Kissing and how to offend a Chilean woman

Written by Jesse

Topics: Adventures, Chile

Here in Chile, men and women kiss good-bye. Really you touch your right cheeks and blow a kiss at the right ear. There is no embrace and leaning in like this can place you off balance. I often find myself using my right hand to balance by placing it on the woman´s left shoulder. That is the technical stuff.

On Friday I had my first day of teaching at a high school for three hours. The second hour and a half class has six students, half men half woman and all either 17 or 18 years old. As the class let out, I shook hands with the first two student who are men. The third student was a woman. Being very American and very conscience of contact between females and males, I held out my hand. The look I got was something similar to trying to hand her a dead fish. This is not done in all classes, but in these more intimate classes it is the norm.

I can only imagine this scene in the US. Faculty and coworkers of the opposite sex kiss hello and good-bye on all settings. The female and male faculty frequently kiss and sometimes hug students of the opposite sex. This is all done very respectfully. I hope the images of this post cause some peoples head to explode thinking about there sweet child receiving genuine but respectful affection from someone in authority.

While writing this, I had this thought, I wonder how hard it would be to have a school shooting where students are looked in the eye and receive a hug and a peck on the cheek by teachers and friends.

In a separate incident, the very next day I got called on the rug about this with a woman friend who I had failed to give the kiss to when saying good-bye the day before. She informed me that indeed this is very offensive. And yes, you kiss even on first meeting someone.

4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. solange foix says:

    Well we kiss alot, I am Chilean ofcourse and I miss nice warm kisses, with love and good intencion…
    Big kiss for you Jesse :)

  2. Ian says:

    I have been reading your posts. It is very interesting to read about your various encounters. Please take some pictures of the towns or people :)

  3. Sheryl says:

    Ha, this made me laugh out loud. It’s so confusing when to kiss or not kiss. I think I’ve offended quite a lot of people by not kissing them. But, just when I think I know when to kiss, the next person will just shake my hand.

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