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Etiquette Q&A: Hand Kissing

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015

Whatever happened to hand kissing?

 Firstly I ain’t no lady, so yer barking up the somewhat wrong tree here.

That is to say that the sad decline of hand kissing is due more to the optioning of the fairer sex, since it is up to the lady to instigate the gentlemanly response of a kiss to the back of her hand.

According to Sam Hane*, noted decorum expert and freehand banjo player available for weddings and funerals, there is a grand total of two (2) socially acceptable times to kiss a lady’s hand:

1)  If you already know the lady, and she offers her hand to be kissed, or

2)  If you are being introduced to her, and she offers her hand to be kissed


Note: “and she offers her hand to be kissed.”

Let’s not surrender this gentlemanly gesture as lost to the ages, however. There exists such a thing, of which my dad was amazingly apt at, as offering a cue by extending your own hand toward hers. It acts like a handshake but you cradle the feminine hand with its palm down. You can from there either continue on, or leave it as a simple handshake — the decision is yours, based on her retaliatory cue.


I will say that the ladies ate my dad, and his hand kissing, up. I will also say that you need testicles the relative size of watermelons to pull this off correctly.


How-to Pull it Off Correctly

  1. Wait a couple of beats for the lady to present her hand. If you aren’t in a Margaret Mitchell novel, you will have to cue her as previously discussed. If she does cue for a hand kiss, make certain that the cue is certain…an overt and obvious back-of-her-hand-to-ceiling gesturing plus noticeable expectation on her part.


  1. To cue her as to your hand kissing agenda, again, as discussed prior, rotate your hand-shaking so that you present your hand palm up, thus creating a cradle for her own. Offer up now a, “My pleasure.”STOP here, if not cued further.


[If cued further]


  1. Hold her hand gently, of course, in yours. Place two to three of your fingers around the bottom tips of her fingers, and your thumb around the outside tips of her middle and ring fingers.


  1. Bow gently, or give the hint of a bow, over the center portion of the back of her hand. Lift her hand slightly toward your lips to shorten the distance between you. OMFG I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS.


  1. Kiss the center of the hand once gently with your lips. According to Sam Hane, once again, do notmake contact with the hand if this is your first time meeting said lady. That would be remarkably scandalous, you wanton swine.


Dad made contact.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure your lips are well dry before kissing the lady’s hand.

Be confident and loose (watermelon balls) when performing this ritual.

This is best when done in such a way as to be informally mocking the formal, by employing its own methods. Dig?

Go get ‘em, tiger.


As always, thanks for reading. Thanks even more for your participatory queries. Those can be sent to me at nsk57033@gmail.com. I will answer all correspodences. If you wish to be answered privately, please note that in your initial correspondence. If made public, names will never be used, even upon request.


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Born in Brooklyn New York, Kaplowitz quickly ran away with the circus and somehow landed as a chef in the Chicago and Baltimore areas. He is a published author of poetry and prose, as well as a well seasoned podcaster and radio guy. Among his hobbies Kap counts writing bios of himself in the third person, casino trips, and walking his Dachshund, Ruby Vondella. Please follow him on Twitter @iamkap to be alerted as to his frequent Thrift Store purchases.

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