La Poulette

Tastes like chicken.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The poulettisation of the Kokoška*

Easing into the francophone lifestyle was no great feat. Let's face it, consuming large hunks of delicious cheese can hardly be considered torture, I always had a penchant for a good pain au chocolat, my derriere can stil take in the nasty one-croissant-a-day habit I've developed and I'm even starting to like the persona I seem to acquire whenever I speak French - the sing song melody of the language turns me into a politer, more good-natured version of my usual self. Turns out the hardest nut to crack has been adapting my reserved, peoplephobic Slovenian self to the touchy feely Frenchy way. I'm talking air kissing here. If you were to count all the kisses I've given and received in a lifetime, it would probably add up to half the sum of those I've dispensed and accepted over the past two years.
Trust me, the begining was rough. I got myself into many an awkward social situation when I would stick out my hand upon being introduced to new people, only to see a bewildered look cross their face. I soon realised that kissing would have to become my modus operandi, but I could never quite shake off the cold contraction of my body at the first sign of an iminent kiss with a stranger, friend or foe (no, I could almost hear it bellow, nooooooooo!) Coming to work I would have to kiss my colleagues hello and come 5 o'clock kiss them good-bye. Going to a party and meeting new people would entail a flourish of kissing activity right and left. I'd arrive at my friendly neighborhood bar only to wait a lifetime to order my drink, what with the complicated procedure of kissing each and every waiter I "knew" beforehand. My second meeting with the Purebred parents and already we'd be air kissing like there's no tomorrow.
Just recently I had lunch with one of my former bosses. And what do we do? We kiss. Kissing the hiearchy, people! The superior! Is it me or is there not something borderline indecent about that? Oh but I leaned in and offered first my right then my left cheek like a veritable pro, dahling. I even pulled off the appropriate smiling expression, said ca va? at the correct interval and did it all in one seamless offhand motion. No small acomplishment.
Strange thing is, you'd think coming back to Slovenia would be a relief. And what happens? Each time I meet people I know, I have to fight off the urge to kiss them. Dig in my memory and remember the once familiar gesture of stiffly sticking out my hand. To strangers, foes and weirdest of all, friends. But oh how I long to nonchalantly lean in and smack them two big ones, one right, one left.

* That would be Slovene for Poulette.


  • At 9/22/2005 09:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said… got more kisses in those past two years than in your whole life? Really? Slightly mathematicaly challenged are we ?

  • At 9/22/2005 09:47:00 PM, Blogger jaka said…

    Ko sem bil zadnjic v Bruslju sem se do jajc nasmejal, ko so policaji spravili harrasat dva zamorca, pa potem pride še en policijski avto in se najprej polcaji izljubijo med sabo, potem pa nadaljujejo s harrasanjem ubogih črncev.

  • At 9/23/2005 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Zvita said…

    Huh, Kokoška,

    we seem to be writing similar stuff. I know about cultural differences, lived abroad myself, the weirdest but a pleasant one was in Ghana where i had no clue of how to behave in front of a nana, chief of the village. Funny blues.

    And just recently i was in Paris, loved all the kissing although we aren't used to it, kind of comes out as if it was meant, not only a honeytongued gesture.

    I was moved when an old Parisian kissed my hand, felt as a lady, when i was only seeking directions to get somewhere. He was so helpful, such a gentleman, even knew all about Slovenia and spoke some mixture of "our" Yugoslav neighbours ... Well-travelled people radiate acceptance.

    So you fell in love there? I wonder how that happened :-)


  • At 9/23/2005 09:16:00 AM, Blogger Zvita said…

    Plus i had a French boyfriend in London for quite some time (!) so i know about melting into Francophone society as most of his friends were native. I am clumsy as hell with it, started French lessons a few times in the past, never came too far. Beautiful language but very pretentious. Maybe one day we'll shake hands (:-)) again, French and I ...

  • At 9/23/2005 01:28:00 PM, Blogger crni said…

    Heh heh, try kissing a puritan American when congratulating them for their birthday or something...

    I have to admit, I have noticed this French habit, too. There are a bunch of French people here and often we go to lunch together. All I am saying is, that kissing each and every person in a group of 10 is not a very efficient way to go to lunch, especially when one is very, very hungry.


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