So I had this dream. It took place about 15 years in the future and I was talking to my four year old grandchild, a sweet little girl.
“Do you know sweetheart, back when your Mamma was little, we didn’t need to wear masks when we went out?”
“Really grandma? That’s weird…so you showed people your mouth and nose?”
“Well, it was perfectly normal back then. There were things called crowds too, with people who stood close together, even if they didn’t know each other! Oh, and I used to have nice nails that I would paint with something called nailpolish. And everyone used to kiss each other on the cheeks to say Bonjour and bye-bye. Back then we didn’t even wash our hands that often. Not like now, you know, every hour…”
“That’s yucky grandma! So you must have been carrying lots of germs and viruses!”
“Well we didnt have to worry so much back then. Those were the good ol’ days.”
I don’t remember the rest of the dream. But I remember the feeling of nostalgia I had for the days before 2020, when kissing was required and wearing a mask was for surgeons, or for a costume at Halloween.
I was up late a couple of nights ago and watched a movie from the 90s called Meet Joe Black, starring a young Brad Pitt. The movie takes place in New York, where rich family members kiss each other on the lips (a light peck) when saying good night. It startled me. I couldn’t imagine seeing people do that here, people kiss each other on the cheeks but never on the lips unless they are that person’s partner. So obviously this was a cultural thing. Then an old memory came back to me. When I was little both my parents kissed us kids on the lips good night. I don’t remember when that stopped but that was our family greeting too. I just forgot about it as it had been so many years of not doing so and adapting to the French culture.
I can’t help but think that as a direct result of the 2020 Pandemic, there may well be changes to the tradition of kissing as a greeting, around the world. Maybe la bise will become a thing of the past in France. And for the future, kissing will be something only couples do, after clearing a health test! What a dark premonition. Sorry. I’ll follow up with something positive next, promise.
From Conde Nast, a guide to kissing etiquette around the world (before 2020) https://www.cntraveler.com/story/a-guide-to-kissing-etiquette-around-the-world