Friday, 17 July 2015

Shut up and kiss me

I was surprised to hear that kissing isn't nearly as universal as I thought. It's far from being the normal way of showing your affection for someone. In large swathes of the world, it's considered abnormal or even unpleasant.

A study of 168 cultures around the world shows that in only 46 per cent of them do couples kiss romantically, despite previous research that claimed kissing was habitual everywhere. Even in Europe there were several cultures where kissing was unusual.

I must say that if I lived in one of the non-kissing cultures, I would feel seriously deprived. I adore kissing and do it as often as possible. Women or men, it makes no difference, it's just as exciting. It's such a wonderfully sensual and intimate experience. There's nothing like it.

And how can people actually find it unpleasant? Is it the moistness? The mingling of oral fluids? The exchange of micro-organisms? The physical closeness? The risk of catching something?

Some people just object to public displays of affection full stop. They find them unnecessary or distasteful or narcissistic. They believe such effusive gestures should be kept private, and preferably kept in the bedroom.

Personally I enjoy seeing couples romantically entwined, freely showing their love and tenderness for each other. It's an uplifting sight in a world where many people feel alone and neglected.

Of course most British males still recoil from kissing each other, for fear of being thought effeminate or, shudder shudder, homosexual - or just plain weird. They still prefer a handshake or a playful slap on the shoulder to anything more pleasurable. The need to be "masculine" lingers on.

Come on, give us a kiss, mister. You might even like it.

"Shut up and kiss me" - a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter

44 comments:

John Gray said...

" shudder, shudder?"!

Rose Blackthorn said...

I suppose if your culture doesn't include kissing, you don't really know any better.

As for personal experience, I always know when I'm going off a partner, when I can't abide them kissing me or vice versa. Though that doesn't count if I'm in the midst of hayfever season or sinusitis.

Nick said...

John: Oh come on, you know what I mean! Some men are so super-straight, the very idea of being gay sends them into a tailspin.

Rose: Yes, a sudden aversion to kissing is a good sign that something basic is going wrong. That's happened to me a few times.

I can't imagine a society where nobody ever kisses. It's a really strange scenario.

Bijoux said...

I'm all for romantic kissing. However, I admit to not being a big fan of the cheek kissing upon greeting. It feels insincere and contrived to me. I'd prefer just a hug.

Nick said...

Bijoux: I agree, cheek kissing can sometimes feel insincere. But when there's a real sense of affection, it's great. And I love hugging too!

Ursula said...

What do you mean by "kissing"? Air, cheek, mouth, full throttle?

You kiss men, do you? I bet my last breath of hot air that you, Nick, do NOT kiss men - unless there is something you are not telling us.

U

Wisewebwoman said...

I hug and kiss a lot. BUT there is a friend of mine who really goes for it with me and I am revolted and he is impervious to my distaste which says a lot about him. I was sharing this with another friend last night and he said "Oh he lacks empathy he is so self involved". True that.
There is a fine line between friendly kisses and hugs and all out assault.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Ursula: I was thinking mainly of simple mouth-kissing, though I would include cheek-kissing and french-kissing. I guess even I would be a little embarrassed by over-passionate "full throttle" kissing, but hell, it's not doing anybody any harm.

I haven't kissed a man for a while (mainly because I tend to meet conventional straight males) but I can assure you I've kissed many men in the past. When I was younger I had several gay flings and I kissed hundreds of men when I was a supporter of the Gay Liberation Front.

Nick said...

www: Someone who kisses too vigorously is indeed, as your friend says, lacking empathy (or just sensitivity) and too self-involved. I would never kiss someone who clearly didn't want to, nor would I over-do it. I think there's a very obvious line between friendly kisses and hugs and being scarily overwhelming.

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm more of a hugger than a kisser, but I know a lot of people who don't do either. It works for them, but not as well for me.

CheerfulMonk said...

PS I really like this post. Yay, Nick!

Nick said...

Jean: The Northern Irish are very keen on kissing and hugging. It's unusual to find someone who's totally averse to it.

Dave Martin said...

