A Heterosexual Man’s Guide to Kissing Other Men
You’re socially liberal. You’re well-traveled. You’re culturally sensitive and possibly multi-lingual. And you’re a straight man in Buenos Aires.
If it’s your first time in the city, you may be slightly taken aback by the sight of these famously macho men kissing other men in greeting. As a progressive, open minded, non-homophobic individual, you think, oh this is simple, I can do this, it’s just like kissing a woman in greeting.
But it’s not. The mechanics are different, the physical dimensions are all wrong, and there’s that whole scratchy beard thing. So how do you kiss other men as smoothly and casually as a native porteño?
1. Verbally greet your manfriend with a nod of the head and a standard greeting, “Como andas?” or “Que tal?”
2. Approach your manfriend and incline your head clearly, unequivocally, towards their left cheek, signaling this cheek to be your intended target.
3. Simultaneous with your lean-in approach, raise and place your right hand on your manfriend’s left shoulder and pat it in a congenial buddy ‘ol pal manner.
4. Move in for the kiss. Now, what’s more important than actually placing your lips to his cheek is the symbolic gesture of kissing. Place your cheek to his cheek and make a very loud smooching sound that says, “I am kissing you, dude, and it doesn’t make me the least bit uncomfortable with my sexuality, even though it’s really weird feeling your scratchy-ass beard all up on my face!”
5. Follow up with the phrase, “Todo bien?” Say it two or three times just to be safe. Chances are, they will ask the same question, to which the proper response is, “Todo bien.” Therefore, the total verbal exchange should go something like:
“Hola, como andas?”
“Hola, todo bien?”
“Todo bien. Y vos? Todo bien?”
6. Congratulations! You’ve managed to kiss another man without endangering your masculinity. You are now a dude-kissing machine. Look for other dudes in the group and repeat from step one.
Do not mix greetings. For example, some local men will assume that as a foreigner, you will not be expecting a kiss from another man and will therefore offer you a hand. Do not shake hands and then go in for a kiss. It’s like a double greeting. It’s redundant. It’s awkward. It makes you seem either overzealous or insecure. Don’t do it.
Kissing other American men. It’s okay to kiss other American men whom you’ve met in Buenos Aires, but I think if I were to see these guys in America, I would probably offer them a hug but it would be strange because I’d never hugged them before. Mid-level intimacy just gets lost in translation.
While many things are open to interpretation in this greeting, do not place your right hand on your manfriend’s love handle while greeting him. This is a very sensitive place for a man to be touched and it’s like crossing a line.
When kissing a much taller man in greeting, never, ever stand on your tiptoes.