You darn read that right.
First time I heard “Puszi Puszi,” I was in a local bar being confronted by a middle aged man as I attempted to leave the establishment.
“Pussy Pussy,” is what I heard. His eyes watery and breath beery.
And as he gazed at me expectantly, the thoughts that raced through my through my mind and subsequently danced into my eyes, was, “ummm excuuuuuuse you???”
Shift body posture backwards, arch eyebrows skyward, flare nostrils menacingly.
It means, “kiss kiss.” It’s a Hungarian saying used in departure as you kiss the other person on each cheek.
Only I did not know that.
What I knew, was that some words are universal and those words were fightin’ words.
How fortuitous that my colleague (to be referenced here as Steve Rogers also known as Captain America) quickly intervened to explain that middle aged man’s actual, good intentions.
Apparently that word is not as universal as previously thought.
And how fortuitous to have Steve Rogers witness my cultural mix-up so that he will have the longevity of a joke that keeps on giving.
Ahhh. Puszi Puszi.
I remember a time in my life when physical contact with strangers and/or acquaintances was limited purely to accidental bump-ins and the unfortunate midnight groper. However, Europe apparently believes that face to face contact between all people is good etiquette.
NEURONS FIRE IN RAPID SUCCESSION. PANIC.
I don’t even touch my family this much. I mean, I certainly don’t kiss them.
Unfortunately, Europe never took into consideration my being American and my profound lack of mental stability.
Can you imagine Americans kissing each other on the cheek?
Your gun is digging into my hip.
Okay, and second part, this whole new level of interpersonal intimate contact is giving me a whole new neurosis and crazy train to obsess about.
The other night we were out with friends at a local bar (the same local bar of Puszi Puszi origin) and a colleague from our school happened to come in. We all greeted him with a kiss kiss each and he went on his merry way.
However, I think there is a particular, delicate, casual way one is supposed to kiss kiss. Like maybe they all learn this at school so by the time they are all adults they have a puszi puszi so gentle and graceful that it would shame a butterfly.
That is not what I did. The first cheek of my colleague, I managed alright. 2nd cheek… well I guess maybe due to the angle I was sitting at and the direction of his momentum… I don’t know… but the 2nd one was a whopper. I planted an audible, fat, slobby, full contact kiss all over his cheek.
It was not casual.
It was not delicate.
It was not graceful.
There was significant force.
A wet mop on tile has made less squelching sounds.
And as soon as it happened, the weirdness descended (at least I think it did… can everybody else feel that? Oh my god what have I done….)
And he departed and went inside.
Now while the rest of my friends resumed their conversation, I spent most the night inside my little powder keg of a brain thinking, “oh my god what the fuck was that?! Way to go Bree… you have to see this person every day and you totally just slimed his face! He’s gonna think your the green glob monster from Ghostbusters!
Wait… do they even have Ghostbusters here?
That’s not the point Bree!
How do we fix this situation?
Pretend it never happened.
That won’t work.
Oh god. He’s looking over here.
No he’s not.
Yes he is.
Laugh good-naturedly so he can see you’re a normal human. Pretend you’re engaged. ha ha conversation! See you can do it!
The rumors are going to spread. Everyone at school is going to know that you’re the green glob puszi puszi kisser.
You’re cool, you’re cool.. you’re overthinking this. He probably didn’t even think anything weird happened, it’s all in your head.
Who are you kidding? Of course he noticed.
There was a slime trail.
You’re the American slimer.”
It does not pay to live inside my brain.
Now, this happens every time I have to puszi puszi.
For instance, we went to Portugal last week on our spring holiday and we met some of my friend’s friends. In Portugal, because it’s Europe too, they also do the kiss kiss. (Though it’s not called Puszi Puszi and saying that will definitely raise eyebrows.) And of course, because of that one incident, I am now hyper aware of my Puszi Puszi, and must approach this situation with as much caution as landing a Boeing 747.
- Ensure I am on level ground. (An unfortunate tilt could up the velocity and increase the rate of mistake and/or slime. Last minute corrections are not recommended.)
2. Ensure I have laser focused my landing spot. (inaccurate landing, probably worse than violent inertia.)
3. Ensure I intend to start on the opposite cheek as my opponent. (Face dancing from side to side is more awkward than it’s walking counterpart.)
4. Ensure I “spot” between opponents. (Trading off opponents with puszi puszi can give one the spins and a sense of vertigo, therefore nullifying the effects of efforts 1-3.To “spot” is a dancing term used when spinning, you focus your eyes at one location every turn to satisfy your visual balance system.)
5. Ensure I’ve prayed for the best. Even with excessive effort, a last minute fumble could always result in obscene awkwardness later. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Of course, my friend’s group of friends had no idea what a nut job I was/am. So we circled around the puszi puszi until it was evident that I was going to have to participate.
Now I will spend the rest of the week obsessing if my puszi puszi was too clumsy and/or aggressive. Has the American slimer struck again?
I am leaving a war path of slime.
Some of you may be thinking, “hey, if it bothers you that much, why don’t you just NOT do it?”
Well simply put, I think it’s more off-putting to refuse your puszi puszi than to give a bad one. I don’t want to be THAT person. Y’know THAT person who everyone thinks that they think they’re took good to give out their Puszi Puszi. Besides, it’s so prevalent that when you don’t participate you make the other person feel weird. Really, this is how I help others. Imagine if you went in for the Puszi Puszi and I just bear-hugged you instead while tucking my head deep inside my neck like a turtle. You’d feel pretty weird.
Some of you may be thinking, “hey, why don’t you air Puszi Puszi? That you way you don’t have to touch another human being with your slime-laden lips!”
Guys, that’s apparently rude.
It’s like going to see Aerosmith and then they play air guitar.
You don’t air Puszi Puszi.
It’s just not done.
It’s the mean girls equivalent of etiquette.
I think the only solution is for me to don my butterfly wings (store-bought) and learn this ghastly, physical, cultural tradition.
In the meantime, I need some volume control on this crazy train.
See…? Portugal gets it.