The biggest problem I have always had living in New York was the kissiness of it all. It's a little creepy -- like they want to somehow demonstrate their sophistication by adopting a continental greeting. My midwestern greeting rules were as follows: one hugs those we love, shakes the hands of those we respect, says "hey" to mostly everyone else. This is fine. There is no need for physical contact and I spent the first half my life learning that I don't have to kiss anyone I don't want to, so why would I start now?
Aside from Covid-19, Donald Trump's perplexing perpetual pucker is the best argument I can offer to end this practice immediately. It is in this arena that Trump has his best record on gender equality -- he is an equal opportunity assaulter, consistently puckering up for his children, wife, vice president, world leaders and unsuspecting and very unhappy children.
But that's not the norm. Most men are happy to keep their distance and shake hands or to their closest comrades offer a bro hug. But women are supposed to be kissed which can lead to some very awkward situations. Like when you make the wrong calculation and kiss someone square on the lips. And it's your father in law. Or you come across someone from the midwest who visibly shrinks from you when you try to perform the required New York greeting. It becomes a real problem in the workplace when your boss leans in. Just another minefield women need to navigate at work that men rarely have to think about -- a way that women are made to feel different, uncomfortable and unequal.
Now that the CDC (and I don't even care if these are career or political appointees) has recommended keeping our distance from others, honestly I couldn't be more thrilled. Let's end this barbaric practice now.
I once ran across a fellow once who clearly shared my feelings about puckering up for strangers. As the dreaded greeting moment grew nigh, he grinned wide, held up his hand and yelled "high five" to head off any unwanted contact.
I still think about him sometimes.