Were you brought up to kiss, hug and embrace those you only knew quite slightly? Most people, I think, used to be quite reticent on this score. The kiss and the cuddle might be a family thing - although even among families, not all were kissy-huggy - but the "social kiss" wasn't a common feature of society here.
That's the 'mwah! mwah!' cheek kiss exchanged by the ladies who lunch and just about everyone else in recent years. Unsure of whether one or two kisses were expected, a decade or so ago I consulted a London etiquette expert, asking which was socially correct. "Two in London, one in the country," she ruled, firmly.
Since then, I've duly been a promiscuous and prodigious kisser. I've kissed people I don't know at all and, on introduction, complete strangers have planted a soppy kiss on my cheeks.
There have been hugs galore, without discrimination of acquaintance, friendship, or affection. Since kissing and hugging became de rigueur, I've submitted to embraces from people who I don't particularly like and who don't particularly like me. All in a good cause.
But what was the cause? The social pretence that we all get along just fine and are kind to one another. Life would be brutal and crude without social pretence, yet there were times when the situation could be embarrassing.
For example, one couple with whom I'm friends: the husband is a kisser, the wife is not. It's just a question of personality.
So, when I've encountered them, I've not been sure whether to do the kissing ritual with the husband and omit the wife, which might seem odd. The uncertainty induces social anxiety.
Another example: an older man I know kisses me on both cheeks every time we meet. He's a perfectly nice chap, but I don't, on all occasions, want to be kissed - say, at the checkout at the local supermarket.
But there's the matter of social precedent: once you start the practice of kissing someone you know, it's awkward putting a stop to the habit. You might hurt their feelings.
There have been occasions when you're not sure whether a kiss is expected, or not. An old school friend you haven't seen for years? An old rival in love, or work?
I think my etiquette mentor would say: when in doubt, kiss. Although there have also been embarrassing moments when one party lunges forward for the anticipated kiss and the other proffers a more formal handshake.
Well, the pandemic has put a stop to all these little social worries. Now we are enjoined to kiss no one.
It's been sad, holding back from feelings of warmth towards family and friends, but it's been a relief not to have to worry about the social-kissing decision.
When did the rules change from reticence and formality to the kissy-huggy? I'd suggest TV game shows and talk programmes had a big impact, when showbiz types manifested their effusions by greeting hosts and guests with kisses and hugs.
It didn't used to be like that: watch panel shows on YouTube from yesteryear - the American What's My Line? is fascinating - and notice how correct, polite and shy people used to be. Formal modes of address - "Mr" and "Miss" - prevail and the big congratulatory gesture is the rather stiff handshake.
Another, perhaps unexpected, influence was the outcome of Vatican II, the Catholic Church's endeavours to make religious life more accessible and collegiate - from which arose the ritual of the "kiss (or handshake) of peace".
Nuns, especially, who until then had been wearing 17th-century habits, were encouraged to let themselves go, hug a little, in the expression of "charism".
John Banville tells a hilarious story about his mother, a sensible Wexford woman, being appalled by this religious lovey-dovey approach.
When her enthusiastic neighbour in the pew insisted on embracing her, she snapped: "Ah, will you leave me alone, for Christ's sake!" Mrs Banville was evidently old-school about such personal intimacies.
And as society in general loosened up, kissing and hugging were encouraged by the various influencers of our age. It was deemed healthy to be more tactile.
Therapists said it was good for our serotonin levels to give and exchange hugs and kisses. Babies deprived of cuddles had lower mental development. Men were encouraged to bear-hug and lose those false masculine inhibitions of stand-offishness.
Then there was the Continental influence, which grew with the expansion of budget holidays to the Med.
In Latin countries, they not only kiss on both cheeks - they sometimes kiss four times on both cheeks. So let's be more like the warm Latinos.
Thus did kissing and embracing expand and plenty of people welcomed it and practised it. But will we go back to the kissing game after lockdown? Probably not. I'd bet we'll revert to the way we were and resume the social reticence of yore.
And, for some, it will be a relief.