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Monday November 16, 2009

Should We Ban Kissing?

It’s a bit of a swine this HIN1 pandemic. Until now the Spanish kiss, el beso, equivalent to the French la bise, was happily infusing every aspect of daily life but now Trinidad Jimenez, Spain’s Health Minister, has reluctantly conceded that it might pose a health risk while ‘Gripe A’ as it is known, is on the rampage. Addressing the nation on television, Miss Jimenez explained that much as kissing was an important Spanish tradition, it was a sure fire way to pass on the swine flu virus. Her words lost some veracity, however, when she was caught off camera kissing television staff after the broadcast.

And can we blame her? After all, it is nigh impossible to conduct life in Spain without a smacker. Yesterday for example I exchanged kisses with fifteen people. Let me clarify that this is pecking on both cheeks, not a smack on the lips. That means that I received 30 kisses in just one day. From morning till night there’s a general kissing frenzy on the streets. At my son’s school, the headmaster, the teachers and the parents exchange kisses. In Soller town I share good morning kisses with my favourite shopkeepers and José at the local café and, should I bump into whiskery Doctor Bisbal, he is certain to plant a gallant kiss on my hand. But it doesn’t end there. I exchange kisses with my neighbours, Florentina, the traffic warden, Llorenç, the wood delivery man, my cleaner Catalina, and Stefan, the builder. In Spain, politicians, lawyers, businessmen and civil servants kiss and unlike the UK, it isn’t considered sissy or odd for heterosexual men and boys to kiss on both cheeks.

But is this dogged social habit really going to be the kiss of death for Spain? Doctor Bisbal doesn’t think so. He and other medical experts believe a kissing ban could do more harm than good. Citing numerous scientific studies, they insist that kissing lowers cholesterol levels, creates a sense of well being and diminishes stress. So in kissing goodbye to the kiss, could we possibly be creating a greater ill? For the Spanish, perhaps, the greatest peril is the threat to their kiss of life.
Source: Majorcan Pearls Blog

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