Kiss Off … May 23, 2012

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I’ve mulled it over and I’ve decided it is NOT because I’m getting old. It could be that I have an unnecessary preoccupation with evaluating things instead of just accepting them at face value. And speaking of face, what I’m talking about here is kissing.

Kissing should always be considered a positive experience–and perhaps this is why I’m so confused with the reputation that the word “kiss” seems to have acquired over its journey from Eden until now.

French Kiss

French Kiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After all, we have the “kiss of death,” which is a way of marking someone for extinction while expressing possibly a bit of remorse over their demise.

“Kiss and tell”–for those people who enjoy showing slides of their vacation much more than actually traveling.

The title of this essay–“kiss off”–which is more or less the personification of a “Dear John” letter.

Most dastardly of them all may be “kiss my *****” … where some distasteful body part not normally associated with smooching is inserted for an angry effect.

Oh–and I almost forgot to mention KISS–a rock and roll band that religious people told us worshipped Satan (which only confirmed to us that the devil had all the good rock).

How did the word get such bad publicity?? I have some theories. Although kissing has many pleasant overtones, there are certainly some minefields in the experience which we normally don’t speak of because we nervously hope they will go away. But we at jonathots are not afraid of such minor peccadilloes. So let me name the six things about kissing that plague our minds:

  1. Bad breath. When I watch a movie and see people roll over in the morning and kiss, I have to wonder if someone had the intelligence to slip a mint into the mouth. Nothing can ruin a good kiss more quickly than bad breath. Perhaps you can rile up your passions enough to overlook it, but still–in the back of your mind, you are constantly trying to retrieve the flavor of mint.
  2. French kissing. There’s nothing wrong with it–but somewhere along the line, we have convinced a whole generation or two that real, romantic “interfacing” does not occur unless the tongue joins the party. Even Republicans, who normally don’t like anything from the French, prescribe to this particular approach as being superior. Here’s my thought. Sometimes a tongue is just a tongue, but a lip is ALWAYS a lip. (He who has an ear, let him hear.)
  3. Speaking of lips–then there’s lip size. I remember when I was thirteen years old, I was frightened to death that my lips were too big. I had no basis for this terror inciting my soul to near seclusion, and if I had possessed any understanding about the art of kissing, I would have comprehended–the bigger the lips the better the landing strip. Because thin lips can leave you placing your greatest affection on teeth–and although the sentiment remains, the stimulus, at that point, departs.
  4. Then there’s the length of the kiss (which is very similar to Number 5–who pulls away first?–so let me put them together.) Perhaps that’s why the beauty of the first kiss is always extolled by the poets. It is so terrifying that no one is concerned about longevity or has a stopwatch to confirm the barometer of passion. But after a while, when you’ve been with someone, this does become an issue. Matter of fact, it can even be a competition. I’ve even seen kisses which have lost their oom-pah continued, simply out of stubbornness over the individual parties refusing to be the first one to leave the premises. You would think a kiss would have a certain life of its own and there would be a common awareness of when to just let the thing go–but no. Matter of fact, there are many couples who have had long discussions about how “they know the other person doesn’t love them anymore” because their kiss is abbreviated or in some way less than explosive. (There was even a silly song from the sixties that said you could tell a man loved you because “it’s in his kiss.”) There’s enough insecurity in romance without feeling the pressure of the Olympic trials and needing to break some sort of record. Some kisses are long; some kisses are short. Some kisses are awkward; some kisses are memorable. Kisses should never be critiqued. They should be viewed the same way you do when you look at a picture done by your three-year-old as he explains to you that it really IS a horse and not just four brown lines on the paper.
  5. Covered above.
  6. And the final problem with kissing–the peck. Matter of fact, it can cause a peck of trouble. After people have been in a relationship for a long time, they still feel the need to kiss, but it has degraded to this brief brushing of the lips against each other, which barely allows time for puckering. It’s so dumb. People are prideful about it. “He didn’t kiss me good-bye …” “She left without kissing me …” Come on, now. Is a peck really even a kiss? And what does it communicate other than the fact that we are getting old and we might just be afraid that if we pushed any harder with our lips we might break our teeth?

So even though I’m a great advocate of kissing, I am not afraid to discuss the need for improvement. And I must warn you that to ignore the pitfalls of life assures you that you will spend some time in the ditch.

So here’s to kissing. May it ever endure–but let us not be afraid to expose our preferences and our indifferences on the issue. Because if kissing is going to survive into future generations, it will need to be given proper scrutiny. Otherwise, we will eventually think that romance is just “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.” I don’t know about you. That would leave a bad taste in my mouth, leading to bad breath, which, as I told you earlier, may be the greatest guaranteed kiss off of all.

  

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