The french kiss. It's the greeting here. And NO, not that french kiss. The other one. You know kiss left cheek, kiss right cheek, with a little squeeze of the arms. It's everywhere here. Man-Woman, Woman-Woman, Man-Man. The french kiss doesn't discriminate. If in doubt when meeting someone for the first time....just do it. It's always appropriate.
It's funny cause in the states when I meet someone for the first time I always consider my options. Do I go for the handshake or is that too formal for the occassion? Do I simply utter "nice to meet you"? The big one is the hug. Once you're moving in for the hug you're committed and you hope that the other person is also going in for the hug. Otherwise a socially awkward moment occurs. It's a mental scramble to choose the most appropriate greeting for the circumstance. Then you hope that you select the right option and no one assumes you're overfriendly or too stand-offish.
So thank goodness there is a universal greeting here that is appropriate for all occassions. A real no brainer. The french kiss came over with french colonialism which the younger generation is pushing away from and returning to more Moroccan roots. So while they will accept your french kiss, if you wanna make some Moroccan friends for life you can do the Moroccan greeting. Place your right hand over your heart (like you're doing the pledge of alligence). This gesture means you're in my heart. You can do this with or without saying "Salam Alikoom" which means "peace onto you". While it requires no physical contact, the sentiment is so much more intimate I just haven't brought myself to do it yet. After all, the guys painting my house are not in my heart. I'd much rather french kiss them. And I'm worried if I did the Moroccan greeting that they'd never leave....
Tell your mom she was wrong and that french kissing will take you everywhere you need to go.