No, no, no, no...... I cannot think of a single situation where I would find it necessary or even desirable to kiss another man - I'm just not wired up that way.
I also dislike the whole kissy greeting thing, made worse by the fact that I don't understand the protocol.
On the other hand, I find passionate kissing with a woman to be most enjoyable, and would be happy to spend more time doing so.
Each to their own of course, and attitudes to any aspect of human behaviour are bound to be as diverse as personalities.

Nick said...

Dave: That's okay, it's not compulsory yet! Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

It sounds as if you could happily spend the entire day kissing an equally passionate woman!

Helen Devries said...

After the social nightmare of kissing in greeting in rural France it's a wonder I didn't go in for an iron mask...

Nick said...

Helen: That bad, huh? I knew the French were keen on kissy greetings, but clearly things are getting a bit out of hand....

Rummuser said...

I am from the land of the Kamasutra. Need I say more?

Nick said...

Ramana: Yes, according to the Kama Sutra, there are at least 30 different types of kissing. We poor ignorant Brits could probably distinguish about three.

Anyway, you may be from the land of the Kama Sutra, but that doesn't mean that you personally are an ardent kisser. For all I know, you might find kissing boring and over-rated.

cedar51 said...

come to New Zealand you might find yourself in a short queue to receive:
https://www.nzte.govt.nz/en/how-nzte-can-help/te-kete-tikanga-maori-cultural-kit/ng%C4%81-mihi-greetings-formal/

I on the other hand, mostly am a hugger. The cheek kissing mode I'm not keen on if the person is not a personal type friend, and usually I'm flummoxed by them/that...

Nick said...

Cedar: Ah yes, the rubbing-noses custom. Quite fun, but not the same as kissing in my opinion.

I suppose cheek-kissing can seem rather odd if you don't really know the person, but I would say the same about hand-shaking. In fact I find hand-shaking totally pointless.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I went to school for a while in Europe, so I got used to the kiss on the cheek in greeting. Among my own crowd, we tend to hug more. I do have family members, particularly kids, I kiss on the cheek.

Passionate kissing (French kissing, I mean) is so purely sexual that I would only do that with a man I was involved with. Not women. I'm not homophobic and am perfectly comfortable with seeing any couple kissing, straight or gay, but I have no sexual interest in other women myself. But I think there are some public limits - kiss or hug all you want, but you don't need to be all-but-having-sex in front of others. Myself, I absolutely love kissing the person I'm involved with and do all the time. I don't imagine I'd miss it if I grew up in a non-kissing culture because how can you miss what you don't even know about? But I'm glad it exists in my culture.

Nick said...

Agent: Indeed, the all-but-having-sex type of kissing is embarrassing and just plain rude. Get a room, people! But as you say, if you were brought up in a non-kissing culture, you probably feel no need for it. Though with today's tidal wave of information about other countries' cultures, you would think people would be curious to try this romantic-kissing malarkey!

tammy j said...

i love to kiss dogs! does that count?
and if it offends any readers 'germ wise'... they are less germy than we are!!!
i'm a bear hugger. i was a kisser of humans when dating. and of course when married to my beloved bob all those years.
there is a post about kissing in my archives nick... found up at the top... for the love of zeke... a drop down box showing archives.
the post was titled 'dry kisses and time.'
i am a good kisser. but that art is lost to me now in the mists of time! LOLOL!
i live in a john wayne culture here on the prairie. need i say more?
but even john wayne could kiss with the best of them! just ask maureen o'hara!
another great post nick! :)

Nick said...

Tammy: Oh yes, kissing dogs very much counts! I don't see any dog-kissing round here though, it's just the usual stroking and fondling. I must start a new trend!

I'm sure the art of kissing is not lost to you. You just need to find some willing recipients!

I must check out your kissing post....

Keith Smith said...

I am not a Muslim, that's obvious, but I do have several friends who are. If I meet them in the street I shake hands briefly with the men saying the usual greetings, but I am not allowed to kiss their wives/girlfriends on the cheek or touch them. No hugs allowed either.

Nick said...

