Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

come 'er and give me a kiss.

I have never been one of those people who cheek kisses their friends. Hell, I don't even give my father or brothers full hugs but apt for a side hug, one arm around each other and done very quickly. However, the kissing on the cheek thing wasn't just because I am uncorfrotable with the human touch.

The real reason I never got into cheek kissing wasn't the human contact factor it was that it was too...hmmm... how do I put this nicely.... I guess there isn't a nice way to say it... It was too European.
ugh... was that too rude to say?

And what red blooded American wants to be European? I'll tell yeah it's the kind that think their too good for America. Well, I'm not too good for America so I spent years avoiding any kind of cheek kissing action.

Americans aren't totally against the cheek kiss. I have seen people give each other ONE kiss on ONE cheek. That is even acceptable to me. When it starts to be unacceptable is when both cheeks have a bit of slobber on them. That seems so european(okay I should just admit it now... European should really read French... and I like most Americans don't actually know anything about French culture or life styles or the people themselves but choose to dislike it for S(hits)&G(iggles).

The Netherlands is slowly breaking me of my anti-cheek kissing lifestyle. I guess the best way to break a phobia is to dive right into that phobia and you couldn't find a better place to break a fear of cheek kissing than in The Netherlands. The Dutch have decided to not just be european when greeting friends... they want to be super European. They have a cheek kissing habit of left-right-left.
One extra kiss for no reason! Seriously there is no reason for it, I have asked around.

I have become very skilled in the art of avoiding the left-right-left hellos by giving a hearty hand shake when I see people I know. The Dutch hand shakes are generally weak and just a couple of half hearted wabbles of the hand. However, to keep people from trying to come in and lay one on my cheeks I quickly do an old cowboy, hearty, trying to show who is stronger, look them in the eye kind of handshake. If necessary I will even even hold there hand with both of mine to try and keep them at bay.

Suprisingly it is weak old ladies who can break through my hand shake. Even when I try to stand sideways, bend forward ever so slightly, and extend my hand as far is it will go they still get me. They will except the hand shake wait till I'm done pumping them up and then pull me in for a lil 1-2-3.

So, warning if you don't like being too europeany or have a fear of the human touch the netherlands is not for you. Stay in America. We are reportedly the most anti-hugging society in the world.... Just the way it should be.
God Bless America.