I like to think of myself as someone who has fairly good manners.
I chew with my mouth closed; I will pour other people wine first before finishing the bottle, I always say please and thank you and if I walk into a building and someone is behind me I will hold the door for them. But like with most things, good manners are not always straightforward.
For example, what are the rules when it comes to holding the door?
- How far away does the person behind you have to be for you to hold the door for them?
- Is that distance variable depending on the weather? Surely, it should shrink when it’s too cold or too hot?
- What are the expectations on the person for whom you are holding the door? Presumably they should pick up their pace right?
- If they don’t and they are taking too long is it OK if you let go of the door and go in? But, by then that person is even closer so only an a$$** would let go of the door!?
- Speaking of the person for whom the door is held, what if they want to take a slow stroll on their way to the building? Or their shoes are uncomfortable and can’t walk any faster? It doesn’t matter because there is the expectation that they have to pick up the pace otherwise they are being rude.
Another thing I struggle with is greeting people. I’m Greek. So where I come from we kiss people on both cheeks for hello and good-bye. But now I live in America. Here people hug. Which is fine. If I see an American I am happy to hug them. The struggle is (…too much?) when I see other Europeans who now live in America. I expect them to kiss… so I go in for a kiss but some appear to be so acclimated that they go for a hug. Everything happens so fast that as they are going for the hug, I am going for a kiss and in the end they hug me while I end up kissing their neck…
I have kissed many necks that way, by accident, because I’m Greek, because I find it hard to let go of my Greek ways. So to all those people whose necks I have kissed I want to say: I didn’t mean anything by it… I was just being polite.
So I wonder, will kissing each-other’s neck become the new way to greet people in the future? If it does, I am here to tell you that it’s one of those things that started by accident, possibly because of clumsiness.
Just like I imagine pop-corn was discovered.