I’m not talking about that type of French kiss, though I suspect it may be impacted as well. No, I’m referring to the effect the virus formerly known as Swine Flu is having on the French custom of “la bise”. You know, the way the French greet their friends, family and coworkers. La bise starts by bringing one cheek close to the others cheek and simulating a kiss on the cheek. After the first kiss on the cheek, the maneuver is repeated at least once on the opposite cheek.
Anyway, Swine Flu has a new casualty: “la bise”. Not only do the French need to remember to cough into their elbows, but now they need to skip “la bise”. The bise ban was first implemented in the town of Guilvenec in Brittany where the mayor told teachers and students not to kiss anymore. “I felt the protections sought to wash hands regularly, not throw used handkerchiefs around, and not cough any old way had no meaning if we let the kids keep kissing,” the mayor said.
To help the populace cope with this deep cultural change, they are being encouraged (for health purposes only) to smoke more cigarettes and drink more wine. Okay, I made that last bit up. So, should we ban kissing in our schools?