So, I don’t even know from which part of my social media this popped into my world, but this column from Gaper’s Block crossed my path the other day. This woman, Niki Fritz, wrote a post called “Chicago Dating 2.011: The First Kiss.” And from the get, I don’t get it. She says:
The weight we give to the first kiss seems to be disproportionately heavy considering the silly physicality of it, the putting together of two relatively unimportant body parts. And yet for as important of an act as this seems to be, I don’t think I have been fully sober for a first kiss since I was 12.
Okay. I could say quite a few things, given the rest of her post is about the fact that she doesn’t seem to have too many sober kisses. But, that’s really not going to be where I go with this for a variety of reasons. No, the thing I couldn’t take about this was the first *sentence.* Let’s work backward, shall we?
“Relatively unimportant body parts?” Trust me, guys, I actually kept this blog post up in a tab so I would make myself write a rebuttal. A rebuttal that she probably will never see, but nonetheless, it will make me feel better for sticking up for the kiss, an act which I hold in the highest regard. Relatively unimportant? Okay. I don’t know about YOU, but I think the lips/mouth are pretty damned important. Even in their most utilitarian form, they’re for oh, eating and talking and tasting and stuff. Pretty important, hey?
And then there’s the matter of the fact that they’re super sensitive, they are something to be kept pretty well-guarded. You don’t go around putting your mouth on just anything, or putting just anything in your mouth — unless you’re two and figuring out all that mouth stuff out (whatever, old Freud). I think there’s a lot to be said about how important the mouth is, both in regular life and definitely when it comes to sexual/sensual matters.
Then there’s the “silly physicality of it.” I’ve said it here, I’ve said it in online dating profiles. I’ll say it a million more times. The art of the kiss and the art of making out is COMPLETELY underrated. There’s all these Cosmo and Glamour articles about sex. “What your man wants in bed” (Great blowjobs and doggy style and if he’s watched a lot of porn, anal sex … but they’re not saying THAT in those magazines, kids. You need Dan Savage for that); ” Top __ secrets about _____” (Which they repeat ad nauseam throughout the year in different forms — I haven’t picked up one of these magazines in a LONG time, but I guarantee, that’s what’s in there right now.); and I just looked — “The Naughtiest Sex Tips of 2011” and “The Magic Way to Touch Your Guy” (Yep, I’m not making that shit up. Still right on the money.) So, my point BEING … everyone’s talking about sex. Which is awesome, no doubt. But it means the kiss/making out are completely underrated (my original point).
And for me, that’s the essence of sexiness. If you are a bad kisser, ugh. Then I might as well *be* a prostitute. You can grope me, suck on me, fuck me, but you don’t have my heart or soul. It’s just all robot work. You get me with the kiss. And the “silly physicality?” WHAT? Isn’t that the point of that sort of thing? Being physical? Hands in hair, side of head, trailing down neck? Figuring out just exactly how much tongue when? Hard then soft; just a little, then a lot; really tender, then super passionate; somewhat dry, then practically drinking the other person’s saliva? Too much? Sorry, but that’s the deal with kissing. There’s all those different options, and if you’re a great kisser, I want them all in different proportions at different times. I want to have short, lingering kisses at red lights. I want hour-long make-out sessions. I want to have sneaky kisses as we round the corner just before entering a party. I want to have crazy passionate kisses as foreplay. I want to have kisses in the morning. I want kisses in the afternoon. I want kisses before bed at night.
There is nothing silly about the physicality of a kiss unless you want it to be. The physicality of a kiss is the best part. *Especially* the first one. How awkward it is. Those moments right before. Is he? Is she? Will we? The sexual tension is palpable. When they talk about electricity or chemistry, that’s not even a metaphor at that point. I’d be willing to bet that if the right kind of scientists got involved, they could absolutely measure the energy created between two people just before that first kiss. It’s absolutely tangible.
And as far as “the weight we give to the first kiss,” I’d say it’s worth the weight. Aside from a Hollywood/European ritualistic kiss, a kiss is reserved for family, close friends and when transformed, acts of sensuality and sexuality. For instance, aside from a few rare exceptions, humans are the only species of animals that mate face to face. That engage in the art of the kiss. Mutual meeting of the lips and tongue and teeth, if you’re careful about it. That’s a human characteristic. Dogs don’t kiss one another. It’s a very intimate act. Or, to get really low-level pop culture, let’s replay the conversation Vivenne and Edward have in the beginning of “Pretty Woman”* when she’s still just a pretty prostitute and he’s still a class-A asshole:
Vivenne: What do you want?
Edward: What do you do?
Vivenne: Everything. But I don’t kiss on the mouth.
Edward:Neither do I.
She’ll do any sex act for money, but she won’t kiss on the mouth. Get it? It’s too intimate. It’s too sacred. It’s too much about love. So there’s weight there, there’s gravitas to be given to a romantic kiss. There’s something to be given over, a part of you to be exchanged. Even at its most animal, there’s even the idea that your neck is exposed; you’re at your most vulnerable moment.
I know I’m a hopeless romantic. I know that I am a fervent cheerleader for the kiss. I know that I love to give arguments for the makeout session. But to suggest that a first kiss is nothing more than a throwaway or that we place too much importance on it? Never. In fact, I can’t even find people who seem to kiss the way I like, much less find someone who thinks that it’s that big of a deal. I’d love it if we went back to the days of the long courtship and days of many nights of necking to save ourselves a lot of heartache in the end. But, that’s just me. I’m a sucker for the (great) kiss.
*I KNOW I am not supposed to like “Pretty Woman,” either as a feminist or as someone who might even pretend they like nice things — music, film, culture. But I fucking do, okay? I like Richard Gere. I like Julia Roberts. (Sue me. Sue me.) I like the stupid ass story. I like the stupid ass dialogue. I like the stupid ending. I know, I know, I know. Sometimes, you like shit that is stupid. TOO BAD.