there is always one who kisses, and one who turns the cheek

French in origin: Il y a toujours l’un qui baise, et l’autre qui tend le joue (quoted in Emma B. Cobb ‘What Did Miss Darrington See?’ in Harper’s Monthly, 1870).

1903 G. B. SHAW Man and Superman 40 Oh, I know you dont care very much about Tavy. But there is always one who kisses and one who only allows the kiss. Tavy will kiss; and you will only turn the cheek. And you will throw him over if anybody better turns up.

1933 J. GALSWORTHY Over the River 267 ‘In your experience, sir, are the feelings of lovers towards each other ever the same?’ ‘I have no experience.’ ‘No experience? You know the French proverb as to there being always one who kisses and the other who offers the cheek to the kiss\?’

1951 N. MONSARRAT Cruel Sea 274 With calm despair, he stirred himself to sum up what was in his mind, what was in his life... Presently he muttered, aloud: ‘Il y en a toujours l’un qui baise, et l’un qui tourne la joue.’

2002 M. BYWATER in Independent on Sunday 3 Nov. (online) The French have it that there is always one who kisses, one who turns the cheek; but things change where the heart is concerned, and there’s no guarantee that because you began as cheek-turner you may not end up as the victim of an adamant devotion.


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