“A kiss, when all is told, what is it? An oath taken a little closer, a promise more exact. A wish that longs to be confirmed, a rosy circle drawn around the verb ‘to love’. A kiss is a secret which takes the lips for the ear, a moment of infinity humming like a bee, a communion tasting of flowers, a way of breathing in a little of the heart and tasting a little of the soul with the edge of the lips!”
- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
A few days ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the kiss. We started out talking about culture and cultural differences in general – specifically the French and American culture, as he is from France and although I was not born here in America, I am an American nonetheless.
You might be thinking that we were speaking of the famous “french kiss” or un baiser amoureux, although I assure you it was a different conversation altogether. It was about the actual meaning of the kiss…and how the kiss can change. How it, the kiss, morphs with love, hate, passion or indifference.
I had assumed, in my quite frankly, inexperience and ignorance with the French people that like most Europeans, as they seem to kiss each other all the time, they don’t believe it to be particularly intimate. I stood corrected. And this is where the conversation really began….
He told me that although the French do kiss frequently (much more so than us Americans,) and often people they have just met, it’s only a formality. However the kiss on the lips…has an entirely different meaning and it is not done with just anyone – only those they wish to be romantically involved with and should be taken seriously by the object of their affection. I found this interesting as I had assumed the French to be carefree about sex and sexuality in general so what meaning should be given to a kiss on the lips?
After he and I finished our conversation I did my own research and found that he was spot on. In fact, Salon.com posted a link by the Journal of Sex Research (http://www.salon.com/2003/06/20/french_3/) in which it was found that “the French have fewer partners overall than Americans, maintain more long-term committed relationships, are more likely to be monogamous (surprise!), and enjoy more frequent sex. (Sixty-nine percent of single Frenchmen and 85 percent of single Frenchwomen report fidelity to one single sexual partner, compared to 48 percent of American men and 66 percent of American women.) But one of the most striking differences was between older French- and American women. The study reports that after the age of 50, American women are 10 percent less likely than Frenchwomen to be living in a couple.”
“But they are so open about sexuality” I thought to myself….I digress – let’s get back to the subject of the kiss…
I asked him if his kisses to his loved one had changed with his feelings for her – with time, with work, with life, with desire or lack there of. He told me they most assuredly had.
I had never thought so much about the kiss specifically before. I’m a very physical person and quite touchy-feely and kissing has always been important to me, but touch in general has always been important to me. However, when I took out the touch in general and focused only on the kiss, I realized that for me, it really does change with my feelings for someone.
If I could have a journal that with only three words to describe every single kiss when in a relationship what would it look like? If it filled journal after journal because the relationship lasted many years how would the descriptions change almost daily with just three words? The first day, the first week, the first year and so on…
I considered it. What would one of my relationships “look” like on paper with regards to the kiss only?
Kiss #1 – short, sweet, nervous
Kiss #2 – sweet, want more
Kiss #3 – open, romantic, nervous
Kiss #30 – sexual, loving, passionate
Kiss #1432 – hard lipped, rushed
Kiss #1433 – rushed, angry, absent
Kiss #2788 – passionate, long, luxurious
Kiss #4320 – friendly, loving, infrequent
Kiss #4321 – friendly, quick, trying
Kiss #4873 – left me empty
What would one of your journals look like? Likely, even if someone has been married a very long time, the odds of them having only kissed their spouse are very slim, so jog your memories or look at the partner before you, and create a kiss journal…