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What is the Etiquette Regarding Kissing in Melbourne?

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by Paul Bonadio (subscribe)
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Published March 25th 2012
Parisians love it and can go up to four times. Britons rarely do it while Americans prefer a hug instead. It is, of course, the humble peck, a greeting that has made fools of even the coolest of felines.

Social trend has often dictated what we can and can't do when kissing or embracing. A school in New Jersey has placed a ban on students hugging each other; one can only imagine the repercussions if they get caught fondling at the back of the oval.

In Melbourne the rules are more relaxed. Still, there is endless confusion on what constitutes proper etiquette. Do we kiss on the right or left cheek? Is it acceptable in the workplace? Is the legendary dancefloor pash nearing its end?

The below looks at everyday situations and discusses what's the most appropriate course of 'action'.

1 At work

Many experts believe that greeting co-workers with a kiss on the cheek can be misconstrued as a sexual act. The argument is that such behaviour does not fall into "business practice" and should be confined to a social environment.

Of course, getting romantically intertwined with a fellow employee is also fraught with danger, sometimes leading to bizarre consequences. Still, if no-one ever hooked up at the Christmas Party, what would we have to gossip about in the months afterwards?

Dangerous Liaisons. Credit:

2 At a bar

In the right context and at an appropriate time of day, kissing still holds a place in Melbourne's bars and clubs. This ranges from a quick cheek-to-cheek hello between friends to the dancefloor kiss. The latter should be restricted to a pleasant locking of lips. There's nothing worse than bumping into a couple who are trying to find each other's wisdom teeth with their tongues.

3 In public

Here's where the waters get a little murky.

For example, seeing a couple openly kissing along the banks of the Yarra is uncomfortable for all concerned. Holding hands finger-lock or palm-to-palm - is a fine alternative to showing affection for one another. Even a kiss on the cheek is acceptable. Anything more tends to drift towards awkward territory.

4 At home

In this instance, the saying "what people do behind closed doors is their business" is more than apt.

Let's face it, some folks in Melbourne get up to some pretty crazy stuff (so crazy that we don't need to go into detail). As long as it's out of sight and inaudible to the next door neighbours, Melbournians are entitled to do as they wish.


5 Occasions where passionate public displays of affection are allowable

There are some occasions that need a passionate act to compliment the spirit of the moment. These include;

- a successful marriage proposal
- the birth of a son or daughter
- a lotto win
- a successful peak-hour run
- a perfect game in bowling

Have any further thoughts on kissing etiquette in Melbourne? Have your say below.
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An excellent question. I do not personally approve of the overly ardent PDA (I'm putting that out there, though according to another reader, this must be because I'm not getting any offers). It's very awkward having to witness someone taking the drunken lusty lunge and even worse, catching a couple engrossed in the slow snog. I'm far from being a prude, but I think it's better for everyone involved to keep up the subtlety and intrigue in public, and save the pash (etc) for later.

That said, I've had to listen to 'later' more than once, too, thanks to the joys of shared-wall apartments. My old neighbour had a tendency to get very friendly, very loudly, and to the accompaniment of pan-pipe music, would you believe.
by Michaelie Clark (score: 2|951) 2760 days ago
I'd say that a few more PDAs would do us all good. Surely society has bigger things to worry about than over-affection and God-forbid a little passion. As long as a kiss stays a kIss (not a public grope) I say go for for your lives!
by sante (score: 0|2) 2761 days ago
Why is watching anyone kissing even remotely a problem? I can only imagine that anyone objecting, is not getting any love or being kissed! Maybe because they object to spontaneous emotion, love and warmth. How Victorian!
by Kvonr (score: 0|4) 2761 days ago
Do it as much as possible, I love kissing,
by nikee (score: 0|2) 2761 days ago
Very entertaining article!
by lana.3 (score: 0|2) 2760 days ago
Go for it! I think you are a pretty wrong and conservative on this one as long as the people aren't trying to make out on top of you or leaning up against you it's fine.
by no1ss (score: 0|6) 2760 days ago
go for it - kissing in public is fine! Though it was a bit disturbing/distracting to have an couple 2 feet away in a tightly packed restaurant, get to the stage of looking like they were going to take to the table top for more extensive enjoyment!
by sally (score: 0|2) 2758 days ago
Does it really matter? I mean, is this a serious question?
by peterj (score: 0|2) 2753 days ago
How very victorian. I can't believe i acatually read this in modern media. Kissing in public is unacceptable? Being drunk in public however seems to be. Just not on love.
by bernd (score: 0|2) 2644 days ago

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