changes in kissing practices

Fri, 23 Jun 1995 12:32:32 +0100

Change in social kissing practices
In "Hamlet", Hamlet says, speaking of Yorick, the king's jester whose
skull he has in his hands : "Here hung those lips that I have so
often kissed". Erasmus was surprised when he visited London of how
freely young women kissed their guests.
It seems to me that the practice of kissing relatives
and friends on the lips was widespread in Europe, but it has clearly
disappeared by now. We now kiss people in a kind of simulacre (I
observed in Swizterland that some people kiss you good-bye without
touching your face, 3 times, and simulating the noise their lips
should have made if they had touched the other's face.

Why did that practice change ?

Robert Kruszynsky suggested that it had to do with the protestant
conception of the body as a potential source of evil, or maybe that
it was an aristocratic pratice (they have euphemized social relation
as Bourdieu would have put it) borrowed by the people at large.