paulfraser (paulfraser) wrote,

A touch too much

In Mexico, people are far more wont to touch each other. And, the fact that your Anglo-Saxon mind just jumped to something sexy is indicative of the difference I am illustrating.

In Mexico, when one attends a party, one walks around greeting all people, whether or not ever seen before, with a kiss on the cheek between men and women or women and women, or a hand shake between men. If the men know each other moderately well (or are drunk) this becomes handshake-hug-handshake, and between men and women a full body hug (none of this bending in from the waist business). The same is repeated when leaving.

This is indeed quite confronting to someone from a culture of rigidly defined personal space etiquette, and though it becomes more comfortable with time, I still tend to try to leave parties later so people come to me in small groups rather than me going around to many people at once.

That's not to say this can't be taken advantage of to become somewhat sexual; recently a friend's elderly aunt took exception to the beautiful eyes (her words) of this qüero and her touching got a wee bit too flirty. For my part, where the line is placed is not immediately clear and one tends to err on the side of caution so as not to inadvertently crack onto someone else's partner. I'm also not sure how rude it is to not engage in this ritual.

Given that it becomes somewhat natural in this environment, when I briefly returned to Australia some months ago some of it came with me. Upon going to hug an old friend I have known from childhood I was met with a look of horror and a clamping up of all limbs (and probably other anatomy). Sorry dude. You know who you are.
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