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Kiss on the Lips

Photo Credit YoYoJ3d1, Flickr

Photo Credit YoYoJ3d1, Flickr

Thanks to revelations about smarmy workplace behaviour that have come to light during the recent U.S. political campaign, kissing in the workplace is fast becoming the greatest of all taboo south of the border.  For some, it is no less than sexual assault.

I’ve written about kissing in the workplace before, most recently focusing in on the double cheek variety.

I was not raised in a kissing in the workplace culture, and so in moving to Canada, where sometimes things are a little more European, I was surprised at first to see double cheek kiss greetings in the workplace.  But, in truth, especially with regards to double cheeking, I have to admit that I have no objection to it, among those who are comfortable in partaking at least.  I believe in hugs too.  Today’s focus on warm workplace culture supports some level of touch, even if interpretations of human rights and harassment policies clearly do not.  I believe that it will be increasingly more difficult to find middle ground on this subject.

Yet with all this talk about taking touch out of workplace behaviour, here is Gord Downie of Canada’s Tragically Hip, taking it one further.

Kissing on the lips that is.  In saying his greetings and goodbyes.  Same sex, opposite sex.  With his best buds and The National’s Anchor, Peter Mansbridge.  It is loving and innocent.  And very weird.

The first time I saw it I was shocked.  Here is a guy’s guy, who has penned the lyrics to Canada, and he’s all prepared to touch lips with those he meets.  Wow.

As someone with the ability to say speak his mind unencumbered before he dies, I feel like Gord is making a statement.

I distinctly remember the first time I watched The Godfather.  In my culture, men shook hands, never hugged (unless they had just won the Superbowl or something), and certainly never did the two cheek kiss.  And here were a bunch of thugs, with guns, getting in close.  It was the first time I understood the term, “When in Rome. . .”

So what will happen now?  Will this approach to greetings and goodbyes stick?  50 years from now will historians looking at changes in cultural norms in Canada look back and say that we all got a little more familiar in 2016 thanks to Gord Downie?  Only time will tell.






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