30 December 2008

Is it just me?

Today I got my first “mwah” and I hope it is my last, because I will do everything possible to avoid getting another one. If you do not know what a “mwah” is, let me explain. Maybe if I try and explain it I will gain a better understanding for myself.

A “mwah” is a new form of greeting to me. Suzi-k tells it is a cheek to cheek air kiss and is very “in” among the trendy circles. From what I understand it is like “shalaam”. Whether you are coming or going you say, “Shalaam.” Whether you are coming or going you do a “mwah.”

Depending on the circles you move in there are two kinds of “mwah”. The technique is essentially the same for both. There is the single “mwah” and then there is the double barreled “mwah.”

The technique is to go up to the intended “victim”, then with exaggerated haste and a big smile on your face and with flamboyant movements, place a hand on each of their shoulders and bring your head past the side of theirs (it does not matter which side) without touching and let off a loud “mwah” and then retreat. For the double barreled “mwah”, you do it on both sides.

I only got the single malt version today and I think I may have fluffed it and I am not going to go there. I am not too sure about when the double barreled one is used and don’t intend to find out. Personally I prefer the old fashioned handshake.

I am something of an unconventional guy - just a common or garden bush baby who has never followed the dictates of fashion or convention. So when something like this comes my way I want to run. I don’t think I can do a “mwah”.

I also don’t do the kissing thing, unless it is my wife.

Perhaps this goes back to teenage traumas. When I was about 16 years old we went to visit some Afrikaans relatives, some of whom I had not even met and I had my first experience of an Afrikaner custom, which I have never embraced.

It was the first time I had met Klein (small) Gert, my uncle Gert’s eldest son. He was probably ten or twelve years older than me. In my characteristic fashion I politely stretched out my arm to shake his hand and before I realized what was happening, he had pulled me towards him and planted a kiss firmly on my lips. Let’s just say that I recoiled and beat a hasty retreat.

From there on my form of greeting was simple. It was still the handshake, but my arm was as stiff as a ramrod and my legs were as firmly braced as if I were in a tug o’ war, to make sure that no one reeled me in. And I have maintained that record for forty years.

I just need to find a strategy to “mwah” proof myself now.


Is it just me…………………………?

25 comments:

Nebuleux said...

We have that here in the States as well... quite the phenomena to avoid here as well. I believe it is a ritual to scare men.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Just tell the offender that you have a rash on your cheek that he or she should avoid :-).

I'm in the States and I've never had it happen to me. Its probably a city thing.

Jen

awakeningmoon said...

i'm from England and we do both the traditional handshake and the occasional mwah thing. I think the latter is more European than British!!!!

amanda said...

oi...it is veery french! Ag sies man, how could you cringe from a good old Boere-kiss on the lips!! (I detest it as well!!)

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I'm not very good at that sort of thing either - usually head-butt the person by mistake! We all prefer handshakes.

Andi said...

Just wanted to let you know that I nominated your innocence lost post on Five Star Friday and it got picked! http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2008/12/five-star-friday-edition-34-return.html

Sabrina said...

I didn't think people really did that...isn't that just in the movies?

Corey Wilde said...

A big, fat, wet fake sneeze will put a stop to those mwahs real fast. Or if you disdain acting, just keep using the stiff arm. It works for football players here in the USA.

Max-e said...

Nebuleux, you may have a point there. It does scare me! I wonder if some anthropologist will ever study this ritual.

Max-e said...

Jen, it happens too quickly and catches you off guard. Before you can blink an eye, it is over. I'll think of something though :)

Max-e said...

Awakening moon, that mwah thing is very prevalent here, especially in the arty circles. It is here to stay,

Max-e said...

Amanda, it is good to see that I am not alone on the boere tradition. If you had ever seen seen my Oom Gert you would have a better understanding of my motivation. Hy was baie lelik - iemand het sy neus plat geslaan.

Max-e said...

Ralph, I think you may have the solution! A few well placed accidental head-butts, should get me off the hook :)

Max-e said...

Sabrina, believe it, it is real very real :)

Max-e said...

Corey, I like the idea of the wet sneeze, but the stiff arm really works :)

Sabrina said...

Okay, have you ever seen "There's Something About Mary"? What you need to do is wear earmuffs like Warren did, and get a street rep mystique about you. You know, get some folks talking about how you get real crazy when someone tries to mwah you. Go nuts on some mwah-er and yell, "Tell your friends!" while they run down the street. Word will travel fast. Then you'll be safe. Thoughts?

Max-e said...

Sabrina, did I see There's Something about Mary - oh yes, with my teenage children. Enough said :) I was very funny though.
You have opened up a new range of possibilities - maybe I could howl like a dog or even bark or do someting totally wierd :)

Danni said...

I have seen it done but never had it done to me. I think probably because when that starts I get a look on my face that says try it and i will hurt you lol. I actually do find that kind of thing rather fake and quite offensive. So no you aren't the only one.

Max-e said...

Andi, thanks for doing that it is quite a privelege.

Nebuleux said...

I may wind up performing a study for the sheer amusement. Imagine, a dissertation on "The 'Muah' in Modern Society"

Swubird said...

Well my friedn, thanks for the little bit of cultural custom. Is mwah strictly an African custom?

Happy New Year.

Max-e said...

Nebuleux, let me know when you post it

Max-e said...

Swubird, I am not sure if this is culture or affectation. It probably originated in France.

Colin Campbell said...

Fairly popular here in Australia. About as meaningful as many other spoken greetings.

Ash said...

I guess it's not just guys who hate getting “mwah-ed”. I don't like it much either. The whole thing seems so superficial and forced!