Air kisses are a worthless piece of shit. Actually, in Paris men's lips usually touch the cheeks of either a woman or a man. Women who are not family members or close friends tend mostly present their cheeks and not actually kiss you, which is perfectly fine with me especially if they are wearing lipstick.
The North American hugging started after I left Canada. I do find it strange. The first time it happened to me, when my sister's daughter-in-law patted my back, I felt like a baby about to be burped.
Yes bjd! Like a baby being burped is a correct description! The pats on the back usually come from parents, aunts, uncles. At the beginning of my relationship with my husband, he found my family hugging a bit strange as his family are cheek kissers but now he hugs everyone! Even his male friends all hug one another.