My name is Casey and I am a hugger. I was raised in the South and I come from a long line of huggers.
Much to my dismay, however, as a student in Paris, I quickly discovered that hugs just don’t have any significant place in French society. For the longest time, I mourned the loss of this little gesture that had always been so central to communicating my affection. And, if I’m being totally honest here, I have to admit that even after living in France for almost a decade, I still find myself secretly craving hugs.
The French, you see, just don’t do hugs. The French are all about le bisous.
While handshakes do, indeed, have a place in more formal interactions, le bisous reigns supreme when it comes to greeting others in France.
And, I must say that as odd as it once felt, I have become accustomed to bisous-ing a wide array of people.
I bisous the neighbors …
I bisous my husband’s colleagues …
I bisous my mother-in-law’s topless friend on the beach …
Heck, I even bisous my American friends here in France!
I could write an entire series on the unwritten rules of les bises, any maybe I will one day, but today I want to grapple with a problem I’ve struggled with since the first time I slept over at my in-laws house: bisous and morning breath.