Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kiss of Death

Shortly after arriving in Montevideo, FuBarrio came down with a brief cold, and a few weeks later, even Golden Lotus was suffering from flu-like symptoms.

The reason this is worth noting is that because of FuBarrio's hermit like tendencies, gruff exterior, scowling demeanor, pessimism, crumudgeon-ism, third person self-referencing tirades, and general dislikaility usually keep him well insulated from from the populace at large, and by extention, communicable disesases.

(side note: Of course, the sad tragedy in all of this is that FuBarrio's Uni-Bomberesque facade is merely a defensive mask....All those who have actually gotten to know FuBarrio (both of you) realize that deep down FuBarrio craves the respect, admiration, idoliz --- uh, i mean, admiration of his fellow man.)

However, FuBarrio was attempting to turn over a new leaf in his new home. He promised to leave the house more than once every 8 weeks, and to try to adopt some of the local customs. While some of the local customs, like enjoying 3 hour italian lunches laden with nice argentine and uruguayan reds were easy to come by, others were a little more difficult to get used to.

I know, you're thinking, "what in the world could FuBarrio not adjust to? After all, he has already cut back to no more than three twinkies per day, and has only broken that self imposed limit twice since last week....both times during very volatile days in the market! He's a obviously a veritable chameleon."

It's the kissing.

Uruguayans, and I imagine Argentines, when greating each other (even people you don't know but are meeting for the first time) kiss each other cheek to cheek. FuBarrio, sensing his personal space being invaded, immediately grew his beard out to Grizzly Adams-esque no avail. These Montevideans are very dedicated to their customs! Neither a beard that would make ZZ top jealous, nor a bathing frequency not seen since 15th century France, seemed to make any difference. Never once did anyone shy away from the obligatory kiss (?!?!)

OK...not a real kiss, but a cheek to cheek "air kiss" a la Hollywood....except only on one side, and not just with fellow star-lettes. Basically, everyone does this. Girls are expected to "kiss" everyone -- with both other girls and guys. And, with some of the younger generation, guys kiss guys....yikes! :)

Guys my age apparently, can just get away with kissing the females. When meeting ones real estate agent, when meeting her assistants, when meeting, greeting or saying goodbye to ones cleaning lady, neighbors, waitresses u get to know, the woman who sold me dsl when i went in to sign the contract, all constitute obvious times to exchange a kiss apparently.

So....did all this kissing contribute to our illnesses??? Have Uruguayos' frequent cheek to cheek interludes increased the countrymen's resistance to communicable diseases??? FuBarrio cannot be sure without more medical evidence.

All this aside however, FuBarrio has found a much more awkward problem associated with all this kissing. Not known for social graces, he has been trying to look suave while kissing total strangers at times.....(remember FuBarrio secretly wants to be loved). However, when kissing a stranger, where does one put their hands????

In FuBarrio's very limited North American experience, if you're going to try to kiss someone -- even an air kiss Zsa Zsa style -- you're probably going to be hugging them first -- or just done hugging them....viola...awkward hand problem solved!

Au contrair (to keep with the frenchy theme)...Apparently, that would be a lot more forward of an approach in Uruguay -- and one best not attempted with the woman who just had you sign your dsl contract -- who's to know? :)

Seriously though, what exactly to do with the hands??? I found them falling awkwardly around the waist of women 30 years my hand didn't slip and touch her butt did it???'s the skinny...which i'm sure has seemed perfectly obvious to all of you more cosmopolitan readers....I think I've figured it out:

Reach out with right hand, palm down and cup their right hand....not exactly like a shake....but, with fingers looked. Next, pull them toward you....if necessary, it's a nice touch to cup under the "shake" with your left hand, but're not really shaking in the North American sense of the word....just steadying yourself and drawing a vector on that space about 1/4 to the outside of this stranger's right cheek.

Next, move in, always to the left, usually without actually touching them and do a Hollywood "air kiss"..... and remember, unlike Costa Rica, and other locales u might be familiar with, only on one side here. After all, kissing guy friends on BOTH cheeks would be kinda gay! :)

ciao, xxx's, no ooo's (or did i get that backward?)

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