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    Barack Obama, the fly-swatting, basketball hoop-shooting leader of the free world, has Beyonce going gaga and Gaga in glee at his re-election, while Sarah Jessica Parker wore an Obama T-shirt and Eva Longoria cried.



    Although, it might have been a tear shed at the realisation that now, the whole world knows she has posters of her own films up in her sitting room.

    Oh, what, this old thing? It’s just my movie room, complete with movie posters of movies I was in. I was in the Sentinel (Rotten Tomatoes: 33%) and Over Her Dead Body (Rotten Tomatoes: 15%) but I don’t like to go on about it.

    Anyway, despite my inability to remember to vote for my own Police and Crime Commissioner (along with around 80% of my nation – well done us) I did very much want to vote for Barack. He’s got a nice bum and a calming influence on me, the USA and hopefully the world in general. He’s going to fix things.

    Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri

    This week, he’s busy in Burma, taking off his shoes and meeting people for photo ops, like this one, where he’s seen kissing Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and all round good egg, while he and she attempt to illustrate that they are striking a balance between progress and reform.

    All I can say is, oh thank god, Barack’s pretty much the coolest guy in the world and he still gets the old ‘kiss / hug / handshake’ drama as tits up as the rest of us.

    My husband is the worst perp of them all. If this was a picture of him and Aung San Suu Kyi, guaranteed Gaz would be accidentally kissing her on the lips while she pulled away in horror. He just can’t help himself. He’s a socially inept tomfool, who isn’t helped by a muddled society unsure of itself.

    He’ll usually get home from work with a certain look in his eyes and I know he’s done it again. ‘What happened this time?’ I ask, curling my hands around a cup of cocoa as I get myself comfortable, ready for a ruddy good chuckle at his expense.

    ‘I thought we knew each other well enough for a cheek-kiss!’ Gaz will lament. ‘But she stuck her hand out. It was too late, I was going in for one, so I ended up just grabbing hold of her and forcing her into some kind of weird hug where my lips were pressed into the kiss shape on her ear.’

    Oh dear.

    Another time: ‘We really didn’t know each other well enough for a kiss, I thought, so I stuck my hand out, but she came in for a kiss and I ended up punching her in the crotch!’

    Then there was the time we met up with some old friends. Gaz messed it up brilliantly when he tried to shake the girl’s hand, then tried to make amends by going in for a kiss with the man, who quickly moved away, leaving Gaz lingering mid-air, lips pursed, with no-one to kiss while we all looked at him a bit like you might look at a child who had just wet itself in public.

    These moments mortify him, but he’s not alone. No one really knows what to do – in this country at least – they’ve got it sorted in France and other more romantic, touchy feely nations than ours, where even if they did mess it up, they’d laugh it off without any mortification at all. Does a man shake a woman’s hand? Is two kisses ever appropriate? (No, in my opinion, just the one then let’s step out of each other’s personal spaces pronto.)

    The other day, Gaz and I were standing with a female associate I’d just met that day, Gaz had known for some time. We’d spent the whole day together and built up a rapport, so by goodbye time I was pretty sure it’d be a one-kiss situation, and I was happy with that. But the girl in question was Spanish, which threw some spanners in my works as I prepared to say goodbye – I didn’t know what she might try to do to me. Luckily Gaz went first and royally cocked up his goodbye, so I thought, by learning from his mistakes, I’d be fine.

    He went for the one-kiss, pulled away slightly, only to realise she was going for the two-kiss, so he went back in, only to see she’d given up and was pulling away, so he pulled back, only to see that she’d seen he was coming in for the offered second-kiss, so was coming back. And he ended up in an awkward muttering of ‘ooops, one or two, don’t draw attention to it, ha ha, I’m British, BYE’.

    Me, meanwhile, had witnessed and clocked her two-kiss penchant and was all ready.

    But by my turn, she had clearly realised this funny little English couple were of the one-kiss variety, so she didn’t bother with the second kiss. But I did, even though I hate them, because I saw her do it to Gaz. And so we had a little kiss-dance, which resulted in me wanting to die a bit.

    My favourite of all these faux-kiss-pas is when my friend Mike met his now mother-in-law for the first time. The greeting went so badly that in those vital few seconds where you’re either both on the same page and no awkwardness ensues, or you cock it up royally and years later your mate is still writing about it, Mike managed to end up patting the top of mother-in-law’s head in a mangled mess of aborted kisses and fumbled hugs. He patted the top of her head. Bloody marvelous start to their relationship.


    So, Barack, I guess what I’m saying is, good job on the re-election. Either we’re as cool as you, or you’re as socially awkward as us. I’m good with either, any comparison to a world leader, albeit a comparison I’ve made myself, gets my vote.


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