Connect with us

The Pan-Arabia Enquirer

Middle East to standardise number of air kisses

  • Share
  • Tweet


Middle East to standardise number of air kisses

Not knowing whether to give one, two or three soon to be thing of the past

  • Share
  • Tweet

Following what has been described as “a generation of awkward and uncomfortable introductions and goodbyes”, countries across the Middle East have come together to help standardise the number of air kisses given as a greeting.

“As our nations become increasingly multi-cultural, the air kiss is developing into a hugely problematic issue in society,” said Frieda Bumford of the Gulf Institute in Doha. “With one kissers, two kissers and three kissers now commonplace and living amongst each other across the region, we’ve been witness to hundreds of thousands of incidents over the years. Something had to be done.”

Bumford pointed to a recent survey that showed a “disturbing number” of situations in which those used to three air kisses had been left hanging mid-air when greeting a one or two kisser.

“Research has shown that such occasions have been hugely damaging to our personal and business relationships, leading to great discomfort and embarrassment in offices and at social gatherings,” she added, pointing to British expat men as the “worst offenders when it comes to air kiss-related awkwardness”.

Reaction to the move on social media channels was mostly positive.

“As a two-kisser often caught in terrifyingly uncomfortable moments with one-ers and three-ers, this is welcome news,” said @StickyFingers72.

“I’ve still don’t know what’s wrong with just a solid, firm handshake, but I applaud this forward-thinking decision,” said @DavesFoodBlog.

Although a standard number has yet to be agreed upon, Bumford suggested it was likely to be “at least five”, so as not to appear to show favouritism to any of the current air kissers.

“We’re also hoping to finally set a rule for whether to start with the left or right cheek, as we’ve already lost too many good people to unfortunate and avoidable headbutting incidents.”

Continue Reading
You may also like...


  1. Ash

    October 24, 2013 at 8:13 am

    This has got to be the most sensible solution to overcome a modern social faux pas.

    Before the rules are finally ratified and released a section of stadard air gaps between cheeks should be included. I for one am always confused on the size of the air gap that should be used for close friends, work colleagues and Mother.

    Waiting with eagerness for the booklet to be available in the near future.

    • Gokhan Polat

      October 24, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Yes, there has to be a booklet, otherwise how would people know about this public annoucement?

  2. Fitna police

    October 24, 2013 at 9:48 am

    This is the problem when people try to adopt Western culture. Islamically the correct greeting is to shake hands between men / men or women / women, this is stated in an authentic narration or hadith. I hope the religious police can stop this affected foreign culture as we can clearly see it is causing problems in society already.

  3. Nicole

    October 24, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more with Ash. I just wish they would adopt this sensible solution in France where three air kisses used to be the norm, but now four kisses are coming into favour amongst the younger generation. This can cause big social problems … do you risk offending the receiver by assuming they are of the age (older) to only want three kisses? On the other hand, some of the older generation find the new custom of four kisses to be ridiculous. If three was good enough for them and their parents …. Sigh, it’s almost enough to stop me visiting!

  4. Engi

    October 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    LOL I think there are bigger issues in the Middle East!

  5. Mwaaaaah!!!!

    October 27, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I hear there will be an App for this.
    On approaching someone, phone proximity will trigger a vibration in your pocket, giving info on number of kisses and air void.

    • Sidd

      November 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Brilliant! Hahaha

  6. Taz

    October 27, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I’d like to give my $0.02 here. I suggest that we standardize this into one long kiss on the lips if the couple are from opposites sexes, and a pat on the shoulder if otherwise! This just solves it!

  7. Frenchie

    October 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

    We still need a way to stop the mid air kiss miss, too many lips hits!

  8. Dubai NRI

    October 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    How about the Indian namaste? Of great help when you are not sure if the opp person has fully recovered from the latest flu virus and culturally appropriate for the local culture too…

  9. Anonymous

    October 29, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I agree with Engi, there are more important issues over here rather counting kisses!

  10. Adrian

    October 29, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Wow, what a solution! I’ve written about the awkwardness of this American in Lebanon when it comes to kissing

  11. Chris of Arabia

    October 29, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I believe there will be a provision in the new law for a ‘Premium’ service, which states that you are permitted to give the number of kisses given + 1 without incurring a fine, a positive step although of course there will be controversy over the sentence that states that you must be wearing massive sunglasses while doing the air kissing, be it indoors or out.

    Each resident will soon receive a leaflet soon detailing the rollout of ‘airkiss permit’ e-cards, linked to your liquor licence to ensure that both are equally out of date at any one time.

  12. Pav

    October 30, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Five air kisses would again leave room for controversy. Some might argue that one cheek got a “kiss more” than the other leading to debates about favoritism between the right cheek and the left cheek. Perhaps two on each cheek and one on the nose?

  13. Anon

    October 30, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I vote for ‘eskimo’ kisses. Works equally well when greeting people or the favoured pets of the superrich!

  14. The far hat

    October 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    The article is accurately addressing the problematic air kisses issue in the Middle East, and not in the Gulf. For the Gulf, there should be another round.
    In the KSA for example, kisses are usually made on the right side, as many times as the number of weeks you haven’t seen each other (and men to men only).
    In UAE, it’s rubbing the tips of your noses. It is practical for people with large noses. It may get somehow embarrassing for ones with short noses…(Beauty is not always practical). Researchers still have some work on this subject.

  15. Jean Luc Helens

    October 31, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I’m glad to see you guys finally addressing this. For a while, you just did silly puff piences about celebrities, like it was New York Magazine or something. Nicole, Fitna, and Ash are totally on the money. This is a serious social problem with the people in the UAE – (wait, you guys forgot Iran !?) aping the French and vice versa. It’s like there’s no sense of corporate social responsibility.

  16. ifyuseekayAdam

    October 31, 2013 at 11:15 am

    When two arabs from different countries meet sometimes the greetings get really messy. For example, a Bahraini wants to touch noses and a Jordanian wants to kiss once on the left cheek and three on the right. (three fast ones). I’ve seen it get real sloppy.

  17. Muhannad Al Sarhan

    November 3, 2013 at 11:31 am

    loooooooooool, oh my god, were have you been all my life. This magazine is hilarious

  18. Muhannad Al Sarhan

    November 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

    What about us, Iraqis? One kiss on a cheek and three on a shoulder? We want to include shoulder kissing also

  19. Samar

    November 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Also the length of the kisses is important. We Palestinians like to do two short kisses on either cheek, then a long third and final kiss on the original cheek we started with.

  20. Essa

    November 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I come from a culture of 2 and 3 kisses and it pretty much depends on the person. Umm …what happened to reading body language?Geez! … When you feel awkward about it, then you’ll react in an awkward manner. Don’t assume and just go with the flow. The moment you assume that you have to stop or continue, You’ll trip.

  21. Helen

    November 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    As a Brit, all this talk of physical contact is scaring me. Can’t we scrap all the previous rules and just stick with a polite nod? Unless, we’re out in a bar of course in which case a cheeky grope could be applied as an alternative.

  22. Roger Rave

    December 17, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I follow the standard rule in the Emirates, No air kisses in Sharjah, 2 air kisses on second dates and 3 air kisses in Jumeriah x x x

  23. moonboy

    February 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Why not kiss each other on the arse cheecks?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in business

To Top