Tuesday, September 4, 2012

K-I-S-S-I-N-G... at the office

Say what?
That's right. My coworkers kiss good morning at the office.

This has my sister very stressed. I'm pretty sure my brother-in-law is also concerned. My niece and nephew can't help but giggle in the background as they eavesdrop on our phone conversations on the topic.

It's common knowledge that the French do the two kisses, one on each cheek, in greeting (faire la bise). But sometimes it's a fine line at work. Can I get by with a handshake or do you people really expect me to go in for a kiss?

In a professional setting, meeting clients for the first time involves handshaking. However, female employees are expected to do the bise with both male and female coworkers. The guys can just shake hands. Apparently men only do the bise amongst themselves if they're very, very close friends or family, must be nice.

I work in a small office, which means I have about 6 people to greet every day. That still adds up to 12 kisses before 9 am, which is usually more than this little American can handle. I can actually hear smoochy noises coming from the break room between 8 and 9. I'm sure there's an algebraic equation to work this out, but I'm guessing we're looking at 42 kisses every morning for the entire office. That's a lot of bisous, folks!

So for those of you who are back to work after the Labor Day weekend, I hope you're reveling in a bise-free workplace!



  1. Ann! So glad to see a post and this definitely makes me giggle. Hope all is well! *bises* ;)

  2. I'm French, returning to France after 30 years living overseas and I'm now working for a short while in Toulouse before heading back overseas (home!). I also find this handshaking/kissing business hard work!! And Im a native!!! your post made me smile...


    ps: the other hard thing is using the French keyboard!!! grrrr....

  3. I'll be expecting a kiss the next time I see you. And it better be good considering all your practice!