Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kissing in Brazil- Part Two

The couple who inspired this blog!

I’m in Starbucks right now, where about fifteen minutes ago I sat down with a frappuccino, a chocolate muffin and a book (I know what you’re thinking and you’re right....I’m bloody hardcore!). I came here to chill out for an hour or so, and I’m quite pleased I've managed to get one of the comfortable sofa-type chairs, instead of one of them wooden ones that hurt your ass after about twenty minutes. Opposite me is a sofa, where a couple have been sat with their drinks for about ten minutes (the ones in the picture on the left! I felt like a bit of a perve taking this picture, but I have a new with a camera on it! Wheeeeeeeeeeey! So they never noticed! Mwaaaaaaa haaaaaaa haaaaaaa!). I've been sat looking at these drinks, wondering when the hell they are going to drink them. You see, this couple have been sat kissing each other REALLY loudly for a good ten minutes, slurping away at each other’s faces and putting me right off my muffin (and my book!)! Whenever they come up for air, they tickle each other, cuddle each other and then go back to sliding their tongues in and out of each others mouth’s, like nobody is watching.

I know what you’re probably thinking, I sound like an old man! But this Brazilian kissing culture is still something I can’t really get my head around. Whenever I bring the subject up with my students they all laugh at me, “but Andrew, kissing is normal! What’s the big deal!?!” they ask. Well over in little old England, nobody really wants to see people deep kissing on the street, in shopping centres (and especially not in Starbucks when you’re trying to read Jordan's latest autobiography a great book!). As I mentioned in my first blog on kissing , over here it's something you see all the time. I see couples of all ages, full on kissing, all over the city. And when they are not snogging, they are pecking each other on the cheek as a way of greeting each other.

On more than one occasion now, after having my first class with a female student, as I say goodbye to them I've offered a handshake; only to have the student laugh, push it aside and then go in for a kiss on the cheek! Sensing how unnatural this is for me though, the next class they usually go along with the handshake. In formal situations whenever I go for the handshake with my female students, it makes me feel like I’m being a bit cold towards them, a bit clumsy…a little bit frigid! But I can’t stop myself! Kissing on the cheek is just a bit too familiar and a bit too informal for me!

Then this is where it gets a bit complicated! Last year I decided to just go for it and fully embrace the kissing culture. I had one student who would always come up, move her head to the right and wait for me to kiss her cheek before sitting down. However more often than not, she would pull a bit of a face afterwards and I’d see her a few minutes later trying to subtly rub her cheek in the place I’d kissed her. I won’t lie to you…this REALLY confused me. Why go in for a kiss in the first place if you don’t really want to be kissed!?!
"Hiya love! You alright!?!"

Well, after class one day I was having coffee with my Brazilian friend, and asked her about it. I wanted  to know just what I was doing wrong. “Do you think I should stop wetting my lips before I kiss then? I mean, do Brazilians usually kiss with slightly wet lips, or dry lips?” My question was sincere enough, but my friend cracked up laughing, looking like she might hyperventilate at any moment.

Moments like this are always a bit awkward, because you know someone is laughing AT you, HARD, but you never know why; you've just got to sit and wait for them to finish before finding out!

My friend then called another of her friends over, and explained to her in Portuguese what I’d just asked. Together they laughed at the idea of me slobbering over my student and me thinking that this was ok! My friend then explained that in Brazil you don’t actually kiss, it’s more of an air kiss (although in other Latin American countries, a real kiss on the cheek is actually alright, as long as it's not a slobbery one!). Kissing someone with wet lips probably won’t go down very well, because it’s kinda like giving someone a sweaty handshake. Then I realised, my poor student! She probably dreaded going in for a kiss each morning, not knowing if I going to plant a wet kiss on her cheek or not, but she felt she had to because it's something she did naturally with everyone else! 

I usually made an effort to wet my lips, because I always assumed it was only grannies who kissed with dry lips! 

So right now I’m playing it safe and giving theatrical air kisses whenever I think they are appropriate, trying not to be visibly awkward as I give them. 

Greeting women is a bit more complicated that I first thought…but evidently full on kisses in Starbucks with your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t!

I know I still have a lot to learn!


  1. Hello!

    I follow your blog quietly and discreetly, but this time I HAD to comment. Your narrative about the "Brazilian kissing culture" is very amusing... By the way, I'm brazilian, born and living in São Paulo, so it's curious to look at ourselves from another point of view. Do we really kiss that much? I had no idea...

    Anyway, I published a post on my blog about the post of your blog. Hope you like it.

    Kisses! ;)

  2. Hello! I'm really enjoying your blog. And had to comment this post.

    Indeed there's some kind of 'culture' on that kissing thing, but you see, many brazilians find it awkward too! Whenever I'm with my girlfriend at the mall, movie theater, Ibirapuera park or whatever, we sometimes come across some couple kissing like there's no tomorrow! And our reaction is the same of any reasonable person: GET A ROOM! Most of those kissing couples are teenagers or... 'strange' people. And I can tell that many people think that's horrible 'cause ALL of my friends and parents think so!


  3. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! I really thought I was the only one who found kissing awkward...but you never know maybe soon I will become desensitised to it all, and also start kissing everyone like there is no tomorrow!

  4. Hi Andrew, despite being Brazilian, I do not feel comfortable kissing people who do not know the closest way, and not all Brazilians greet each other with "fake" kiss! Some kissing! Sometimes very near to the mouth! uurg!
    See you, Leny

    1. Hey Leny, thanks for stopping by to comment. I am surprised to hear so many Brazilians who are saying the same about kissing through this blog, very interesting to know!