The Knigge Society says the over-familiar form of greeting has flourished around German offices in recent years and isn’t confined to any sex. Both men and women are guilty of kissing their co-workers – sometimes, the group says, even twice in the way of the French. Has the Entente cordiale spread further than the French could possibly have imagined?
This disturbing un-Teutonic trend has got the society’s chairman Hans-Michael Klein so concerned that he’s called for a clampdown immediately: ‘Kissing simply gets on the nerves of many at work. It is a form of terror.’ He suggests workers stick to the traditional handshake instead. But for those unable to go cold-turkey altogether, he offers this solution: ‘we are suggesting that if people don't mind it, they announce it with a little paper message placed on their desk,’ he told the BBC.
It seems the Knigge Society’s concern has some foundations. Klein said he had received a number of emails and phone calls this year with people frothing at the mouth over their shockingly osculatory colleagues. The society has also undertaken further research – it’s held a meeting on the issue and surveyed people in the street to get their reactions. The findings concluded that the ‘suspicion for many remains that there is, or may be, an erotic component to the kissing,’ Klein said.
And for anyone now at a loss as to how to greet their colleagues, Klein offers this advice: stick to the handshake. But in case there’s still any confusion, he offers this helpful guide – ‘stand apart from one another approximately 60cm and shake.’