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What are you doing for International Kissing Day?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 02 July 2019

What a kiss... Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in Gone With The Wind. Picture: MGM

What a kiss... Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in Gone With The Wind. Picture: MGM

Archant

To kiss: touch or caress with the lips as a sign of love, sexual desire, or greeting − should only be executed with the consent of both parties.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge engaged in a public kiss on their wedding day in 2012. Picture: Chris Ison/PA WireThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge engaged in a public kiss on their wedding day in 2012. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire

You may wish to start practising now because July 6 is International Kissing Day.

The aim of the awareness day is "to remind people to recognise the simple value of a kiss between friends, lovers, family, and even pets. International Kissing Day celebrates this enjoyable activity, and the part it plays in cultures throughout the world."

It used to be the stapler resolution of fairy tales, when the kiss from a prince or princess would break event the most strongly-worded magic spell (eg Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Frog, Snow White) but today, the kiss as become extremely complicated.

My Belgian cousins go for three kisses when they greet you, even though one of the most famous Belgians of them all, Hercule Poirot, tends to resist this sort of friendly approach. The French go for two kisses and the British? What do we do, exactly? You might well ask.

A kiss on the lips can be quite continental -French sculptor Rodin's The Kiss when it was at the Wolsey Gallery, in Ipswich.  Picture: LJMA kiss on the lips can be quite continental -French sculptor Rodin's The Kiss when it was at the Wolsey Gallery, in Ipswich. Picture: LJM

On a first meeting, I am in the shake hands and say "how do you do?" brigade. I take my cue from having met two Prime Ministers (in the line of journalistic duty), neither of whom went in for a kiss. The first was John Major during his time in number 10 and we shook hands. The second was David Cameron and we shook hands... my hands were damp from having just washed them in the ladies cloakroom and I quickly wiped them on my trousers. (In the interests of balance I met Tony Blair in 1974).

Taking my cue from these Conservative PMs, I feel that it is probably best not to kiss on a first meeting and if that is not in the spirit of International Kissing Day, I'm sorry but I'm a bit careful about making lip contact in case I am thought to be overly familiar.

There is also romantic kissing, of course, and I get less of that these days but, as compensation I do get kisses from my one-year-old grandson, though these might be considered more of a lick.

It is best, I think, not to initiate the middle class convention of the air kiss aka "mwa, mwa" if you are uncertain which way to go. If both parties go right, it's fine but if one goes left and one goes right, you could end up kissing someone standing behind the intended recipient.

Chances to kiss at the kissing gates dotted along Dedham Vale. Picture: Owen Hines/Chances to kiss at the kissing gates dotted along Dedham Vale. Picture: Owen Hines/

My view is, if you like someone, move in for a big hug and an optional single kiss on the cheek. A hug says: "Hi, friend"; a hug and a kiss says: "I know who you are and I like you."

Research has found, however, that 5% of people over the age of 45 are locking lips at least 31 times a week. Well if I count locking my lips around Ben and Jerry's ice cream, a Cadbury's Wispa or thickly-buttered toast then I am in the 5%.

According to a book by Michael Penn in his book Kissing Christians: "Early Christians kissed one another in highly specific settings that distinguished them from the non-Christian population. The earliest Christian reference to the ritual kiss is... 2 Thessalonians (13.12): 'Greet one another with a holy kiss.' The Christian ritual kiss or 'kiss of peace' was used during prayer, Eucharist, baptism, ordination, and in connection with greeting, funerals, monastic vows, and martyrdom."

Many other kisses are not holy, however.

The Kiss, in Sarasota, Florida. Picture: Barry PullenThe Kiss, in Sarasota, Florida. Picture: Barry Pullen

A study of kissing reported in the book The Art of Kissing by William Case found:

You may also want to watch:

- Passionate kissing burns 6.4 calories a minute*.

- A Hershey's Kiss (I understand this is an American version of chocolate) contains 26 calories, which takes five minutes of walking - or about four minutes of kissing to burn off.

- The study of kissing is better known as philematology. Lips are 100 times more sensitive than the tips of the fingers - not surprising when fingers get toughened up by typing or gardening but lips rarely do anything... er... manual.

At www.kissingday.com you can access "tips and tricks to make you a better kisser". I think it might be a bit late for me but I checked out the beginner's guide to romantic kissing which has three main points (I suggest you don't read this while eating):

1. Make sure you don't engulf the other person. You don't want to eat them up, because that's not the point of kiss. So opening your mouth as big as possible is certainly not the way to go. Keep it natural, tender and sweet.

2. Control your tongue. As soon as we hear the words french kiss, we want to immediately jump into it, but you should start slow and watch the saliva. It can get quite messy sometimes (of course some people may like that, but you should check first). Peck the lips first, then once it feels right (and it will), you can start going further.

3. Respect the other person and imagine what they may be feeling, don't make it selfish but romanticise the kiss to make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for both of you.

To this I might add:

- Don't do it anywhere your mum can see you (mine caught me in a bus shelter with David in 1970)

− Don't treat it as a test of endurance - a few minutes at a time is plenty. It is not an Olympic sport

− Don't worry if (like me) you wear glasses, an angled approach will avoid clashes.

− Do remember to breathe

* You can burn 12.4 calories a minute swimming breaststroke and a similar amount skipping... but are they as much fun as kissing?

- International Kissing Day was established in 2006 to focus on the kissing that takes place between lovers, and to celebrate the place it holds in our society.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/international-kissing-day-july-6/

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