In France “faire la bise” (cheek kissing) rules

In France  “faire la bise”  (cheek kissing) rules

Once my daughter was not invited to a sleepover because of her American manners. I was a bit offended at first as my girlfriend bluntly told me that my daughter was the preferred friend, but just didn’t have good enough manners to be included.  After the party I understood everything.

There was a rather large and fancy adult party, each of the hostess’ children could bring a child to spend the night so that the children had their own mini party. A cute idea but my daughter hated kissing strangers on the cheek and saying bonne nuit (good night). I could never get her to do it and my girlfriend knew this, hence the comment about manners. 

At around ten pm the children came down to the party. It was a little bit like the Sound of Music when they  sing “good night”. The children pranced in with starched white night gowns to say bonne nuit (good night). Every guest at the party (there were a lot of guests) had two gently placed kisses  put on their cheeks by these adorable children. Carli would have never done this and thus she was not invited. In France this gest is very important and part of their manners and code of conduct. Her American manners were not a lack of manners but different manners and a lack of adapting. We have talked about this evening, kissing and adapting several times the the past. She was annoyed that she wasn’t invited and has now learned to accept cultural things that she doesn’t like so that she fits in. Sometimes in our family we choose not to adapt because we really don't want to. We are then, thanks to this evening, conscious of what we are doing and how the others in the culture we are visiting might perceive us. 

— Allison Ochs