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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

First kiss

Plot58, Flickr

Kiss me a paragraph, and I'll reply with a novel. (author unknown)

The world is a mess. Watching the news always carries the potential side effect of a panic attack. We're on the verge of a war? The planet is decaying so fast that we won't have any oxygen to breathe, let alone any food to eat, by 2050? An asteroid is about to hit us?

Unpleasant. Scary. And guilt-producing. Because most of us don't even know what to do about it. So we stay put and wait for someone else to fix it. I have deep admiration for those who "act" and try to make the world better, in a tangible way. Despite my humble attempts, through daily actions, to "be the change I want to see in the world"..., more often than not I feel like I'm choking on the dust those go-getters lift. (I blame myself only - if I don't like the dust all I have to do is become an activist myself!)

I have two big flaws when it comes to try and change the world.

1) First, and this is not bragging, (it actually is quite the opposite of bragging in our day and time)... I'm a thinker. Not an doer. I like to think. To analyze. To ponder. I like to read and to write and to discuss. To debate, even. But to act? Not so much.

Even when I write, I don't even have the courage to write in my first language! I have to take refuge behind the "protection" of my second language, in which I don't feel as exposed. Gives you an idea of the extent of my bravery - or lack thereof...

Hopefully by reading, writing and discussing I can still make a - little - difference in the world. That might be my biggest aspiration.

2) Second, even when it comes to read, write and discuss... more often than not I avoid "the big topics". I circumvent them. I redirect them. I'm not sure why. But what I know is that I often find myself tackling some "lighter topic". Maybe that's because light topics are the best antidote to all our worries. Even when I do approach "big topics", I do it from a philosophical perspective, as if I'd rather go around shoveling clouds than actually do something about this world.

My secret hope is that those light topics can actually make a difference. In fact, thinking of today's topic, one might argue that if there was a little bit more of it in the world, then the world might be a better place. Let's ponder that (or act on it? I'll leave it up to you.)

Today's topic is


Is there anything as deliciously exhilarating as a first kiss? A kiss is a wonderful thing, all the more if it's a first kiss. (But not necessarily; subsequent kisses are just as important. You can read about it here.)

A friend once told me her husband "isn't into kissing that much" and I thought, "How sad". In my humble opinion, kissing (plus other physical encounters obviously) is the glue that seals a couple (along with good communication and common goals and values).

This week I was delighted to discover that I'm not the only one out there with a fascination for kissing. Someone had the wonderful idea to put - good looking - strangers together, ask them to kiss, and make a short movie out of it. Take a look:

In addition to being incredibly cute, this movie teaches us a lot about human connection.

It shows us that human connection is a necessary condition for physical contact, even in situations where there's no reason not to go straight for physical contact. Nothing happens in a total void! In this movie, dyads knowing nothing about each other were simply asked to kiss in front of the camera, never to see each other again (unless...)

What struck me is that none of the couples limited themselves to "just kissing". Many of them found it necessary to "set the stage" by shaking hands and/or saying things such as:

"Nice to meet you"
"What's your name again?"
"You have nice eyes"
"Let's look at each other for a second"

... And the fantastic "Shall we make out?"

After the kiss, they could have simply parted and called it a day. Yet most participants lingered briefly. They seemed to feel, even if it was ephemeral, some level of attachment to the stranger they had just kissed. Once the kiss was over, they kept holding hands, they hugged each other, they commented on how good the kiss had been. One even asked "Do we make out more?"

It all sounds very promising. If you pay attention to the body language in the movie, you might even start picturing some of the couples taking it "to the next level" once away from the camera!

This raises once again the question of what precedes what: physical attraction or mutual interest? What comes first? Or do they build up simultaneously? You can meet people but fail to "notice" them until after you get to know each other. You can meet people that blow you away with their attractiveness, yet fail to fall in love at all. How does it all work? I don't know. Maybe we're better off not knowing!

Thinking of that, I began to wonder how awkward it would be, after such an already awkward first kiss, if the couples decided to see each other again. Let's say you really enjoyed the "artificial first kiss" and feel like exchanging phone numbers for a date. How would the date go? Wouldn't it be a little bit sad to have had that for a first kiss? - Not that first kisses are never awkward - they sometimes are (remind me to tell you the story of my very first kiss! haha!) - but because if your first kiss happens in front of a camera after only briefly being introduced, you're missing on the best part: the build-up that leads to the kiss! I mean, those kisses were cute aplenty, but they did not stem from the long and gradual dance of seduction, and in my opinion, that is a huge loss! The best part, in a first kiss (and in the beginning of a relationship), not unlike salivating as you're reading the menu in a restaurant, is the anticipation!

