people tend to kiss more than middle and upper middle class.
All those elements make it difficult for foreign people to understand the kissing process.
A good idea would be to publish a French map of the kiss that would give the number of kisses according to the place and the social status. Such a map would not only be useful for the tourists, but also for the French people!

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