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No More French Kissing!

France is so paranoid about swine flu that French health officials have been asking citizens to forgo “la bise,” the country’s traditional double-cheeked kiss greeting. Especially in schools, children have been forbidden to use the kissing salutation to their friends, which is a common courtesy even among youngsters. Instead, schools have come up with what seems more like a ridiculous American solution: “In schools, teachers are telling their young charges to forgo the bise, and instead capture their displays of affection in heart-shaped greetings to slip into ‘bise boxes.’” (This is almost reminiscent of the teenage hugging epidemic.)

How do the French feel about these measures? “La bise” is such a cultural standard that they’d sooner kiss off the prohibition. Bring on the swine flu! [CNN]

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