The Wonder, The Beauty, The Mystery, Of The Kiss Unlocked
" . . . then I did the simplest thing in the world. I leaned down . . . and kissed him. And the world cracked open."-Agnes de Mille
Is it really that simple? Oh, maybe Agnes de Mille didn't know about the hundreds of books devoted to kissing techniques, let alone the others regarding the perfect location for a kiss, how to dress for a kiss, and even how to kiss while wearing braces. But then again maybe self-help books weren't popular in her time. Maybe at the beginning of the century people knew how to crack worlds open with their lips. You think?
According to author Hugh Morris, kissing is an art form. Some people are naturals, while others need all the help they can get. His 1936 work, appropriately titled, "The Art of Kissing" was most likely the first book written especially for the kissing impaired. Pure technique, it was designed to turn ordinary people into byronic philanderers. Reprinted in 1988, it has been perused by curious (and nervous) Valentines around the world.
So how much do you know about kissing? With the help of Hugh Morris, Flirts International, and the charming members of the alt.romance newsgroup, I've compiled some common, and many not so common, opinions concerning what a kiss should be, how a kiss should be, and what to do if a kiss just isn't. Be careful--this is some scary stuff.
"The picture that confronts kissers is one that draws them onward."-from "The Art of Kissing"
Before they share their expertise concerning completely raw kissing "procedure," some kissing connoisseurs (if I may call them that) like to stress the appearance of the lips and teeth. Morris maintains that the sight and even the odor of one's lips is "as necessary to love as is love, itself." Teeth should be purely white and lips should be "frames of cherries." Sometimes it is even desirable to touch the corners of the mouth with perfume to ensure a sweet and pure breath. Hair must be freshly cleaned; if not, it is critical to add some perfume (but not too much!) to the scalp and lengths of the locks. Morris implores his readers to create the odor of "heady wine."
"Don't start wet, with your mouth gaping open and your tongue poking out"-courtesy of Flirts International
All of my sources agree: the lips should be slightly parted or closed at the onset of the kiss. However, each offers a different way to reach this onset.
Approach #1: Hug. A good hug is firm, but not crushing. It requires a relaxed holding of the other, and often includes some small movement, like rocking from side to side. If you choose to hug, gently pull away from the embrace and stare into your partner's eyes as you smile. Shift your eyes slowly to your partner's mouth. The kiss that follows should be a delicate one.
Approach #2: Road trip. Although your destination is the lips, you have to make some pit stops along the way. Begin at the scalp. Lean over to smell your partner's hair (this, of course, is Morris' approach). The moment the tip of your nose touches his/her hair, kiss your partner's head. Depart for the ear. Touch the rim of the ear with your lips and breathe gently. Depart for the neck. Plunge into the nape and gently bite the skin there. Then, with a series of little bites, make your way to the corner of the lips. Lift your lips away slightly and center them.
"Men who just clamp their lips on yours and never move or change the angle of the kiss lose out on the whole rhythm and motion of the kiss. It should be something dynamic and explorative." -someone in an Internet newsgroup
According to Flirts International, kissing should be creative. A simple kiss is a combination of slow, sensual, and mutual touching, tasting, nibbling, and licking and (gasp!) breathing. Using one's hands is essential, but only in non-erotic zones (especially when standing). Open eyes is preferred, but only if one can stand the intimacy. If not, occasional peeks are acceptable (and playful). One should kiss as though he/she has all the time in the world, but not prolong a kiss beyond its natural life. A kiss is dead when, as my best friend said, "I can study Genetics, watch a movie, and kiss at the same time." I hope her boyfriend isn't reading this.
"It should be my wishing that I might die kissing." -unknown poem
It's all about variety. However, if you have varied a kiss by tasting, nibbling, exploring, and diverting your fervor away from the lips and you are still bored, Hugh Morris offers some offbeat (and seemingly painful) deviations from the standard, creative kiss.
Approach #1: The Vacuum Kiss. Open your mouth, as well as your partner's, and suck inward. Morris writes, "as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange." Slowly tear your mouth away, since doing otherwise generates a loud popping noise. Gently kiss the bruised lips of your lover, in an "act of sympathy and condolence that makes the tie between you all the more firm." My opinion: stick to studying Genetics.
Approach #2: The Eyelash Kiss. Cheek-to-cheek, lovers should "enmesh" their eyelashes, one eye at a time. Morris writes, "The contact of the hair of the eyelash is one that is almost indescribable."
Approach #3: The Electric Kiss. When you bite into a Lifesavers candy in the dark, it makes a spark. Hugh Morris evidently didn't know of Lifesavers candy; he believed in using electric current to stimulate a kiss. Really. In his book, he first supports two lovers running around without shoes on a carpet, generating electricity. Then, he offers his knowledge of more powerful shocks, "these can be obtained with the use of an electric vibrator or in fact any device that is worked from a battery and a coil." Genetics is starting to look really good right now.
In the thirties, a marathon kissing contest was held in Chicago. One couple kissed for a straight fifteen hours and won the grand prize. I doubt they ever brought out the power generator, nibbled, or sucked their way through the contest. I doubt they even searched the library for advice. Though they were probably motivated by the desire to win, they were most likely motivated mainly by the desire to be together, for whatever reason. A kiss is and should be a physical display of that desire, be it mere lust or real emotion, for another. So, how much do you know about kissing? If you know this simple fact, you know it all.

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