Sunday, March 23, 2008

A kiss...

One of my friends here recently wrote on kissing in the Middle East. It is full of social norms, expectations, and confusing meanings. But suffice to say, I have weathered it decently since it is gender restricted.

Last night, we had several men from Bangladesh come to an movie event put on by a small group of internationals here. They made me nervous at first--all men make me nervous when I am in the ME. Even when I go home to the States, men make me nervous. It is all the staring and leering. But me and my other single female friend did our best to make them feel welcome without being forward. I usually go by my intuition and they didn't scare me. But after the movie, as they were leaving, they each went out of their way to shake my hand. And one of them (I can neither remember nor pronounce their names), took my hand in both of his and kissed it. It was full of thanks and appreciation. I was touched; I felt like a princess; I had been a part of blessing someone and they appreciated it.

There have been many kisses in the world. I am reminded of the lines in the Princess Bride about kisses that left all others behind. This wasn't that kind of kiss, but the contrast between this kiss and another historical kiss hit me hard. Nearly 2000 years ago, another man was kissed, but it was a kiss of betrayal. Even though that man had done and would do more for his betrayer than could comprehended or deserved. And here I was, being appreciated for so little.

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