First, let me state the following: I have never had a man kiss my hand as a gesture of introduction.
That all changed yesterday when I was leaving campus; I was introduced by a colleague to an Irish gent who assists with our university’s travel abroad program in Ireland. He was visiting from across the pond, checking out our campus, and meeting folks. When we were introduced, the gentleman said, “May I?” I put out my hand for a shake, which he turned over to the top side, brought to his lips, and proceeded to kiss.
In this day of “women in the boardroom,” “women in power,” “women running for president,” “women’s movement,” how did this make me feel, you might ask? I fight for the woman just like the next liberator.
Actually, it made me feel very well, indeed, thank you.
It was charming—and as a fiction writer, I’m all about charm. The unexpected. The character who, if only for a moment, does something stunningly surprising.
When I told my husband that a man “kissed my hand today,” he said, and I quote: “What year is this?”
Has he forgotten that I get lost in Jane Austen? That I watch every corny movie and will set my DVR for all the Hallmark flicks about to grace us this holiday season? That there’s not a theatrical romantic comedy I won’t see? That in my own novel, love does, indeed, triumph?
I’m still smiling.
It pleasantly caught me off guard, and I won’t apologize for the brief enjoyment it gave me. I was transported to a time of chivalry and manners, gallantry and courtship. It was old-fashioned. It was unconventional.
For a brief moment, I was Lizzie Bennet.
And I liked it.