After seeing the actor Omari Hardwick awkwardly kissing Beyonce twice on the cheek at the NACCP Image Award, it got me thinking, why are we doing this? You don’t know me and you may never see me again, but here are my hot wet lips lurching towards your cheek and not just one cheek, probably both.
I remember being a child and on meeting an adult, he missed my cheek and kissed me so hard on the ear I went deaf for an hour. It was terrifying.
I was once in a client meeting and as I put out my hand for a shake, she moved towards me for a kiss and I essentially ended up punching her in the stomach with my fist. Another time I met someone I admire and have a lot of respect for (they didn’t know me) and I decided that they definitely needed two kisses and so when I nervously leant in for the second one he turned away and I almost fell over. You are basically using their cheeks to hold you up and when they’re not there you are plunging into the abyss.
The timings of the meet and greet are confusing too. You can end up grabbing the wrong thing. I once grabbed someone’s arm as I went in for a shake too quickly as they hadn’t lifted their hand yet.
I have found myself many times in the wrestling position. This is where both of you are leaning towards the same cheeks back and forth until you eventually give up and awkwardly laugh it off. The worst encounter of all is when the embrace is too close and their head moves slightly and you kiss the side of their mouth.
When I meet people and they say, ‘Oh I won’t hug you I have a cold’, I think to myself thank fuck! Sometimes I pretend I have a cold when meeting people.
Why are we getting so close on a first encounter? Surely there should be some time to build trust, mutual respect and figure out if their breath smells before we start kissing and hugging? I want people to earn my hug/kiss and vice versa. If I like you, I will hug you as much as you like but not before.
It’s difficult to find a happy medium with the meet and greet too. Most people do it as if on autopilot, there is no meaning or compassion behind it. It is a duty. Hold the shoulders and kiss, kiss. Then there are the people who literally want to inhale you. I had a bloke embrace me tightly for a minute once, as my arms hung limply by my sides. I had to tap his arm to escape. Worse than all this is the limp handshake. It’s just creepy. Like you’re waking up a dead person.
Sometimes there’s no avoiding it either, some people absolutely love the kissing. There has been many a time on meeting people when I have stuck out my arm with force to be shaken and they have still run towards me with open arms as I edge backwards. What do I need to do, run away?
I am sure there are lots of people out there who hate the meet and greet as much as I do, but a lot of us end up doing it out of politeness and we don’t want to upset people or seem rude. In an ideal world, we would meet people with a firm handshake and then this can develop into an embrace, over time, once you get to know the person