Surely Mr Gee, this all comes down to the simple argument of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do…” Or at least most of the time.
The only reason I can see for an expat avoiding or even refusing or do “la bise” with another expat (and I know many who do) is because they have a fundamental issue with the double kiss greeting.
Don’t get me wrong, it has its flaws. For example, just do it without making a sound with your mouth and you'll see how ridiculous it can seem.
Plus having to go round all the guests at a dinner table or party in France to fake kiss everyone twice, knowing that you’ll probably never speak to them again, just makes the ritual seem a waste of time and energy sometimes.
But apart from that it’s a fairly simple and consistent form of greeting that foreigners should have no resistance to.
When in France or any country for that matter, we adopt certain aspects of the culture, or at least the ones that suit us.
I am yet to push on the Metro with a group of fellow foreigners, or drive a car “up their backside” until they pull over to the other lane, but have shared plenty of aperitifs with them, sat down for hours in a restaurant with them, even left without tipping after a meal with expats.
I’ve played boules with other expats, been to a July 14th fireman’s ball with other expats and had a stand up row with other expats about politics without it coming to blows. I've even nibbled the end of a fresh baguette with fellow expats (but not all at once).
It’s got to the point where greeting expats in France is now more confusing than greeting the French used to be.
You have to ask yourself all these questions before going in for the double plunge: “Are they are a kisser?” or “are they just a waver?” or “maybe they’re a hand shaker” or “maybe a little smile or a nod would be appropriate.”
Surely if we all accepted a double kiss for expat women and blokes it would make life a lot less complicated.
Basically we all go native to some extent and French kissing is far from the worst Gallic trait for us to adopt, hey Gee?