It’s been a crazy few days here at the Good Castle. Early Sunday morning sewage started bubbling up into our basement from the city’s sewer line. Short version, we used to have a finished basement and now we do not. But we do have insurance, so all is good. However, in keeping with Mr. Murphys’ law, my husband was away in Toronto and missed all the real fun stuff. When he walked through the door late Monday night I have never been so glad to see anyone in my entire life. I’d been waiting two days for that kiss.
The Fine Art of Kissing
"Then I did the simplest thing in the world. I leaned down... and kissed him. And the world cracked open.” ~ Agnes de Mille
No one seems to know much about the history of kissing. Religious references have Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss. Henry VI of England banned it in 1439 because he believed it spread disease. Over the centuries it’s been declared illegal, sinful, and controversial. If it was practised, it was carried out in private. Nowadays, most cultures hand out kisses like candy. We have the buss, the smooch and the French to name a few. We’ve been found necking in the backseat of cars. Politicians kiss babies for votes. We kiss the Blarney Stone hoping for eloquence, and we meet and kiss under the mistletoe. Kissing can lead to all number of ... things.
I may not have discovered much of a history, but I did uncover some interesting facts. Did you know the science of kissing is called philematology? That is burns 6.4 calories a minute? Could there be a better reason to pucker up? Kissing is also good for your teeth, in that the extra saliva helps clean out your mouth. French kissing involves all 34 facial muscles, which means there’s a workout available I might actually enjoy. By the way, Certs, one of America’s most popular mints, debuted on the market in 1956. One last fun fact, the insulting invitation to kiss one’s posterior goes as far back as the mid 1600’s and probably further.
This is a romance blog so let’s stick with the passionate side of kissing. What kind of side effects can you expect during a great lip lock? Apparently, your partner is twice as likely to lean to the right. Your pulse rate will go up, your blood pressure will rise, and your pupils will dilate. You’re going to start to breathe more deeply. How’s that for cliché?
As writers of the romance variety, we need to take those clichéd reactions and turn them into something fresh and different for our readers to enjoy. For instance, we might choose to describe what the kiss is not.
"She had a fleeting memory of her cousin Jacob thrusting his thick, wet tongue into her mouth when she was fourteen. It had disgusted her, and she had kicked him hard in the shins. Silverton's kiss was velvet, dark, and smoky, and Meredith had not the slightest desire to kick him in the shins." Sandra Worth, The Rose of York: Love & War
Or describe the struggle to do it properly.
“The kiss had gone from “home sweet home” to hot and deep instantly. He tried not to stick his tongue halfway down her throat, tried not to devour her, but she was already there, and he was drowning in the love he felt--in the edge of desperation pulling him under, the heat of her skin, in the all-consuming soft wetness of her mouth.” Tara Janzen, Crazy Kisses
And just because I can’t resist:
“His hands did a slow glide up her arms and over her shoulders to cup her face. He gently tilted her head and waited. Waited for the slight parting of her lips, the invitation to enter. When it came it almost brought him to his knees.” Karyn Good, WIP, Common Ground
The lips are thought to be the number one erotic zone for women. Kissing, and the art of doing it properly, is not to be undervalued. Writing the all important tantalizing first kiss is no easy feat either.
Remember it can’t come out of nowhere. The lead-in is just as important as the kiss. Your characters have got to have a pretty good reason to swap spit. The mouth is a haven for bacteria; you’re not just going to stick your tongue in anyone’s mouth. Think New Year’s Eve and ringing in the new year and being stuck at the stroke of midnight in the vicinity of the Lizard, or the Rooster, or the Ashtray. Shudder. The journey to the kiss is as important, if not more important, than the actual kiss.
Decide on a few details before you start the scene. Is it going to be sweet, unexpected, messy, erotic, forbidden? Long or short? What do you want to accomplish or reveal during that first kiss? Or because of it?
Make use of all the five senses. If there were ever a time to use them...it’s now.
Think about the theory for every action there is a reaction. Be it internal or external. Go back to being a teenager, when kissing was a huge deal, and channel all the angst that went along with the planning, the anticipation, the nervousness, the excitement, the indecisiveness. Put some of that in your scene.
You’ve done an excellent job of building the sexual tension and leading your readers up to the actual meeting of the lips. Do it justice. Again, avoid clichés. Because, so help me, if even one of you types the words “her lips tasted like honey” we’re turning this blog around and going home.
“The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.” Emil Ludwig
“A man’s kiss is his signature.” Mae West
Do you have a kissing story to share? Have you ever kissed a frog hoping to discover a prince, only to be left with just a frog? Got any great writing tips for kissing scenes?