A kiss. Brits cheer for it on balconies after royal weddings. Pop singers croon songs about wanting it. Even great artists like Gustav Klimt center a work of art around it. But is a kiss really just a kiss? Can too much kissing be a bad thing? And, most importantly, why the heck would an old married woman care about the subject of kissing anyway? The answer: a random gum commercial.
I had no reason to suspect that watching a commercial about chewing gum would cause me such inner turmoil. What huge, earth shattering revelation did the gum makers release? Just that “the average person has 28 first kisses.” Oh, and you should chew Dentyne for clean breath when your not lip locked with a hottie. Which I get, because everyone needs a boost of freshness after a tuna garlic sandwich. Hold up. Did the smooth voiceover say the average person only has 28 first kisses? My mind races. This statistic can’t be accurate. I rush to the only reliable site that I know will prove that dumb stat wrong. Facebook. After I post a question asking what my peeps think about this deceptive number, I receive several responses. All my friends think the figure is too high. Yes. Too high! More confusion and guilt.
You see, I’ve kissed three times as many lips as the average person. And that’s with not smootching any new men for the past 12 years. Holy cow. I’m a confirmed Kissing Concubine.
How could I let this happen? At 16, my kissing career started off innocent enough. Late bloomer didn’t even begin to describe me. John, my chemistry teacher’s son, gave me a sweet peck outside the journalism hallway. Ok. Maybe some tongue. Regardless, it was as pure as the driven snow. (How pure is driven snow? I mean, if you drive on snow, shouldn’t there be dirt from the tires, oil from the engine leak and pee from the dogs down the hill?) Anywho, my young suitor even sent me a little folded up note asking me if I would like to be kissed, boxes to be checked and all. My friends did intercept the letter and have teased me about it for decades to come. But we all have to be stupid, giddy teenagers sometime. So what went wrong?
Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun entranced me with it’s geisha ways. I lived in a small town called Tanushimaru for over a year and surrounded myself with some wonderful European friends. Oh, and a gay American which in some U.S. circles is akin to being a European. Living away from home, the gang and I needed a new past time. So my BFFs Cheryl, Cory and I formed The Good Feel Ambassadors’ Society. As a condition of membership, we had to agree to extend goodwill to other countries using a cross-cultural hands-on approach. This involved mostly kissing. According to a sociologist named Ernest Crawley, the Japanese society was ignorant of the romantic kiss before the 20th Century. Our East Asian friends were already centuries behind the West. Who cares they kick our rears in meditative practices and healthy eating? Our mission to bring about a new Silver Age of Slurping was needed. I personally believe this ragtag group has done more for American and British interests abroad then many other international organizations including the International Olympic Committee, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Justin Bieber Takes Over the World Fan Club. I sacrificed my lips to those dozens of French, Japanese, Russian, Scottish, Thai, Australian, Korean, Israeli and Antarctic boys who needed to know what an American truly tasted like. But I believe, all and all, it was worth it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that college also contributed to my kissing totals. But getting tongue tied with handsome Hoosier boys doesn’t sound nearly as romantic, nor scandalous, as macking with the foreign variety. Plus, I married an Indiana man and would hate to sully his reputation. So, we’ll just say that college instructed me in the finer points of kissing while intoxicated, which in all honesty should be a ticketable offense. University also taught me not to smootch your best guy friends. Even if they are hot and sweaty after cross-country practice. But I digress.
Now, I know some of the boys I have kissed are probably reading this blog and thinking, “Wow, for someone who’s locked lips with half the population of Taiwan, you really weren’t that skilled of a kisser.” First of all, thanks for the kind words and the remembrance. I obviously was going for a world record, so I chose quantity over quality. If it makes you feel any better, like any professional athlete, I too have sustained irreversible injuries. My jaw popping sounds like a firecracker inside a tin box. I’m self-diagnosed with TMK- Too Much Kissing- an uncommon derivative of TMJ. I have thought of founding a support group. Those interested please contact me.
So, after all my kissing confessions, what are your thoughts on the Big Smootch? Do you think 28 is an adequate representation of the norm? Or are those darn gum companies trying to bring down our wholesome society with a deceptive stat?
All I know is that as a recovering kiss-aholic, it’s nice not to have to worry about sharing my saliva with half the world anymore. I leave it to our younger generations to further this field of international relations. When in need of a mantra, just remember Prince’s universal lyrics,
“You don’t have to be rich to be my girl. You don’t have to be cool to rule my world. Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with. I just want your extra time and your…Kiss”