If you plop yourself down on a park bench in the U.S. and watch people come and go, you’ll undoubtedly see people of all ages meet and greet each other with a hug. Some are just friendly, quick hugs and others are more loving and romantic. Sometimes a hug is accompanied by a pat on the back, or swaying back and forth, and sometimes there’s a lot of distance between the two people. No matter the type, you will see lots and lots of hugs because it’s a common greeting among Americans. But upon arriving in France, I quickly learned there’s no hugging in France. You don’t hug to say hi. Not even family members.
How’d I learn?
When I jovially put my arms around my French father-in-law who proceeded to just stand there like an animal playing dead, just waiting for his predator of a daughter-in-law to slink away. Ooops. I found out the hard way there’s no hugging in France.
If this isn’t an awkward expat story, I don’t know what is. It all went down at the pharmacy. I’ve written about why French pharmacies rule and even about the best products, but I’ve never written about such a hilariously awkward exchange. You see, on Wednesday, I was just picking up a very regular product that turned into one of those stories you’re not soon to forget.
How did the conversation go from a normal skin cream to my vagina? Beats the heck out of me. But I will tell you what happened…