Kisses and hugs in South Africa.
Ha, I know that now you expect me to tell you some juicy details about my personal life. I’m afraid it’s not going to happen; this post is about South Africans being all touchy-feely. Their touchy-feelingness/touchy-feelingity/touchy-feelingdom was a surprise when I first came to the country. In Poland we don’t hug, we kiss the air next to someone’s chick as a greeting and that’s what we do with people we know fairly well and with family which tends to kiss us abundantly, especially during family reunions. Polish people are not particularly warm, if you’re too affectionate in public you’ll for sure get scolded by some older lady. Maybe the lack of affection is to be blamed for the national pessimism. The dialogue
– How are you?
– I’m fine, thanks. And you?
rarely happens. In Poland as a reply we say: I’m okay BUT and then the list of complaints about life follows. My favorite reply is the one my grandma always gives: I’ve been okay so far. So far so good but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to die tomorrow so let’s worry about it just in case it actually happens. Smily and touchy-feely South Africa is culturally different but suits me better. Nevertheless, in the beginning it felt awkward to be so warm towards people. When someone tried to hug me I was like “Why are you doing this?” but still followed the social convention and would hug them back. I’ve always done the akward pat on the back, though. Now I only do it when I feel slightly uncomfortable and I sometimes do as a hug is a pretty intimate form of greeting, whether we like it or not. As much as I got used to hugging, I can’t get used to kisses (xxxxxx) in text messages. Between females they’re far too common. They’re so common that I feel that I’m a bad friend because I don’t use them. Even my students send me these, very often just after the word “regards” and this dissonance in language register makes me confused. With guys it’s even worse because for some guys they do mean something and for others they don’t so you never know whether an “x” omission/ insertion won’t give them a wrong ides. That’s about it for today. Sending you lots of hugs and you better be here to read my new post next Wednesday. xxxxxxxx