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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay,

I'm hardly an expert, but I wanted to get some opinions on what is a fairly common practice among my circle of friends.

When meeting a newly introduced woman, I will frequently grasp her hand, bow slightly and meet her hand with my lips. Or her wrist, depending on how old she is. It's as intimate as I get with 98% of women, and it's a popular gesture among the more continental of my comrades.

But among a girl I know quite well, I frequently simply bow, but halt a few inches from her wrist. This is essentially the same gesture, but I'm not trying to be romantic, but simply formally greeting her. Usually she is accompanied by a man, so I don't want to get in a fight especially when alcohol has been or is being consumed (ie, "hey bro, you kissed my girl on NYE, so I'm going to kick your tires in") but I do want to express sentiment that I am (a) gentlemanly and (b) reserved enough to not merely strike at her lips or face.

Is this too old-fashioned? Keep in mind I'm a twenty-something young man who rarely gets into serious dating. So it's not like I'm making a pass at somebody's escort. Does anybody else do this?

I once had a man known for his sexual adventures kiss my girlfriend in a similar manner, but he was trying to seduce her, not knowing of our affiliation. Usually with me, I'm just trying to show off that I'm not some randy 17 year old, but that a handshake isn't appropriate. And I very rarely hug.

Thomas
 

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Kissing a strangers hand is creepy and bowing in front of them is equally strange.

A firm but easy handshake is much more appropriate at introduction. If the conversation goes well, a hug or kiss on the cheek at parting is fine as well.

Save the hand kissing for your girlfriend or wife.
 

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Okay,

I'm hardly an expert, but I wanted to get some opinions on what is a fairly common practice among my circle of friends.
Are you saying that bowing and kissing the hand of a newly introduced woman is a "fairly common practice" in your social circles, i.e. people in their 20's somewhere in Canada? This sounds very, very strange.

Usually with me, I'm just trying to show off that I'm not some randy 17 year old, but that a handshake isn't appropriate. And I very rarely hug.

Thomas
Why would you want to show off that a handshake isn't appropriate? A handshake is exactly the appropriate greeting when you are newly introduced to another adult, male or female.

I think that most women would think that kissing them on the hand (or anywhere else) on first meeting is not only unseemly and creepy, but patronizing.
 

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Kissing a strangers hand is creepy and bowing in front of them is equally strange.
That was my thought. I think the only time I can remember anyone doing that was when they were just playing around with female friends.

A firm but easy handshake is much more appropriate at introduction.
While this is how I greet a man, with a woman I tend to let her take the lead. I don't know if things have changed but in the past a man generally did not extend his hand first, only taking hold of the lady's hand if she extended it first. If she does so, I generally just take it in hand and hold it for a few seconds unless she initiates a shaking motion.

Cruiser
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Perhaps I should elaborate to prevent confusion. While I would avoid this gesture at a casual setting (where a handshake would indeed be appropriate), my social circle requires me to attend a number of formal banquets and parties where I will be introduced to women, who are wearing formal wear or cocktail attire (although I would never perform this maneuver on somebody wearing a glove which is an extreme rarity among people my age) and in the spirit of the event it seems to make sense. I probably attend an appropriate event once every six weeks.

I'm not talking about meeting the girls for drinks on a thursday night. I'm talking about meeting a friend's girlfriend or wife in a "dressed up" setting.

I've checked a few ettiquite books (1960s vintage, pre-women's lib) and they say it's a very European gesture, but is not to be performed on an unmarried woman before noon or on a woman without an escort. Do these rules still hold true?

If you don't feel this is appropriate, how do you express respect for the woman and yet avoid looking corny. Would you rather greet a woman like Borat does?

Thomas
 

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I'd vote for a gentle hold of the hand and a respectful nod, but not get my face close enough to sniff her glove ;)

I don't see any difference between hugging/kissing for formal vs informal events. It has more to do with the situation and how well you know the person.

-spence
 

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There are many sources of information that will tell you that the current year is 2008. I don't know about Canada, but it seems that the books are trying to tell you that this behavior was odd or anachronistic even 40+ years ago.

I think your latest post ("pre-women's lib") may have given you away as someone who abhors the idea that women are and should be the equal of men.

The way to express respect for the person of either sex you are meeting, and not seem corny, is to shake their hand, look them in the eye, and treat them as an equal. Putting a woman on a pedastel or treating her like a delicate flower who can't bear up under the stress of a handshake is showing not respect but its opposite.
 

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If you don't feel this is appropriate, how do you express respect for the woman and yet avoid looking corny. Would you rather greet a woman like Borat does?

Thomas
If I am meeting the wife or girlfriend of a good friend for the first time, I usually kiss her on the cheek and say something nice about her outfit.

If it is a business associate, I agree with Cruiser - that you take their lead. If they extend their hand, I shake it. If they simply smile, I dont do anything except smile back, and strike up a conversation.

Kissing someone's hand should be observed for someone you are involved with at a moment when a full kiss is inappropriate. Otherwise, it is just creepy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mrkleen,

I just have a hangup about kissing a girl anywhere except the wrist unless we're officially "together". I don't want to come off as fresh. Maybe I'm just too shy and have resorted to ancient practices to hide this.

I suppose as I get older, I'll get the gumption to shake hands at every opportunity.

As for business encounters, it's definitely a handshake. A woman in business is my equal, and any affection could be seen as embarrasing.

Thomas
 

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Thats fair enough Thomas.

But your awkwardness at not knowing what to do, went too far with the kissing of the hand...or worse, bowing before them.

In my case, I am a very outgoing person and never really have a problem figuring out whether a kiss on the cheek, hug, hand shake or nod is appropriate.

You too will find your place and comfort zone over time.
 

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I suppose as I get older, I'll get the gumption to shake hands at every opportunity.
That I don't get. Are you saying that you don't have the "gumption" to shake hands with a woman, yet you won't hesitate to bow and kiss her hand? It seems to me that it would take far more gumption to do the latter than the former. Apparently we live in very different cultures. :icon_smile_big:

Cruiser
 

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Okay,

I'm hardly an expert, but I wanted to get some opinions on what is a fairly common practice among my circle of friends.

Is this too old-fashioned? Keep in mind I'm a twenty-something young man who rarely gets into serious dating. So it's not like I'm making a pass at somebody's escort. Does anybody else do this?

Thomas
I hope that not all of 20+yrs old male in Canada aren't like you.
Creepy is the answer to both of your questions.
Don't try to justify your behavior as kool/acceptable/respectable etc etc.
 
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