Friday, June 6, 2008

Is a kiss more than a kiss?

I'd like to thank David Patt for posting a topic that completely cheered me up from my week-long gloomy mood, called "No Kissing". And it's not that I agree with it - it's just one of those topics I never would have thought to blog about until I read his thoughts.

So here's an excerpt from David: "Men should not kiss women when presenting them with awards or introducing them as speakers. Kissing suggests a sexual relationship or attraction, not a professional one. Men should relate to women in the same way they relate to men. Shake hands when greeting or congratulating them ... Remember, female executives are your peers, not your dates."

My thoughts:
1. Totally agree that it would be really odd for anyone to kiss someone who is a program speaker as part of the intro or between panelists.
2. I think it's perfectly fine when an award presenter or others on stage who actually know an award recipient kiss them (on the cheek). When I got a big award I think the only one at the long national leadership head table on stage who didn't kiss me was the hired parliamentarian I'd never met.
3. My experience is that (some) women kiss women out of affection so should they relate to men the same way they relate to women? I still think yes. I also think about zero romantic sparks fly. And that it's not misinterpreted by others.
4. There are some people who really prefer not to be touched by anyone (and don't even like spas!), so being kissed would be way out of the question.
5. What reports say makes another professional believe a woman is looking for a date and undermines credibility is the intentional deep-cut cleavage look. But that's really rare to find in any professional setting.


Other thoughts:
1. There are a lot of really bad handshakes out there. I really, really notice handshakes especially if they're really, really bad. A kiss on the cheek can be really forgettable, but not a bad handshake.
2. If someone I had a really long professional relationship with (such as a past president) started shaking my hand hello, I believe I'd miss the hug or kiss part. And when I say long professional relationship, there are some I've known more than half my life and spent huge amounts of time with. But the same is true for more recent relationships too. Isn't the affection the good part of what can come of a professional relationship?

3. Developing genuine affection, and even love, for colleagues of both sexes does happen. It's not romance, but friendships can be strong enough that they're in your heart. And that's a good thing. A male colleague who could have died earlier this year told me he loved me at a recent business conference, and I said I love you back. And I do. And I'm confident he says it to men he loves too. At some point you're just confident enough in your own skin and you've lived life and death long enough there's no down side to expressing care. And it feels really, really good to say it and not just feel it.

Thanks David ... fun topic. What do you think: Is a kiss more than a kiss?

1 comment:

David M. Patt, CAE said...

Hey, Cindy, some men don't fish off the company dock. They merely dip a toe in the water when they get a chance.

Kissing is a social activity, not a business activity, and shouldn't occur onstage. You can kiss all you want later.

There's a lot of gender discrimination in the association world and it would be easier to end it if both men and women recognized - and stopped - such behavior, even when it's a familiar custom (that's when it's the biggest problem).