Kissing voisins

It’s been raining a lot this week. Absolutely shitting it down at times. One of the reasons I moved to Paris was to ensure I’d have a summer, though the way things are going we may have to relocate to somewhere near or even on the equator soon in order to guarantee a bit of sun on my back. I’ve already told Claire we’re moving to Africa, although she doesn’t believe me yet. ‘Everywhere you go,’ sang Crowded House, ‘you always take the weather with you’, which makes me wonder if we do move continents whether it’ll shit it down there as well, although generally I like to think people who believe they influence entire weather systems need to get some perspective about their importance in the great scheme of things.

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There’s something that’s been bothering me that I’m a little ashamed to admit. As an Englishman I’ve been dreading being kissed on two cheeks by a man. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve been secretly thinking to myself: ‘please don’t let that happen to me’. I know it’s part of social etiquette here, but the caveman in me doesn’t expect it or want it. I’d feel more at home beating a woolly mammoth to death in front of everyone in truth. I dread social graces of the kissing kind in London when it’s a close friend with a vagina, but throw a guy into the equation and I’m really not sure where I am or what will happen next. What if it goes wrong and we tongue? And then we might both accidentally get erections and then where would we be?

“It’s not gay,” said my Belgian friend Benjamin incredulously, and I know it’s not, so why the weirdness? Considering how I used to claim I’d get off with a horse whilst on ecstasy during the 90s (me on ecstasy, not the horse… necessarily) it seems a peculiar thing to get uptight about. I find it awkward air kissing anyway, and just the other day I did it with a woman I barely know and forgot to go for the second cheek. She moved her head and went in for seconds but I’d already pulled away and all sorts of embarrassed feelings of clumsiness ensued. I wish we could all just grimace at each other in a disconcerting manner, or if we’re going to have to touch, could we not grip one another like bears and try and pick the other person up? I did that to Har Mar Superstar once. He looked really angry. I felt quite proud that I’d got him off the ground.

As a reluctant latter day straight edger I’m just not that great when people invade my space now, which was the exact opposite of how I was when I was off my head in the old days. A friend of mine recalled how I’d jumped on a man’s back at All Tomorrow’s Parties one summer, with the pair of us landing unceremoniously on the dance floor, him on top of me. I’d buckled over completely and he left the Irish bar we were in with the air of a deeply annoyed person. “He gave you a look like he didn’t know you that well”, said my friend Hairy Dave who’d been observing, laughing. Four days later waking up at home with the self-medicated anaesthetic wearing off, it suddenly occurred to me that I was in agony and I’d almost certainly broken some ribs.

Anyway, the two cheek kiss thing happened the other day when I was out at a gig and bumped into someone I vaguely knew. I’d built it up to be this thing, you know, and now it feels like I’ve lost my virginity all over again. The relief is palpable, and the next time I see a man in a bar I might initiate the kissing thing. It’s no bother, it’s just what we do here you see. I have a bank card, with an “M” on it. That my friends means I am a monsieur! Once I learn how to expel stale air from my body when I’m furious then I’ll be on the way to full assimilation. Probably.

I’m off to Iceland at the end of the week for the Reykjavik Music Mess. I may well write about it here despite it being out of the remit of the narrow titular prerequisites of the URL that I’ve fenced myself in with. But what if I thought outside the box and subverted just because, you know, I can. I’m like the Duchamp of blogging, me.

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