Three kisses

‘Oh, hey!’ You’re walking to class, and have just been spotted by Femke. She’s coming over… wait—what’s she doing? She’s leaning in!

You recoil so that she kisses one of your three chins. She goes for the other side. Ah, okay: this must be a Dutch thing. You confidently return the third. As she wipes the slobber from her cheek, you attempt another. Dismayed, she dodges! Left hanging, you wish that someone would bike over your face. What the French kiss is going on?

The Dutch greeting: three kisses. Although this may not be such a strange convention for our American, Eastern, and European Internationals: everyone except the British. People generally don’t enjoy physical contact in Britain. In fact, if you were to even briefly touch someone’s hand on public transport, the typical reaction would be to withdraw as if you’d just touched an electric fence.

But, who and when do you kiss in the Netherlands? And who initiates it? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but when you’re faced with that weathered hag from next-door on your journey to the post-box, you need to be sure that you get it right, or you may gain an extra set of teeth!

These kisses are for friends and relatives, and are more like “misses”… you don’t actually kiss: it’s more of a chiss (cheek kiss). You kiss to say hello, and then goodbye, no matter the length of conversation.

Since failing to filch Rudy’s French girls, it’s hard for me to complain. I see Flore: peck, peck, peck. Oh, look, there’s Lotte: peck, peck, peck. Hey, is that you, Roos? Peck, peck, peck, peck—SLAP. Remember, three are for free: four are for whores.

One piece of advice that you should seriously listen to, though. Always kiss right-cheek, left-cheek, right-cheek. If only I’d known this sooner, perhaps I wouldn’t have head-butted Eline, and the doctors wouldn’t have had to E-line her nose. You’ve been a great crowd!

The list of Dutch expressions is near endless. I was tempted to just list them, as they’re hilarious on their own. If you can think of anymore, write them in the comments box below!