“So,” a friend told me, “My friend was told off by a French lady for kissing her baby on the lips. Apparently, ‘lips are for lovers’”.
We were not sure whether to laugh or scoff, so we did both.
I came home and told Mr S this, laughing. He replied, laughing, “Well, it’s true.”
Mr S has a great sense of humour. It’s the sort where the recipient of the joke is often offended, or everyone sitting around the table laughs politely, if he’s lucky, while casting sideways glances at their neighbours, the air heavy with, “Is he serious, or is that a joke?”
Of course, he was joking, I’d seen him kissing Chicklet on the lips before. Just to be sure, over the next few days I checked him kissing Chicklet. I suddenly realised that the Gaelic nose acts a screen when it comes to pinpointing the “kissing spot”. After a few days of surrepticiously observing, so as to not change the subject’s behaviour (hey, I’m not an amateur anthropologist for nothing), I concluded that this latest joke, was indeed not a joke.
“Kiss him on the lips.” I suggested playfully.
“Nope. We don’t do that,” “We”, you understand, is French People, “And Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong.” That’s the name of a good, but irritatingly titled, oft-cited, book.
“Breastfeeding.” I replied, “Breastfeeding was unfashionable until recently, because of the French argument that ‘breasts are for lovers’ and look now, everybody’s talking about and doing it.”
He was stumped (a good moment in Franco-British relations). It seems I may have proven that Sixty Million Frenchmen can, sometimes, be Wrong.
And there is, sometimes, a grain of delight in at winning the small battles. As for Chicklet’s lips, he’ll just have to make do with millions of kisses from Mama instead.