Let's face it. The "Greeting Kiss" is here to stay.
It's completely platonic, and involves a simple peck on the cheek. The Greeting Kiss can be exchanged between women or between a man and a woman.
The Greeting Kiss is a handy substitute for the cold handshake when something more seems to be called for. It can be given to a relative or as a sign of friendship.
Take Dan and Louise. They've been great friends for me and my wife for years. Dan and I shake hands while Louise and I exchange a brief hug and a peck on the cheek. I call the Greeting Kiss "The Cheeky".
Saying hello to Aunt Lucy at a wedding? The Cheeky is the perfect way to show you care.
The other day I ran into Rita. Years ago we worked together. She is such a gem and she took such good care of me. A Cheeky was definitely in order. It felt right.
So we all know the Cheeky and we all do The Cheeky.
Enter the evil one, The Lippy.
The Lippy is the peck on the cheek that ends up being a peck on the lips. Right on the lips!
My wife's Grandma Nanna used to do that. I'll never forget that first horrifying experience.
Hi Nanna, I said. We moved closer for that first encounter half-hug to be followed by the expected Cheeky.
Everything went into slow motion. Her face grew larger in the lens of my eye like the close-up on the villain in a Hitchcock film.
And before I knew it, she was softly kissing me not on the cheek but on my lips! It was such a weird feeling.
I remember each disturbing detail, all the way down to the soft bristles of the mustache Nanna was working on.
The Lippy. It's just wrong I tell you.
My wife told me its just an old family custom and don't worry. I accepted that explanation and kind of buried the scary memory after Nanna died a few years ago.
But then my wife told me about a friend while we were at a party recently. Apparently Ed does the Lippy too. Nothing improper intended says my wife but Ed's family carries on the idea of the Lippy instead of the Cheeky.
So to the Ed's of the world and the families who prolong this strange tradition, I want you to know that no one appreciates it. We want you to know that it makes the rest of us uncomfortable.
Please stop. Long live The Cheeky. Stamp out The Lippy.
Especially The Lippy from Hairy lipped Octogenarians.