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Jules Hirst, Etiquette Expert

German Manners Watchdog Says Kissing at Work Is Form of ‘Terrorism’

Workplace RomanceA Ger­man man­ners watch­dog was call­ing Thurs­day for a total ban on work col­leagues kiss­ing one another in the office, say­ing that the peck on the cheek is a form of “terrorism.”

The Knigge Soci­ety — Knigge trans­lates as eti­quette or cor­rect behav­iour — says the prac­tice has flour­ished in offices around Ger­many in recent years, with women kiss­ing women and men kiss­ing women, some­times even twice in the way of the French.

It says it has received wor­ried calls from Berlin, Munich and Dus­sel­dorf over recent months about what to do if some­one should attempt to kiss them in greeting.

Hans-Michael Klein, the chair­man of the group, said, “This is valid imme­di­ately. There should be no kiss­ing, at least not in the office.”

Klein explained, “The sus­pi­cion for many remains that there is, or may be, an erotic com­po­nent to the kiss­ing. Kiss­ing sim­ply gets on the nerves of many at work. It is a form of ter­ror. In busi­ness the hand­shake is con­sid­ered the cor­rect greet­ing rit­ual. Stand apart from one another approx­i­mately 60cm [24in] and shake.”

Any closer, he said, would be cross­ing over a “socially defined dis­tance zone.”

Klein added that, while he had respect for the French habit, and the Russ­ian one of men kiss­ing men, this was not the Ger­man way. He added that it was an affec­ta­tion of the so-called Schickim­icki set — the in-crowd.

Pub­lished August 10, 2011| NewsCore
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