Doing the bise (a greeting kiss on each cheek) is somewhat of an artform for a French person. It comes in different shapes and sizes depending on the person and the relationship. It’s not always easy to navigate the sometimes tricky terrain of the bise so it may be helpful to put a few pointers out there for anyone attempting to date a Frenchman.
Let’s take four examples to illustrate what different kinds of bise with a Frenchman can mean.
1) The Friend Bise: an air bise
If you and a Frenchman do this kind of bise with each other, you are both in the friend zone. This bise can be difficult to break out of if you do it for too long.
2) The What Was That Bise: a bise with some contact
You may have been doing The Friend Bise with a Frenchman for a while. And all of a sudden, he does The What Was That Bise. In other words, his lips lightly graze your cheek on maybe not the first but the second cheek. This will leave you wondering if he did it by accident or on purpose. If you like to overanalyze things, you may well torture yourself with what it all means…
3) The Contact Bise: a bise that comes into contact on both cheeks
Here there will be no doubt. You did the bise with a Frenchman and his lips definitely came into contact with both cheeks. You may have progressed gently from The Friend Bise through to The What Was That Bise and finally The Contact Bise. Or you may have gone directly to The Contact Bise. In either case, The Contact Bise usually expresses a Frenchman’s interest in you. This interest can be fleeting as it can be lasting. So which is it? Your guess is as good as anyone’s.
4) The Lingering Bise: a bise that lasts longer
If you’ve experienced The Contact Bise with a Frenchman, there’s a chance you’ll quickly move on to The Lingering Bise. In which case, his interest in you is lasting and he is letting you know. Played out what this means is that as he goes in for the bise, his lips will plant themselves on each cheek for longer than a usual bise. You will be able to tell the difference because it will feel like slow motion. Also, where his lips land on each cheek will be in close proximity to your lips. At this point, you know he’s interested and wants you to know he’s interested.
Has anyone been confused by one of these bise? Or has anyone taken the choice of bise into their own hands before? I’d love to hear your stories.