Kissing Can Get You 2 to 3

kissing-forbiddenBelieve it or not, there are cultures outside the “western world” where kissing in public is verboten – “How can that be!?!  It’s the 21st century!  And kissing is such a sweet ‘n sexy thing to do!”, says The Kissing Expert.  But in various places, especially countries where society’s structure swings more religious than secular, it’s a gigantic “no no”.  Should lovers be caught al fresco, fines or even time in the pokey may be levied.  There are even places where the word kiss is blocked from SMS missives by telecom providers (witness Turkey).  When thinking of the perils of sexting, that might not be such a bad thing in this selfie-age, but TKE would never impede the right for slinky self-expression!

Happily, though, pockets of puckerers in far away lands are popping up against lip oppression, intentionally snagging public snogs, even at personal risk of incarceration.  This makes TKE feel super snappy (although not the imprisonment part).

In China, there is good fortune afoot.  While kissing is deemed as intimate as making love (couples had long been required to stand a minimum of 3ft apart in public, but with ongoing crowding of cities, that’s become more challenging), the pendulum is swinging towards the smooch. This has been influenced by western entertainment seeping in through digital media (even though kissing scenes are nixed out of US TV shows and movies), but also prompted from changes within.  Electronic china1companies looking to break-through a glutted market, sponsor kissing contests in public venues where throngs of couples go lip-to-lip for a chance to score a new TV.  And rebellious students at universities swiftly duck from red armed-band morality guards patrolling campus in search of uncivil canoodlers.  Who knew?

icah2Japan has also been bitten by the public kissing bug.  As a country that refers to all things za-za-zoo as Icha Icha, while PDA is not punishable, it remains taboo.  This is just enough to incite enthusiastic
lovers of the day to icha on park benches and street corners in hopes of flapping some kimonos.  But with no formal decorum guidelines, many remain unsure of how to japan2react, especially among the “AARP” demographic of Japan.  Suffice to say, mischief has the kick-ass heat of ginger and wasabi.

India too is among Asian countries that consider public tongue-tangoing out of bounds.  Bussing, until very recently, had been forbidden in those beautifully colored bollywood3Bollywood flicks that rain saffron and gold in the epic hip
thrusting dance as metaphor finales.  And the police and courts blatantly harass couples daring to show the slightest fondess (even though India law does not give explicit definitions of PDA).  Remember the broo-ha-ha a few years back when Richard Gere kissed a woman at an AIDS awareness event?  The Indian court issued a warrant for his arrest, and his image was burned in effigy.  They must not have seen American Gigilo

So when TKE read that last week that couples in Kochi, India staged a public protest against the morality police on what was declared Kiss Day, she couldn’t help but smile.  Not surprisingly, the authorities descended in full kochi2force, booking demonstrators for disturbing the peace, and squashing a potentially epidemic spread of sexiness across the province.  The event sparked a national debate (never underestimate the power of a kiss).  Liberals asked what legal justification there was, in a democracy no less, to prohibit expression of affection.  Conservatives countered that to be naïve when there were laws to be obeyed, especially for actions that can cause a cancer from within. And while India may have put forth the Kama Sutra (the definitive “How To” bible of all things super slinky, including a whole chapter on kissing (the irony is not lost)), Indian culture does not feature records/depictions of kissing in literature and art, so it was long cordoned off.  Kinda heavy for something that’s so delightful, and feels so lovely…

But public displays have a history of tyranny, even in the western world.

To crack down on the rampant cha-cha-cha in Medieval times, the Vatican declared kissing among non-married people tantamount to a proposal, forcing young lovers to tie the knot should they have sashayed around the maypole.  There was so medieval1much “free love”, it made Woodstock look like a convent.  This is also when the Vatican decreed medievalpope1celibacy in the clergy to curtail “men of the cloth” from blessing the countryside with the covenant of their loins (a little furkeytoodling can lead to the dance fandango!).  And lets not forget 19th century merry ol’ Victorian England when kissing in public was restricted to basically a bowed lip to a gloved hand.  While that might have initially sprung from the British version of the CDC desperately trying to contain the Black Plague, it was emblematic of the highly moralistic, straight-laced sensibilities of HRH Queen V.  God save the Queen!

That said, kissing can be an extraordinarily sacred soul thing to be coveted.  TKE remembers as a wee tke believing that getting lip-to-lip was a holy act only to be performed in a private sanctuary among marrieds – something about exchanging breath and tkesaliva seemed sacrosanct.  tke even rationalized that actors, who were not betrothed to one another who smooched, sealed their lips in cellophane before “action”.  she would literally press her face up close to the TV screen to detect the make-shift condom, and chalked up its lack of visibility to good effects.

But tke became TKE, and experienced her own kisses, and learned of its secret power to inspire.  The unbridled excitement of her joy carried her away, especially in cities where custom celebrated, even almost dictated, a dolce vita joie de vivre of love when out and about.  This was something not to be contained!

So whether lovers around the world today are daring to express themselves with the intent to “stick it to the man” and/or boldly take a risk to enflame change, TKE applauds every effort to liberate lovers from any social shackles, believing it’s among our inalienable rights as heart-beating, blood-pumping mammals.  And while TKE strives to live with respect for differences, and do in Rome, with the world today being consumed with more strife than fancy, TKE believes now more than ever we all need to spread a little love with a kiss…


Happy Kissing!