People kissing. | J. AGUIRRE

One thing that you learn very quickly when staying in the United Kingdom after more than twenty years domiciled in Spain - is that one should really keep ones kisses to oneself!

In short, it maybe socially acceptable in Mallorca to launch an attack of slobbery kisses on an unsuspecting female acquaintance; here in middle England - er, just don’t! The trouble is, after so many years of being expected to double-cheek-kiss female friends on a regular basis; here - it is regarded as a very doubtful continental affectation and a chap will be glared at - for just puckering up with intent.

Julie helpfully informed me just the other day that I can (and do!) regularly clear our tennis club lounge of female members when I appear for a well earned coffee after limping around the court for an hour. Seriously, unlike in Spain - the friendly double-peck on the cheek in greeting someone is seriously undervalued here I can tell you.

This fact, started me thinking of the etiquette of kissing - you know, the when, where, and how - that sort of thing. Anyway, as I Googled the subject I was astonished by the amount of ‘kissing’ information that can be gleaned on the internet. For instance, did you know that boring accountants have rather surprisingly been voted the best kissers - just ahead of doctors and engineers? And the worst kissers are generally civil servants, bankers and female newspaper columnists.

Worryingly, a slim majority of those polled said their current partner was not the best kisser they had known, saying that a recent ex-partner had been best at that this sort of stuff. Anyway, all this talk of kissing reminded me of a traumatic event that occurred about eight years ago on the island.

For once, I was late arriving at a formal lunch for a friends birthday and in a very flustered state I set about kissing on both cheeks every woman sat girl/boy around a large restaurant table. It was only during the penultimate peck on the cheek did I realise that I had just kissed seven women I had never met before in my life and was being stared at in a rather unpleasant manner by a number of rather burly men. Julie still dines out on that story I’m afraid! I think that kissing and being kissed in a social, non sexual fashion, is a cultural minefield.

When I meet with my son, he gives me a bear hug and a peck on the cheek to go with it; yet, a few years ago when I gave my auntie Bunty a kiss after not seeing her for a few months she exclaimed “Don’t you come around here with all your kissing and the like” So, as you can see I’ve been scarred for life by the social and cultural implications of kissing and being kissed, and therefore from now on, I will only kiss someone, if given written permission to do so and let that be and end to it.