Keith: Not allowed to kiss, hug or touch their wives or girlfriends? That's pretty strict. And presumably that's the rule laid down by the men rather than the women, who would probably be quite happy to kiss or hug.

Liz Hinds said...

I don't like to be kissed on the lips except by my husband. That is too intimate. I generally prefer hugs I suppose.

I still remember seeing our son off to scout camp when he was about 11. We both hugged and kissed him and then watched as his best friend shook hands with his father.

Nick said...

Liz: Okay, we cater for all tastes! (or rather, not wanting to taste anything but food, ha ha). Yes, isn't it strange that so many guys still won't try anything more friendly than a stiff handshake?

kylie said...

i once went on a couple of dates with a guy who was not much of a kisser. He used to compliment me on my kissing but i. just. couldnt. return. the sentiment.
after the second date he never asked me out again :)

Nick said...

Kylie: Hopefully he got the message and improved his kissing technique with other women. Either that or he's left a trail of dissatisfied women behind him....

kylie said...

he spent some of his best years locked up and is still single at, i guess, nearly 50

Ursula said...

Afterthought, Nick, and not to rile you:

You espouse on kissing, not last man on man, yet, and oh oh oh haven't I wondered about this over the years of reading your blog, once more the photo accompanying your post shows a woman - or, in this case, TWO women (kissing). Why don't you put your spit where it belongs?

U

Nick said...

Kylie: I wonder if his single status is entirely due to his kissing deficiency or whether other factors are involved?

Nick said...

Ursula: You know very well that you either distort whatever I say or you use it against me, or both, so I wouldn't trust you with any of my innermost secrets. You'll just have to guess why I prefer the photographic company of women rather than men.

Keith Smith said...

Oh dear. I'm going before the fight starts. N vs U !

Ursula said...

Keith, there is no contest between N and U. If I put my mind to it Nick wouldn't stand a chance. Not my assessment of my powers, that of those who know me. However, believe it or not, I am a "nice" (oh my god do I hate that most nondescript of all words) person. To put it another way, and maybe Nick may find this mildly amusing: Nick reminds me of a winkle. You need a hairpin to get him out of his shell.

Out of his shell. We are getting there. However, judging by his reply to my last observation, he proves - like so many of his ilk - a bit coquettish. It's now up to ME to "guess" why you, Nick, "prefer the photographic company of women rather than men"? Really? Purleese. How naive do you think I am? And I do think of myself as so naive in the ways of the world it's embarrassing.

Hugs and kisses,
U

Nick said...

Keith: Ursula and I have been sparring partners for years. We both give as good as we get. No egos were harmed in the making of these comments!

Nick said...

Ursula: A winkle? That's a new one. Which reminds me, I was desperate for a pair of winkle-pickers as a teenager.

Oh and also coquettish. "A playful sexual attraction; flirtatious." Oh goodness, I was always hopeless at flirting. But perhaps you're putting the emphasis on playful rather than flirtatious.

I've no idea how naive you are, if at all. I would have to observe you in your natural habitat. Which is probably a chaise-longue on which you recline elegantly, firing off caustic comments into cyberspace.

Keith Smith said...

Who needs enemies when you've got Ursula. I love the "firing off caustic comments into cyberspace". I'm just grateful she hasn't found my blog!

Nick said...

Keith: If Ursula finds her way to your blog, you'll be in trouble. She's a big bundle of mischief.

Grannymar said...

Nick,I am still in Dublin and not due home for a day or two. This is the first blog post I have read in days, I will save my comments on the subject until I see you. You know my thinking. ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar: Actually I don't think I do know your views on kissing. I imagine you're a bit like Liz - the only person you would kiss on the lips would be a husband. But I suspect you're happy enough with cheek kissing.

Ms Scarlet said...

Germs. That is all I am staying. Plus, I am too short.
Sx

Nick said...

Ms Scarlet: True, millions of germs are spread by kissing. Though most of them are harmless. And we pick up germs all the time anyway from people's skin, people's breath, whatever. But I can see shortness would be a problem if many people are taller than you. Some ingenious manoeuvring might be called for.