Saturday, December 8, 2007

I give you a kiss

I remember when I first heard this phrase. I was speaking over the telephone with an Italian - a beautiful Italian - I had met the day before, and just before hanging up came that phrase: "I give you a kiss..." We had met incidentally if not randomly and exchanged numbers. I thought there was a flirtatious frisson there, but couldn't be sure.

I couldn't be sure because it was the first time I had met an Italian from Italy. Indeed, it was my first week on my own, outside the little world (albeit large country) in which I grew up. I wasn't used to seeing people stand so close to each other during casual conversations, kiss socially, and it seemed pause for normal conversation within continuous flirtation. I didn't know that this phrase or some variant of it can close a conversation among friends in more than a few European languages.

Of course, this is the way I saw it then. In India, no one kisses socially: parents and children, husbands and wives, movie actresses and movie actors, no, no, no. It is more common to see two men holding hands - a friendly gesture - than a man and a woman. Coming from this world, I couldn't tell what was going on. Was everyone sleeping with everyone else, or at least trying? (Having to come to understand the male subspecies a bit better over the last decade I actually now believe the latter is true, but that's another story.)

Coming back to me an my beautiful Italian. I heard the words and my heart jumped. I was aglow from within. I felt as though I had actually been kissed, unexpectedly and wonderfully. We kept on meeting from time to time, always with warm flirtation, and I got comfortable with the right-left (or is it left-right, to this day I am never sure and am convinced I get it wrong) kiss. I didn't really expect anything to happen, though I might have hoped, and it didn't. But I was always thrilled to hear this awkwardly translated phrase at the end of our phone conversations.



Doc said...

I'm waiting for mine... Doc

Anonymous said...

Can you hear it? ...

Anonymous said...

how romantic....but you know....i always say " i kiss you"....and often wondered if it is correct english....if not then what is the correct way to say it in english??? (honestly asking!).

Bombay Beauty said...

Honestly English speakers don't do much kissing... Je te/vous embrasse sounds so much nicer anyway!



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