British men are as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as they next, but we still don’t know how to say hello and goodbye to our male friends without feeling a little foolish.
This week Nick Angel in The Times investigates the ritual of the male-to-male greeting that men are most at sea. The fact is this: there is no accepted form for one man to greet and bid farewell to another man. With women it is relatively simple: a handshake if you don’t know them very well, and a kiss on one or both cheeks if you do. Sometimes a hug is appropriate. The main hazard is if one of you goes for the kiss, while the other opts for the hug — in which an ear gets slobbered on. With men, there are no such ground rules. A handshake suffices for professional situations, but after that it’s an absolute lottery. Some hug. Some high-five. Some kiss. Some — such as myself — rock from foot to foot and assume an expression that is half-grin, half-grimace. Every male has his own set of rules and principles, but none of them is the same… What to do?