Is it really a good idea to rush the first kiss?
Sure it must help with digestion, but...

The best part of the first kiss is that it's the climax of a build-up. That build-up can last anything from a couple hours to a couple months (some people are just very slow on the switch - remind me to tell you another story!), but what doesn't change is the fact that you have been discreetly observing each other, acting in a certain way in front of each other, saying certain things, moving in a certain direction, ultimately waiting for this to happen. You've been "dancing" around each other the whole time. Making your moves, matching them to the other person's moves, hoping that what you perceived was indeed going on and not solely the product of your imagination (and wishful thinking! How can one be unbiased when butterflies have invaded one's stomach?) You've been feeling uneasy and excited at the same time, both hesitant and eager, walking on the tight rope of mutual discovery. You've felt a - good - nervousness every time the other gets closer, looks at you for a little bit longer, say something that could be ambiguous. And this is all delectable.

After all, if we wanted to go straight for it, why would we beat around the bushes so much? Why would we all try not to be "too obvious" about our interest and attraction? Part of it stems from a fear of rejection, but part of it comes from our genuine enjoyment of the process.


What's the point of this post, other than celebrating the wondrousness of kissing? Well, maybe I'm trying to make the world a better place by encouraging everyone to engage in more kissing. Yes, that sounds about right.

If you're in love, whether it's a new love or an old one... please go ahead and kiss. A real, anticipated with excitement, good kiss. Not in front of a camera.

... because, as Soko reminds us in her song We Might be Dead by Tomorrow... life is too short to delay such pleasures. I personally know someone who "lost her lover without saying goodbye 'cause she didn't have time". And once that's done, there's no going back.

Give me all your love now

'Cause for all we know

We might be dead by tomorrow

I count

Going wasting my time

Adding scars to my heart
'Cause all I hear is
"I'm not ready now"
And I can tell
That you didn't have
To face your mother
losing her lover
Without saying goodbye
Without saying goodbye
'Cause she didn't have time
I don't want to judge
What's in your heart
But if you're not ready for love
How can you be ready for life?
How can you be ready for life?
So let's love fully
And let's love loud
Let's love now
'Cause soon enough we'll die

Le baiser, by Rodin


  1. I wasn't sure that I would like the video but I really enjoyed it - so cool to see how they all greeted each other and approached that first kiss.
    I think that this is really something that in long term relationships it can be easy to lose sight of - the awesomeness of that first kiss. Sometimes we should try and recreate or have a "new first kiss" to keep the spark going!!

    1. I am one to believe that if you give it your full attention, a kiss will be wonderful, no matter how young or old the relation is. :-)

  2. "The World is a mess" or is the world a mess ? Well it certainly isn't perfect BUT again one man or woman's idea of perfect could be something completely different from the person next to you.

    What is important is realising we only have one chance in our life. So whether it may be for 5 yrs - 25yrs - 50 yrs and hopefully a lot longer, let us all try to make our little part of the world that bit better.

    A smile, a hug, a kiss being together and sharing - finding time and taking time to share and pass on what is good. We may not all go on to have our name remembered as being a 'good part' of this world's rich History but each one of us could do a little.

    I try .... sometimes I may fail ....but I do try. Trying is important, where would we all be if nobody tried?

    I await with interest to see others comments ...as always thanks Julie...and Soko

    All the best Jan

    1. I like that you added smile and hug to the list. I almost mentioned it, because it's not always possible to kiss someone right here, right now! :-)

  3. i hope you dont mind i totally stole that kiss-video for my blog! as usual ist great to come here! thanks!

    1. I'm glad you liked it just as much as I did! :-)

  4. This was very sweet. When the barriers and facades are removed, humans want/need love and interaction. I'm amazed by how much most of the couples got into the kiss, given that it was in essence 'forced'. Meaning there was no relationship building up to it. Fascinating really.

    1. Agree. They all dove right in! Except maybe for one.

  5. Amazing video! Am now going to spend all day thinking about kissing! :)-Ashley

    1. Hopefully that day can end with a real kiss. Should be good, given the anticipation! :-)

  6. If she's pretty, I want to kiss her -- it's that simple. It doesn't mean I always try, but it's always forward in my thoughts when I see a beautiful woman for the first time. I even make the argument in my head sometimes, that a kiss is all I need -- that anything beyond involves pressure, which fosters stress that I don't need.

    Kissing is full possibilities. Sex is full of doubt. So says this one-man wrecking crew of female souls...

    1. It's unfortunate that anything beyond a kiss would evoke pressure, stress and doubt. How about pure and simple pleasure? :-)

    2. I'm too Jewish for all of that light-heartedness :-)