Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Learning To Kiss
The Kiss by Sara Teasdale Before you kissed me only winds of heaven Had kissed me, and the tenderness of rain - Now you have come, how can I care for kisses Like theirs again? I sought the sea, she sent her winds to meet me, They surged about me singing of the south - I turned my head away to keep still holy Your kiss upon my mouth. And swift sweet rains of shining April weather Found not my lips where living kisses are; I bowed my head lest they put out my glory As rain puts out a star. I am my love's and he is mine forever, Sealed with a seal and safe forevermore - Think you that I could let a beggar enter Where a king stood before? Who taught you how to kiss? Come on now, let's fess up. I bet that you were once a novice, not an instant sensation as egotists claim. Then, somewhere along the line, an innocent peck or two turned into an explosion of tactile emotions when someone laid the "big one" on you. Now, I have heard about girls "practicing" with mirrors and practicing with other girls to hone their skills of kissing, but I bet someone of the opposite sex still occupies a little space in your mind as your the first "tutor of tonsillectomy."After all, Dr. Joyce Brothers reports that before marriage, the average American woman has kissed 79 men. That is a lot of practice in my book. I think my experience with kissing began with "kissing games" like Post Office and Spin the Bottle in junior high school. I'm sure, by today's standards, I was a late bloomer. Those kisses were lip and cheek pecks but exciting in the respect that we were really "touching" girls in new and strange ways. The girls always seemed to know more about such rites of passage as they confidently received their kisses from boys with shaky knees and questionable confidence. Later, in high school, kissing became something known as "making out." Still, our first pre-automobile experiences were at parties or in "on the sly" affairs. I distinctly remember one fairly experienced female cheerleader kiss when the girl told me to open my mouth. I really had no conception of the experiences that lay ahead. "Open my mouth? What forever for?" I experienced my first "French kiss" as something like a patient on a trip to the dentist, her tongue the instrument, my mouth wide open-- aah! From lips to tongues and a whole lot more saliva proved to be a "learn as you go" experience. And, these kisses ignited other feelings in other parts of my anatomy. Well, let's just stick to kissing in this essay. I'm sure that I tried to swallow a few tonsils in my clumsy attempts to master this new step in pleasure. Guys tend to think if a little is good, a lot is fantastic. Maybe I thought my extra-amorous probes would produce something more than the gag effect. I'm almost positive I was a very lousy beginning "French kisser" and I had no idea why anyone named wet mouth exploration that anyway. I was afraid that maybe the "French" was a part of the mouth I had yet to explore. Tonsil tennis, sucking face, busting slob, swapping spit, and soul kissing seemed to be appropriate labels for these exercises. Bob Segar, I was very slowly working on first base "night moves." I had no idea that Thierry Lode, an evolutionary biologist, argued that the French kiss had a real function: to explore the sexual partner's immune system via the saliva. Initiating the sexual desire, the French kiss allowed the partners to avoid inbreeding. So, I guess I was doing my part to cut down on illiteracy because I'm pretty sure I never kissed a first cousin. I decided to keep on kissing to find my matching DNA partner. And so, a smorgasbord of kissing opportunities begin to appear on my menu. As I cautiously partook, I found that some were moistly stimulating, some were merely sterile anatomical probes, some were so-so in texture and taste, and many were tongue wrestling bouts. I think I thought my practice was making me a better kisser, but, strangely, I never asked my fellow face sucker about the proficiency of my progress. Conversations with other guys about kissing a girl weren't any help and usually went like this. Jim, "Did you make out?" Me, "Yeah." I took a girl out one time that I really had a bad crush on. I was so wanting to date her that I had to muster up the courage for a month to ask her out. We went to the movies and ended up in her driveway. Talk about nervous and stoked, I bet I had on a gallon of aftershave, and I had cleaned my car until it literally reeked of Turtle Wax and Windex. Getting to the good part, I, now more experienced in the kissing game, began to perform my making out magic when she bit my lip so hard I nearly cried. It scared me right out of my car as I walked her to the door and said "good night." Talk about a confidence explosion. I must have clashed with her pheromones. I was then convinced there was so much to be learned about kissing that I might be a "kissing school dropout." I tried remembering and doing all the proper procedures, but putting them into practice meant tons of extra trial and error. How could anyone remember all of this? Some of the essentials follow: moisten lips, angle head, close eyes (at right times), start with gentle and soft open mouth, go Dutch with initiation, brush lips, lock lips, brush tongue on lips, explore with tongue, kiss slowly, kiss quicker, press a kiss, rub a kiss, deepen a kiss, caress face with hands, take small breaths through the nose, emit sighs, talk...AND IF THIS DOESN'T WORK, DON'T DO IT AGAIN And if all of this did work, what was I supposed to do next? I always carried protection in my billfold, but it had been there so long, I was sure it was defective. Besides, I had two other bases to reach before anything serious could happen. I decided to stick to perfecting the kiss. Then, when I was a senior, I met Sandy. Strictly by chance one night after a party, we both wound up in the backseat of my friend's car. I knew her, but I had never really talked with her. She was pretty and seemed to like me. Suddenly, we found ourselves prone on the backseat and making out. I really don't believe we said two words to each other; it just happened-- kissing poetry. I heard the call of the muse. "I love your lips when they're wet with wine and red with a wild desire," I thought. In the half-hour it took my friend and his girlfriend to drive to town, I learned more about kissing than I had the previous seventeen years. It was sensual, teasing, deeply satisfying, and sultry. We kissed within that zone where there's no space and time-- you know, the ecstatic zone-- and don't think nasty: all we did was kiss. Yes, she was soft and warm and firm and faintly aggressive, but she taught me how to receive and give kisses in that brief experience. We arrived at Sandy's house. I, heart still pounding, said "good night" to her and she to me. Then, she went inside and I got in my friend's car and left. I never saw her, kissed her, or spoke to her again. To this day, I don't know why I didn't follow up with a date. I think she liked me. I liked her. But, you've heard of "two passing ships in the night"? Well, we both sailed our individual ways. Until I met my wife, some eight years later, I had never been kissed like Sandy had kissed me. The first time I met my wife, I knew she could deliver the poetry again and again. She even introduced me to the Butterfly Kiss. We kissed over and over the first night, the first week, etc. We added exotic freestyle to our repertoire and love arrived. I married her about a year and a half later, and we continue to improve. Now, what's the purpose of this essay about kissing? For one, the innocent behavior of learning mouth-to-mouth stimulation for a young man seems be a challenging art requiring the mastery of many techniques and methods. And, I think it is an art that might be greatly underrated when I see it reduced to tongue lapping extremes in today's video and in modern reality. Really, great kissing can be as good as great...cuisine. You thought I was going to get nasty then, didn't you? Kind readers, share with me, if you will, the kiss that ignited your artistic expression.