While growing up in Australia, it was perfectly accepted to greet a friend of the opposite sex with a not-too-firm handshake. I guess you could say things are a little different here in Brazil when I'm currently living.
When meeting someone from the opposite sex, you have to guess whether it's going to be one, two or three greeting kisses. A lot of the time, it comes down to guess work.
Sometimes someone is left hanging.
I've seen people butt heads.
I've butted heads.
Once I didn't get a hover kiss.
After doing the math, I can once remember stressing out the moment I realised I was to be the last on a long list of men who would be planting a juicy one on the new party guest. I probably had nowhere to run.
For work, I once travelled down to Argentina and quickly gathered that it's a custom for the local men to give each other a greeting kiss as well. I've got no moral problem with this, but I just find it could makes things weird. Could you imagine having to give Daryl from IT a daily kiss at the coffee machine? Or in the elevator. I think it could cause strikes.
Anyway, after I finished up my work and prepared to leave, I went to say goodbye to the General Manager and.... I crossed new boundaries. I went in for the handshake and he planted a peck on my cheek. Although my blood pressure spiked, I followed it up with a blokey sounding "ADIOS", as I left to get my bus.
A few months later, I returned for another visit and spent a good lot of the trip thinking about the goodbye (ritual). Come to think of it, I spent far too time. But when the time came, I followed my Mum's advice and was calm, cool and collected.
This time, I went for the full hug and left hand cheek kiss combo. And there was none of that hovering rubbish - that's for girls!