Itchy Feet on How Many Kisses

One for a small child, or in Brittany.

The Itchy Feet comic tells stories of language, culture, and travel from around the world.  I usually can’t say much about the accuracy of the culture and travel stuff, but the language stuff is right on—the author has clearly had some education in linguistics.

For more about la bise:

Want to participate in a survey on how many kisses one gives to faire la bise (give the French cheek-kiss) in different parts of France, or just look up the survey results for your part of that beautiful country?  Go to  Click on a region to give your data, or mouse-over to see its survey results thus far.

Incidentally: my family is originally from Brittany, but we’ve been Parisian for a long time; we do the usual Ile-de-France two.



4 thoughts on “Itchy Feet on How Many Kisses”

  1. Honestly I never bothered nor clearly remember if there is a sort of regional number, i’ve been in many regions of France, always enough to make pals with whom spending days and nights for a short time, and I can’t remember their numbers of bises . It’s because i don’t care : I decided once for all that the conscious and meaningful number is two, no interest for automatic local rituals with no feeling .

    Two is a good number, you can mean what you’re doing, and transmit it, as much as you feel like it .One bise only is for lovers, or close tenderness, and 3,4,5 …what does that mean ? With two bises you keep off the intimacy distance and you can express as many feelings as the other person inspires you, because you have a second ball .
    It’s true i vaguely remember some evenings when every new girl was expecting more, saying “Here it is 3,4…”. So I made the missing part, lightly showing we looked a bit ridiculous, and after that I have no later in the evening memory of the “bise problem” . But with receptive charming girls I managed to transmit something with both kisses .
    With guys it is different . In France, guys exchanging “la bise” was a Hippies specificity in the 60s/70s, people living in “communautés” or off the margins of the system, well you know . From the 80s this became a trend used by more and more sorts of blokes so now I only greet with la bise guys who remember what it means .

    PS for Anglo-Saxons : When you get used to it, la bise is just a social daily way of greeting people, no idea of intimacy nor even of a physical contact . it is the idea who creates what is experienced, the intention makes what is lived by us . In France la bise is like a shake-hand – and you don’t shake everybody’s hand just like you don’t “faire la bise” to everybody . Of course, hugging ( which is VERY physical) is for close love of for exceptionally great moments .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. re: hugs. In the states there’s two kinds of hugs. Pretend hugs and real, physical hugs. Often greeting a woman involves a hug. If she’s nearly a stranger, it’s a pretend hug where only the shoulders touch. So much so that on a recent trip to Scotland, I found myself shocked to be reminded of a woman’s anatomy. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The American midwest can be so prudish… I really enjoyed Scotland and need to visit my German cousins soon. Not just to see them,but the other cultures.

    Liked by 2 people

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