Saturday, 10 December 2016

A kiss on the mouth may be quite continental

A good friend, Jo, hosted her annual Christmas drinks this evening. We were work colleagues in years past. A divorced grandmother, Jo has a large number of gay friends who are often well represented at the annual gathering.

My first attendance at the function years ago was revelatory for me. There were workmates at the party I already knew or suspected to be gay but then there were workmates who had totally escaped my gaydar. The 'outing' of the latter category wasn't achieved merely by their attendance at Jo's party, of course. The clincher, so to speak, was how these already seasoned attendees at her parties greeted and farewelled each other with unabashed mouth to mouth kisses.

I was surprised at my slightly shocked reaction to the sight of those men kissing at that first party. After all I was a gay man of many decades standing. I had kissed and enjoyed kissing many a man myself and it wasn't that I hadn't seen men kissing before.

None of these men greeted or farewelled me with a kiss at that first party nor at subsequent parties. Perhaps I came across as standoffish? I grew up as a gay man in an era when homosexual activity was illegal - even in private - so public displays of man to man affection were just not on. In any event I had never been a great one for public touchy feely activity.

Well, that changed today. Nothing else seemed different about today's party so I don't know what triggered the change but it was as though I had been inducted into a club. I was kissed and I kissed in return.

How continental was that? How gay.


  1. You read the same unwritten gay rule book that I read many years ago. Our juniors and even some equals, to their credit, take no notice of the book and write their own rules. When I see gay men kissing in public, I always look around to see who is taking notice and if there will be any reaction. It is invariably the case that I am the only one taking any notice. Not exactly apt, but implanted in my memory is a great English actor, maybe Maggie Smith, delivering the line to her young American relative, 'We are English. We don't hug'.

    So the next time we catch up, we will be getting a little physical?

    1. I look forward to it Andrew! I'm making another theatre visit to Melbourne in March. Should I be prepared?

  2. Men kissing on the mouth does not shock me. If they're a couple. But I have been greeted at social events with mouth kisses from other guys who are just friends and I find it a little intrusive, presumptuous, and sometimes yucky. I prefer the "bises," those double (or triple or quadruple) cheek kisses they do here in France. Even straight men can do that here and nobody raises an eyebrow.

    1. I can understand your attitude about this wcs