We’ve all seen the rom-com where the guy and the girl meet and go from hating each other’s guts to falling in love, and at the end of all of them, we see the final kiss - zoom in on the lovers’ lips, zoom out to see the beautiful background of the city where they will spend the remainder of their passionate union…
In real life, lip-locking can look a lot different than it does on the big screen. Think back to when you first heard about kissing, first contemplated the idea that it didn’t spread cooties. I know I’ll never forget the first time I realized the horrific embarrassment potential of kissing with braces on my teeth. Those classmates you saw making out in the hallways between classes just couldn’t wait to kiss the day away, but it’s not like that for everyone. It can be difficult to know what to do to make the kiss a pleasant experience. With the average “first kiss” age being 15 years old, kids are at a totally different phase of life when they start kissing than when they start to perfect the art. Luckily, the middle school doesn’t last forever, and those childhood experiences with the beginnings of romantic feelings change drastically as we mature, including what kissing means to us.
After the social pressure of the “first kiss” wears off and we realize that basically everyone’s first kiss is at least a little awkward and terrible, we can begin to understand how to value physical contact in a way that benefits both partners. The kiss is one of the first, simplest steps to physical intimacy, one of our first experiences with consent and appreciation for equal participation, the enjoyment of the other partner. It’s important that we treat it with the respect and intentionality that it deserves. An article in Psychology Today said that the average person spends two weeks of their lives kissing and the amount of kisses you receive in your life depends greatly on the culture and the family situation you are born into. Many cultures around the world consider a kiss a greeting, with strangers kissing each other on the cheek at their first meeting. For other cultural groups, it is considered a more secretive or discretionary act, only to be done between people who know each other deeply, or only in the context of a romantic relationship. Whatever your view on public displays of affection, I think we can all agree that it is important to show our partner how much we love them!
That brings us to the most important part of our discussion here today - why do we show physical affection in the form of a kiss? Obviously, there is a spectrum of varieties of kissing - the way we kiss our boyfriend over a glass of wine is and should be very different from how we peck our grandmother’s cheek on our way out the door. But both have their own ways of expressing the idea that we are thinking about our care for that moment and that person, that seeing them at this moment is meaningful to us and that we want to commemorate that moment with a physical reminder of love. Take care of the moments, and communicate with your partner to enhance those moments. Make each kiss count!