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Topic: Kissing the hand (baise-main)  (Read 5712 times)
« on: November 10, 2011, 05:21:38 PM »
Gerta Offline
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When a member of royalty (female) was introduced to a man (ex. a general or governor)  for the first time, would she extend her hand for the baise-main and then pull the hand away or would it be more appropriate to offer the hand after she had already made his acquintance or would just a nod of the head be sufficient?  Also, when presented to a woman for the first time, would the same rule apply?
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Reply #1
« on: November 11, 2011, 01:30:51 PM »
Clemence Offline
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I believe it all depended on wheather it was a married woman or not. Only married women tended their hands to be kissed.
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Reply #2
« on: November 11, 2011, 11:38:58 PM »
Sunny Offline
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I knew that kissing the hand of an unmarried woman was seen as an insult or an attempt to seduce her. Only a married woman of a upper class could give her hand to be kissed.
But i also know that people of the uppest class, they did not need to be married. E.g. OTMA gave their hands to the sailors before get on the Standart and before get off; they also gave their hands to be kissed to soldiers during parades - of course they were not married! I'm not an expert in this field, but i think this was because they were the girls whose rang was the uppest in society - the daughters of the anointed father tsar! No other woman in the world - except their mom and their grandmama - was at their level.
All other women - had to be married to have their hands kissed.
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Reply #3
« on: November 12, 2011, 06:10:25 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Interesting point.

I wonder, what about widowed ladies? Did they give their hands to be kissed?

Ann
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Reply #4
« on: November 12, 2011, 10:31:45 AM »
aleksandr pavlovich
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Interesting point.

I wonder, what about widowed ladies? Did they give their hands to be kissed?

Ann
 I can well remember my elderly widowed (maternal) grandmother initially offering her hand to certain others, including myself.  As a child at the time, I viewed it more as a gesture to her age, rather than status per se.........after all, she was just "Grandmother." Though I saw her infrequently, she was the only grandmother I remember.  My conversations with her were brief and always in answer/s to her questions.  Regards,   AP.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 10:51:43 AM by aleksandr pavlovich » Logged
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« on: November 12, 2011, 10:48:54 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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AP

Thank you for confirming what I thought - that widows did have their hands kissed.

My grandmother (the only one I knew) was also a distinguished elderly lady.

Ann
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Reply #6
« on: November 12, 2011, 10:55:53 AM »
aleksandr pavlovich
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AP

Thank you for confirming what I thought - that widows did have their hands kissed.

My grandmother (the only one I knew) was also a distinguished elderly lady.

Ann
  You are most welcome, Ann!  Good to hear from you again.  (I have just added another sentence to my response that was likewise typical for me on visits to "Grandmother". )   Best regards,   AP.
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Reply #7
« on: November 12, 2011, 11:57:35 AM »
Sunny Offline
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very interesting both of you, AP and Ann!

Here in Italy kissing hands is not used; it's ages i think since it was used. Maybe because we are a country of peasants? LOL
The only grandma i knew was a simple woman from the country, almost illiterate but really a great woman. For me, kissing hand is something far, unexperienced, something i can find in a novel, in a movie, but not in real life. That's why this thread is so interesting to me.
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Reply #8
« on: November 12, 2011, 04:43:20 PM »
Gerta Offline
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I found an austrian website (but it's written in French) that gives the rules and conditions for giving the "perfect" baise-main.  The viennese consider themselves the experts  at giving the baise-main which was brought to the austrian imperial court from Spain.
[url]www.piaristenkeller.ar
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Reply #9
« on: November 12, 2011, 05:23:37 PM »
Gerta Offline
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This article states that a man's lips never touch the hand and he doesn't look at the woman's eyes when he gives the baise-main but, for heaven's sake, don't look at her low neckline!  If a man greets a group of women, he should greet each of them with the baise-main, but if one of the women is of high class and who is also older and more venerable than the other women present, he will greet that particular woman and is not obliged to greet the others with the baise-main.
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Reply #10
« on: November 13, 2011, 01:32:20 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Not sure how reliable this was, but when I was learning German at school in the mid-1970s, our German textbook informed us that when in Vienna it was the done thing for a gentleman to greet a lady with, 'Kuss die Hand, gnadige Frau,' (sorry about the umlauts) but not do any actual handkissing. So when Herr Whatever greeted his inamorata in this fashion she declared, 'Ach, du bist ganz Osterreicher.'

Ah, the things you remember from being 15!

Ann
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Reply #11
« on: November 13, 2011, 12:11:04 PM »
Mike Offline
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When a Russian empress or grand duchess offered her hand for a kiss by somebody outside the close court circle, it was considered a great grace and a matter of pride. The lucky guy boasted "I've been admitted to the little hand!" [был допущен к ручке!].
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Reply #12
« on: November 13, 2011, 01:29:10 PM »
Gerta Offline
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Not sure how reliable this was, but when I was learning German at school in the mid-1970s, our German textbook informed us that when in Vienna it was the done thing for a gentleman to greet a lady with, 'Kuss die Hand, gnadige Frau,' (sorry about the umlauts) but not do any actual handkissing. So when Herr Whatever greeted his inamorata in this fashion she declared, 'Ach, du bist ganz Osterreicher.'

Ah, the things you remember from being 15!

Ann
Oh how I love that!!  Aren't those Vienesse suave!
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Reply #13
« on: November 13, 2011, 01:32:46 PM »
Gerta Offline
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When a Russian empress or grand duchess offered her hand for a kiss by somebody outside the close court circle, it was considered a great grace and a matter of pride. The lucky guy boasted "I've been admitted to the little hand!" [был допущен к ручке!].
  That's what I wanted to know.  So it was really just the imperial perogative whether they would give their hand or not.
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Reply #14
« on: November 13, 2011, 03:02:08 PM »
aleksandr pavlovich
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When a Russian empress or grand duchess offered her hand for a kiss by somebody outside the close court circle, it was considered a great grace and a matter of pride. The lucky guy boasted "I've been admitted to the little hand!" [был допущен к ручке!].
  Interesting quote, "Mike" !  Thanks, I had never seen it before.  Regards,   AP.
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