Tag Archives: customs

Lesson Plan: The Etiquette of Social Kissing.

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart”. William Butler Yeats

I was once kissed by a marquis, or maybe he was a count, but it was in a palace. I cannot remember his rank, but he was old and ugly, at least for me! Nothing to daydream about, believe me, but the fact remains that I was kissed by a nobleman. He was a long way from Prince Charming, but that was ok for me. He was selling. I was buying. That was it!

But the kiss… yes…back to the kiss. First time ever I had been kissed on the hand. I was ready for a handshake so I extended my hand. Instead the marquis suddenly, and in a very quick gesture took my hand, bowed and made the gesture,  and I have yet to decide whether he actually kissed my hand or just the air. Now that I know a bit more about the etiquette of hand-kissing I realize he probably never kissed me.

Photo by Tim Rooke/Rex/REX USA

Level: B2

♥DISCUSS: It is not very often that a woman has her hand kissed nowadays. But let’s reflect a bit on how we greet each other in our different countries. Discuss these questions with your partner:

  • What are the rules for social kissing in your country? Do you always know how you are supposed to greet someone? Have you ever experimented any awkward moments where you didn’t know what you were supposed to do?
  • When kissing as a form of greeting, do you kiss on one cheek or on both cheeks?
  • Is it the right or the left cheek you kiss first? Know that you should kiss the right cheek first to avoid awkward situations.
  • If you don’t like the kissing business, how do you cope with people who want to kiss you as a greeting?
  • Is it appropriate to kiss in a business setting?
  • Do you ever hug?
  • Apart from the handshakes, cheek kissing and hand kissing which are quite common for us, do you know any unusual ways  of greeting people ?

♥READ: Have a look at this interesting article about Unusual Ways to Greet People Around the WorldWhen you finish reading , tell your partner which form of greeting  you found most unusual.

♥LISTEN: Watch this video about the etiquette of social kissing and answer the following questions:

  1. In Good Morning America, the *anchorwoman describes an awkward moment when you get to a party. Why is it awkward for some people to greet your host or hostess?
  2. The British are described as” buttoned-up”. What do you think it means?
  3. Laura Ford is a British artist. Does she kiss people she doesn’t know? Choose from the options below and justify your answer.
  4. always b. never c. sometimes
  5. According to Hillary Brown, social kissing in France might be getting out of control. Why?
  6. Social Kissing is taught at some schools. Which ones?
  7. What are some of the rules of kissing taught at these schools?
  8. How are Americans and Latins different as regards social kissing?
  9. At the end of the clip, the anchorman apologizes. Why?

*anchorman/anchorwoman = a person who presents and coordinates a live television or radio programme involving other contributors.

CHECK: Answers here

READ: Why do we shake hands?

♥WRITE: Imagine a foreign student is coming to your school/house on an exchange visit. What advise would you give about your customs. Use the ideas below and the modal verbs should/shouldn’t , could, must/mustn’t.

  • greeting someone
  • meeting someone for the first time
  • being punctual
  • being invited to someone’s house
  • tipping

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Jack-o-Lanterns in Halloween History

I hope you’re not getting sick of so many posts about Halloween. This, if my memory doesn’t fail, is my third post about this tradition but I’m afraid you haven’t seen the last of it as we’ll be throwing our Halloween party on Wednesda . I’ve boarded the Halloween train and I have no intention of getting off .
As if cooking and decorating were not enough for my students, this video about the history of Jack O’Latern will set the mood for the halloween party and do the trick



St Valentine’s Day: two activities

I have never celebrated st Valentine. I cannot remember a single occasion in my life when I was given a present or  invited to a romantic dinner whatsoever.( If you are reading this and you are one of my ex-boyfriends, don’t hesitate to send me an email if I have forgotten what you did for me on that day. Don’t get pissed off, I am sure it was beautiful and it meant the world for me).

I’ve prepared two activities for two different levels.
The first one is a song by Whitney Houston “I will always love you”. It is my way of  paying  a little homage to one of the greatest singers in history. Click here to get the worksheet. Level: absolute beginners .

The other activity I have decided to do is on the other side of what love should be. Please don’t take any offense ! It is only a small  joke and although it is a bit sexist it is also good fun. And remember that I am a woman, too. In my opinion it would be suitable for intermediate students and I am planing  to give them the first part and ask them to work in pairs to predict what is the woman going to find on the sixth floor. There are lots of follow-up questions that can be the object of discussion and of a lot of fun, too.