I Hate Kissing Your Cheek

I'm not a huge fan of people touching me...Eh, let me clarify that statement - I'm not a huge fan of people I barely know touching me. Skin-to-skin contact between me and someone I've known for like a week freaks me the fuck out. Maybe I'm autistic, I don't know. But what I do know is that I don't like it. I don't like hugs. I don't like a friendly arm around my shoulder. I can't stand it when the mailman insists on giving me a back rub. But my biggest gripe of all is cheek-kissing. I fucking hate to kiss people on the cheek. I hate being kissed on the cheek. It's cyclical hate. Personally, I'd rather sip expired apple cider out of a handicapped Chili's toilet.

There is a clause to this hate though - I don't mind kissing family members and close friends. That's fine. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends from a long time ago: all fine. But a random friend-of-a-friend? NO. Stop leaning in for a cheek-kiss. When did we reach this level of friendship? Did I come over to your house for a family BBQ? Did we celebrate Memorial Day together at your cousin's lake house? No. I can barely remember your fucking name. And to be honest, I sometimes confuse you with that other girl, the slutty one who blew the bouncer from McFadden's for a free bar tab back in 2005.

And how about the pull-in hug after the cheek kiss? FUCK. THAT. We have to hug now? Yeah, let's make it even MORE fucking awkward. Let's come up with a serious of intimate gestures to perform so the greeting last three hours! How about I pick you up and twirl you around while we hug? Oh, you think that's weird? WELL I THINK IT'S WEIRD THAT YOU WANT ME TO HUG YOU! That awkward moment where I hesitate and someone places their head on my shoulder is more painful than removing a layer of skin from my face with a vegetable peeler. I actually would prefer the latter if it meant never being put in that situation again. I'm not even kidding.

The cheek kissing parameters are expanding, too. People now do it at WORK. I go to client meetings and watch people kiss on the cheek who, behind closed doors, would rather fight to the death with flaming Katana swords. It's insane. Why can't we just shake hands? What's wrong with shaking hands? I feel like a man when I shake hands, like I just got finished mowing down a bunch of Rebel soldiers with a Gatling Gun and now it's time to celebrate with some good old fashioned binge drinking. But kissing a client on the cheek? Fuck that shit - I'd rather have a custom that forced me to get into a crab-crouch and smack my bare feet with another human-being than kiss them on their stupid cheek.

I think about this a lot. I think about how, since I hate cheek-kissing so much, I will eventually have to endure it for a serious amount of time. And I am crazy enough to imagine that, if there is a purgatory/hell, mine will include 1) locked in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike during the middle of a heat wave in August with no air-conditioning while stuck in a car with Gilbert Godfrey as he reads the extended screenplay to "Steel Magniolias"; 2) being forced to inhale the smell of Manhattan street garbage through a snorkel tube for all of eternity, 3) being forced to watch Susan Sarandon clip her toenails, naked; and 4) walking down a never-ending receiving-line of people I don't really know and being forced to kiss every single fucking person on the cheek until my lips chap, scab, and eventually fall off...and then I'm forced to do it all over again.

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