After more than 18 months of life in Dubai, there are still plenty of things that confuse me. I don't know all the etiquette ins and outs. Often I feel like I'm probably making some large faux pas (and I probably am), but I do try my best.
One thing that always confuses me is the greeting. In Australia, I'd always give a friend (male or female) a peck on the cheek, perhaps even a hug if they're a good friend and I haven't seen them for a while. Here I never know what's acceptable, especially in public. Is it even legal to give an acquaintance a peck on the check when you run into them at the mall? In most cases, I let the other person lead, see where they're going.
But, it's not that simple. You see, where I'm from the standard greeting is a single peck on the cheek with perhaps a pat on the shoulder. Not so for the rest of the world. You see there is the European double kiss and, to be truthful, I find this a little off-putting. I'm sort of used to it now, but when I first arrived I had a nasty kissing incident. I greeted the friend with a single kiss went to pull out when they went in for the second kiss. In the movement, they managed to whack their chin into the corner of my eye quite hard (I thought I'd end up with a bruise). Eyes watering, feeling quite embarrassed, we stood there for a moment and quickly moved away. Now it's even more confusing with this person as I'm conscious to do the double kiss and they're conscious about doing the single peck.
And if that isn't confusing enough, I've noticed a rise in the triple kiss. Yes, that's right, the triple kiss. A kiss on each cheek and then a final kiss on the original cheek. Talk about confusing. I noticed I left someone hanging on the third kiss recently, at least neither of us ended up with a physical injury. I just can't go the triple kiss. I have to make a stand somewhere.
So greeting someone at a party can be fraught. Are we supposed to kiss, are we even allowed to shake hands? The kiss arrives and will it be a single, double or a triple? Then there's the friend who wants to drop the kiss altogether and just hug. Then there are those who want to handshake but only want to shake the tips of your fingers.
I'm starting to learn which nationalities like to do what, but then they'll always be the rogue Aussie who's been away for too long who has embraced the double kiss.
Perhaps it's best just to employ the Crocodile Dundee "G'day" with a tip of the head that Skip favours. It would make life a whole lot simpler.
Have you ever had a greeting injury?