Found out something very useful today (which makes me realise just what a newbie I still am to Russia). I have noticed that men shake hands a lot; but when I am in a group, often as the only female, I am never included. It is those very ordinary everyday habits that confuse - I couldn't work out what the etiquette is. Do women not shake hands? When do I do the hug thing, or the cheek kissing business (if ever)? With whom is what the norm?
Well, it turns out, according to one of my older Russian colleagues, that a man will never shake hands with 'a lady', unless she puts her hand out first, in which case he will be very glad to shake it. So now I can join in with all the everyday male handshaking. But I forgot to ask him what the deal is when I meet another female stranger/acquaintance/friend. I haven't noticed women shaking hands very much.... so I need more advice here. What kind of greeting(s) should I do in this case?
Oh, and I should mention that the photograph was taken this weekend at my local park which fills up with older people on a Sunday afternoon who, I understand, then dance the tango.
Typically for me, I witnessed the beginning - which seems to involve many stand-up group picnics and some serious drinking - but, as usual, missed the main event, i.e. the dancing.