Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kissing, No thanks

As I was driving into work I turned on my car radio and found myself in the middle of an interview with Hans Michael Klein on BBC News. If the name is not familiar it is because he is the Chair of the Knigge Society in Germany. The society is devoted to etiquette or correct behavior. I became curious and also found an article on MailOnline. The Knigge Society feels there is too much cheek kissing in the workplace. Mr. Klein indicated that he has gotten many complaints about all this kissing to excess. In calling for a halt, he said; “This is valid immediately. There should be no more kissing, at least not in the office.” I am glad he allowed for exceptions. It is easy to slip into national stereotyping on this, but I am resisting even though in the BBC interview Mr. Klein blamed this new trend on the Italians and Latin Americans. Of course, this news puts the economic crisis and war in Afghanistan in proper perspective. Let’s face it – this is a more manageable issue. If I understood Mr. Klein, this could all be handled by people maintaining the 60cm “Socially defined distance zone.” Even if I personally tend to drop to 30 or 40cm in my social distance, I can still understand what he is promoting. A final comment by Mr. Klein in the MailOnline article was that “This was not the German way and it was an affectation of the ‘Shickmicki’ set – or the ‘in-crowd’.” So, now you have a bonus that you can use the next time you are in the middle of cocktail chatter. Just attribute something to the “Shickmicki set” and you will impress all your friends.