Column: Kisses on the cheek abound for in-betweeners

I seem to run into someone I know everywhere I go. Whether it’s on campus, in Georgetown, at Fresh Fields, at Smith & Wollensky’s Grill or on the Metro, I find myself in awkward situations at least three times a day. These uncomfortable scenes occur when I see that particular person I’ve met once or twice, maybe when drunk, and cannot remember his or her name for the life of me.

The question is: How do you greet someone you are not close to, yet social obligation seems to hold some magnetic draw of necessity?

Here’s my answer, although I’m open to new suggestions: When I see a friend, I hug that friend. When I see an enemy, I throw a dirty look and keep walking. Now for the controversy. When I see an “in-betweener,” I usually look down, preoccupy myself with another activity and pretend as though I don’t notice. It’s the wrong thing to do, yet it is the easy thing to do.

I decided that a bit of research was in order to decipher what others do in times when one is ill at ease during an impromptu rendezvous. What I have found out is how one says hello exudes as much style as their Saturday night outfits.

Some merely give a small wave. Some add a quiet “hi,” “hey” or “hello.” Women usually use this response. Macho guys typically shout a “yo” from afar. Upon actual contact, a pound is often used. It is a bit macho and definitely trendy for our generation. The details of this form of greeting interest me the most. I first witnessed the pound at a young age watching a rap video. This maneuver involves two participants standing at arm’s length and facing each other. The goal is for both fists to meet somewhere in the middle of the two bodies with the largest set of knuckles and the next furthest set on the hand touching. Some follow with no words. Some use a greeting, even a head nod would be appropriate. The key is a light tap, far from resembling a much more forceful punch. There are many ways to modify the pound in terms of intensity, strength, time and sincerity. It can convey respect, friendship, compassion and even truce.

The next form of greeting is the overused kiss on the cheek. Everyone at GW seems to love this method. It is doubtlessly the feminine version of the pound. It is trendy and belongs to a cultural hierarchy. Originating in European culture, the kiss on the cheek is apparently very fashionable these days. I admit that I cannot avoid it and am often puzzled by it.

Occasionally, it happens that I run into those in-betweeners face to face. More often than not in those situations I get the kiss on the cheek. Why? These people are not my friends but are ostensibly friendly.

There was a point in time when the handshake was an appropriate greeting, but now it is clumsier than anything else. The kiss on the cheek, like the pound, has its own modifications. The most popular here at GW is the one-sided kiss. The only problem I have with this form of greeting is when both people misjudge each other they go to the same side for a little something extra. The spontaneous, near miss of lips makes the awkward kiss on the cheek even more awkward.

In the end, whether a greeting is awkward or not, uncomfortable or not, a kiss or not, greeting is style. If it fits, wear it!
-The writer is a sophomore majoring in English.

The question is: How do you greet someone you are not close to, yet social obligation seems to hold some magnetic draw of necessity?

Here’s my answer, although I’m open to new suggestions: When I see a friend, I hug that friend. When I see an enemy, I throw a dirty look and keep walking. Now for the controversy. When I see an “in-betweener,” I usually look down, preoccupy myself with another activity and pretend as though I don’t notice. It’s the wrong thing to do, yet it is the easy thing to do.

I decided that a bit of research was in order to decipher what others do in times when one is ill at ease during an impromptu rendezvous. What I have found out is how one says hello exudes as much style as their Saturday night outfits.

Some merely give a small wave. Some add a quiet “hi,” “hey” or “hello.” Women usually use this response. Macho guys typically shout a “yo” from afar. Upon actual contact, a pound is often used. It is a bit macho and definitely trendy for our generation. The details of this form of greeting interest me the most. I first witnessed the pound at a young age watching a rap video. This maneuver involves two participants standing at arm’s length and facing each other. The goal is for both fists to meet somewhere in the middle of the two bodies with the largest set of knuckles and the next furthest set on the hand touching. Some follow with no words. Some use a greeting, even a head nod would be appropriate. The key is a light tap, far from resembling a much more forceful punch. There are many ways to modify the pound in terms of intensity, strength, time and sincerity. It can convey respect, friendship, compassion and even truce.

The next form of greeting is the overused kiss on the cheek. Everyone at GW seems to love this method. It is doubtlessly the feminine version of the pound. It is trendy and belongs to a cultural hierarchy. Originating in European culture, the kiss on the cheek is apparently very fashionable these days. I admit that I cannot avoid it and am often puzzled by it.

Occasionally, it happens that I run into those in-betweeners face to face. More often than not in those situations I get the kiss on the cheek. Why? These people are not my friends but are ostensibly friendly.

There was a point in time when the handshake was an appropriate greeting, but now it is clumsier than anything else. The kiss on the cheek, like the pound, has its own modifications. The most popular here at GW is the one-sided kiss. The only problem I have with this form of greeting is when both people misjudge each other they go to the same side for a little something extra. The spontaneous, near miss of lips makes the awkward kiss on the cheek even more awkward.

In the end, whether a greeting is awkward or not, uncomfortable or not, a kiss or not, greeting is style. If it fits, wear it!
-The writer is a sophomore majoring in English.

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