Un besito

Niña/o saluda.”

Say these words to a Cuban kid and watch as they forget their stranger-danger sensibilities and reluctantly give you an awkward and messy kiss on the cheek.

I’m pretty sure besito is the third word we learn as babies, after mamá and bistec. Then it’s kisses on the cheek for the rest of your life – and for everyone. There is no hierarchy of who gets a kiss on the cheek, it’s truly a socialist movement. Your mom, the neighbor, your friends, the supermarket lady, someone you were just introduced to, the dry cleaner. Everyone is brushing up against your cheek.

But don’t bring your besuqueo to L.A., because it’s hug-town over here. Y nada de apretazón. The L.A. hug and the Cuban kiss on the cheek last the same amount of time. It’s a quick, one-arm hug that allows your chin to go over their shoulder, but the rest of your body should never be close enough for a titty-squish.

So please, aplícate la lección para que no pases pena with your tattoo artist, your stylist or the guy that does maintenance in your building (which are 3 out of the 10 people I’ve attacked with my lips since getting here).

Ok. Un besito que me voy.

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Dimelo.

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