How many of you have ever looked at the Kama Sutra for tips? I doubt it. Every glossy worth its smooth skin has covered this subject and I would in the past get terribly amused. To be honest, wouldn't you rather have a butterfly in your mouth than someone’s tongue fluttering inside in what is clearly a studied exercise?
This, however, is a subject that excites the intellectual. Sheril Kirshenbaum, a scientist at the University of Texas, has written a book The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us. Did George Bush mean that? Anyhow, she has laid bare the whole shebang about how kissing evolved, why people kiss, why some kisses work and others don’t, why people have a phobia of kissing and others don’t, why it is okay in some societies and not so in others. You get the drift.
I understand all these are important aspects of any activity. Do you know the manner in which you clip your toenails can tell you a lot about your past life? You don’t? Neither do I, but I am sure it can be explored. The point is that most of the material is available, and that is how I found out stuff, and it does not even work as relaxed beachside reading. Like, are you aware about something called the ‘hickey kiss’ when all it means is that you get a blue mark that looks like some editing details in galley proofs of newspapers? Oh, ok, it is supposed to be more animalistic, an out-of-control body experience. Then there are all those different areas where a kiss can be administered, and the motives are quite clear. Does anyone need to figure out what a cheek peck and a foot lick really mean?
Way back in the 1930s there was a manual called The Art of Kissing that spoke among other things of the Vacuum Kiss. The man must position himself as he knows and then when his lips are where they should be he must get on to the task of "sucking inward as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange".
I have eaten oranges and as far as I know they don’t have innards. Unless someone means to defrock the fruit and then blow into it or rather from it; sounds more like a conch shell thing. Oranges have slices and the sucking of them is messier than empty or vacuum-like.
The part I dislike about the scientific study, though, is that it says you are more likely to remember your first kiss than losing your virginity. Kirshenbaum, in fact, believes that you can remember 90 per cent of the details of that smooch. I beg to differ and I will provide a counter-scientific theory. While the kiss may have some special memory, it could well have been unmemorable.
How many of you have managed to find a prince by kissing a toad? Or have experienced the kiss of the spider woman? As for virginity, it is culture specific and may matter a whole lot in some societies and not so much in others, and there is also the gender factor – men are less likely to be affected by the loss of virginity than are women, although I believe that men will remember it more clearly because it was a boy becoming man thing. Girls become women when they start menstruating and reading Maupassant after throwing off Mills & Boon. Virginity has a lot to do with giving up oneself and I do not mean to the horse you are riding or the energetic aerobics at the gym that may cause the ruptured hymen.
It has a lot to do with oneself for women and for the conquest by men. Therefore, it is unscientific to believe a kiss will be remembered more.
These theories do start a debate. Did you know that the ‘soul kiss’ is called so because the soul passes through the breath of one mouth to the other? I thought that was the job of resuscitation and the soul kiss, which is how the French got famous, although they call it the English kiss (maybe because you end up with a stiff upper lip), was to cure tonsillitis. But then I am not Woodward and Bernstein and know precious little about Deep Throat.