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Cultures Differ: The Kiss

Dedicated to the memory of our wedding day!

A year after Oct. 17. 2016…ย 

The Kiss; the remarkable end to every American fairytale; from Walt Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, to the newest adventure they will come up with next year! Almost every fairytale ends with a kiss. As an American, or someone who follows American literature, you’re raised with this suspense of anticipating the Kiss. It marks and expresses the unconditional Love the two heroes share! It resembles the end of all hardship the heroes get over.

And it is also what’s expected after the groom and the bride hear the words “You may now kiss the bride” …

Not in my case, it didn’t happen! Just imagine all the American weddings you witnessed on TV or in movies! I couldn’t laugh enough when my friends sent me the picture above. From every angle, there is a shot! I hoped to God that David doesn’t notice the awkwardness this picture is! But he did! The gentleman he is didn’t say a word during or even after the wedding. Only when he saw the picture, “I was so disappointed” he said, “The kiss is an American tradition, and you awkwardly didn’t want to kiss me”. I couldn’t explain enough how culturally, it was not Saudi at all.

My Saudi friends, you would understand, right? We don’t kiss in weddings or even in public places! I remember exactly how I felt in that moment trying shyly to direct his lips to my forehead or cheeks! He kissed me in the cheeks but again he leaned down to kiss me on the lips and I awkwardly stole a quick kiss! Maybe it would have been easier if my two Saudi friends weren’t there watching. All eyes were on me, and the Saudi within me refused all that attention, let alone an intimate act that is frowned upon if expressed publicly!

This is one of many incidences I have to deal with on daily basis, trying to bring two cultures closer. I refuse to completely assimilate and lose my Saudi identity. It’s all I have, specially when I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to adopt another identity. Anyway, the cultured inside my husband or me are always puzzled of how much we differ. It takes some deep serious explanation every now and then. We have our nights of “Let’s talk about culture for a second”. They’re fun most of the time. They get frustrating in others. But overall fun.

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