Thursday, March 4, 2010


Kissing is the ultimate form of intimacy. It’s not surprising that prostitutes will rarely consent to kiss a customer, though of course Marlene Dietrich, who plays a tawdry Weimar cabaret singer, does administer some pecks to her aging prey in Der Blaue Engel. But Herr Professor was not seeking sex; he was seeking love, a commodity that can’t be purchased, even in those precincts where civilization lays a cover of legitimacy on whoring. But getting back to kissing: sexual intercourse plays second fiddle to long hard kisses. There is simply no comparison. You can fuck anyone, but you can’t kiss everyone. It’s easy to understand the reasoning behind the hijab, which some Muslim women use to cover their faces. The lips of the mouth are the most explosively sexual of body parts. Labia are no match for the quivering sentries of the mouth, whether they are laced with collagens or not. And when it comes to orifices, the vulva can’t compete with the mouth, which also leaves the ears, nostrils, and anus far behind. A mouth is a world. Vaginas don’t talk, but the mouth is the receptacle for the emotions distilled by the higher brain, so that a kiss on the lips is, in fact, the instant where mind and body are united. There is nothing more vulnerable than the lips, and their power to transmit emotion is such that it creates a kind of temporary madness in which bad teeth, bad breath, and expectorate all lose their ability to produce an adverse impression. Love is the Trojan horse that allows the tongue entrance into the mouth.  When we think of French kissing, we are brought back to classic daguerreotypes of lovers on the Pont Neuf, but the kiss has a long and venerable provenance that goes back to the days when France was called Gaul.  


  1. An interesting reverie on kissing, Francis....It's worth adding one linguistic note here: the French word "baiser" (originally the verb meaning "to kiss" and the noun "kiss")has been pressed into service as a synonym for "to fuck." This evidence gives strong support to your assertions.

  2. when we kiss we open our soul to the other ... that is why we are sparse in sharing our lips. We open ourselves up and fear the possible rejection.

  3. I agree entirely with the notion that in kissing we open the soul to one another, but the entrance to the soul is the body and in particular that part of the body from which words emanate and in which food is masticated. Kissing is elementally the mind body experience and the thing that derives from the advent of a more developed cerebral cortex. It is a higher brain activity in the service of a lower brain or limbic function. If you like the lips are the doormen which vet entrants into the inner self. Thanks for this comment Francis


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