Who do you kiss on the mouth?
Think about it for a second. Your significant other? Your parents? Your child?
One of Isaiah the Prophet (my four-month-old)’s favorite things to do is to “mouth” anything he can get his little grubby fists upon: hands, cheeks, the TV remote…
Today, leaning over him and cooing to him, he grasped my cheeks and attempted some sort of nasal french kiss. Lovely. When this didn’t work, he tried my mouth. My reaction was the kiss reflex, which I did, awkwardly enough, since his mouth was open at the time.
It got me thinking about this realm of the mouth-to-mouth contact. It’s most usually a romantic gesture, and when it moves beyond those lines, we get uncomfy (witness the wierdness of Angelina Jolie’s smooch with her brother).
I personally never kiss anyone on the lips except for the man who shares my bed.
But this is normal for some people. I’ve seen lovely Italian families where the son gives the father a resounding kiss on the lips, and it’s endearing rather than spooky. St. Adelaide the righteous regularly kisses my mother (sister, brothers, acquaintances), usually with the childish, gooey *smack* of the well-sugared. I, however, turn the (literal) other cheek. Is my subconscious hiding some deeply-buried trauma involving the lips? I doubt it. It’s just supremely meaningful to perform such an action…and I’d rather keep it between the sheets rather than out in the open.
In the play “Cyrano de Bergerac”, the main character describes a kiss in some of the most moving prose I’ve seen on the subject:
“And what is a kiss, specifically? A pledge properly sealed, a promise seasoned to taste, a vow stamped with the immediacy of a lip, a rosy circle drawn around the verb ‘to love.’ A kiss is a message too intimate for the ear, infinity captured in the bee’s brief visit to a flower, secular communication with an aftertaste of heaven, the pulse rising from the heart to utter its name on a lover’s lip: ‘Forever.'”
– Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3
Perhaps the “aftertaste of heaven” is what I like to reserve for my husband. But it’s pretty sweet, as well, coming from the juicy, toothless grin of a newly-wakened Prophet.