Over here in the not yet federated group of constitutional monarchies, republics, federal republics and proto-republics of the girl, aka Europe, that was seduced by a god, aka as Zeus, disguised as a bull (the devious bastard), the ritual of greeting is variable.

In the tiny little Kingdom of the Oranges, people usually say ‘hallo, hoe maakt u/je het’ , comparable with ‘hello, how are You/you’ — just like Adele sings-, and the answer is ‘goed/uitstekend, dank u/je’, en u/jij? comparable with ‘good/fine, thank You/you’, and You/you? We always respond. Not responding is impolite and strange.

Or: hello, I am Name/surname, how are you’ etc.

Yes, we always ask, and we usually wait for an answer, but sloppiness is invading the norm. Often we say ‘dag’ (good morning, etc.), shake hands and only mention our name/surname if functional. When we meet a friend of the other sex, member of the family or close acquaintance, we exchange kisses, usually three, but there is a tendency to go back to two or even one. It can become rather confusing, with faces hanging mid air to receive the next kiss that is not coming.

People almost always respond to ‘how are you’ with ‘good, thank you’, especially at the first meeting. It is uncommon to mention problems. Hardly nobody will respond with ‘not good’ or ‘bad’.

I didn’t know everybody does better when heard. That is interesting. Doing what better? Anything?

Today I will only meet people in function, i.e. shopkeeper, waitress, waiter, desk clerk at the hotel. That’s because I am traveling in France. The usual ritual here with strangers is to say bonjour/bonsoir. If necessary introduce yourself. If anything more personal is the matter, people shake hands every time they meet. With close friends and members of the family two kisses are exchanged. If people hear you’re foreign, they ask ‘where you from?’ The response ‘d’Hollande’, or ‘des Pays Bas’ is nowadays received with much more friendliness.

Friend of life and beauty and foe of spoilers of life and beauty. Golden marriage. Grandfather. Pianist and micro poet. Dutch, European.

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