kissing

The start down begins…. the count nears 5 and you start looking around for who you are going to pucker up with after the proclamation of “Happy New Year!!!”. You either know who it will be, have certainty you’ll be keeping your kissing lips to yourself or you look around for the lucky one who you lock lips with at midnight.

It’s New Years Eve. Time to wear sequin, silly hats and probably eat and drink too much. It is the final goodbye to 2016 and an excited welcoming to 2017.

I’m a sucker for rituals and traditions. I’m not really superstitious but I do have a thing about NYE. How I spend the day, a particular ritual I’ve done for 16 years, and it culminates in the moment the midnight rings.

Like many of you, I’ve been in a lot of different settings at the stroke of midnight….with a bunch of friends at a house casual but rowdy, on stage looking out at a huge crowd at a great concert, black tie gala waiting too long in bar lines, in bed with the flu (that was the 1999-2000 one which really sucked btw), at a hole-in-the-wall bar dancing and totally missing the moment until 10 minutes later, exhausted and sleeping with a newborn, sad, alone and crying, merrily cooking lobsters with my parents…. you name it.   I usually don’t remember lots of details from the whole evening but I seem to store those midnight moments.

German and English folklore dictates that the first person you encounter after the ringing in of the new year sets the tone for the rest of the year.

And the context of this kiss is immensely important. Tradition says that how this kiss feels is relevant for the year. Oh shit! SO much pressure on a kiss!

Is it a throw a way kiss, an intimate kiss, a sloppy-silly kiss, or a kiss you thought was a throw away kisses but it turns into one that rocks your world ….

There are so many possibilities. So many nuisances.

Tradition dictates that this kiss is the quintessential manifestation of what you want and what you will draw to you during the year ahead. In short, if you subscribe to this folklore, this kiss has some fucking meaning.

That is great if the context is ripe for it some smoochy goodness . However, if you are coupled but don’t smooch at midnight or it is a sucky kiss things aren’t looking so great for that relationship in 2017. Or if you are single, superstition says that if you are not locking lips at midnight, it foretells of a year of loneliness. What?? So doomey and gloomy.

Or so the tradition informs.

There are tons of movies and TV moments that highlight the import of that serendipitous midnight kiss. One of my favorites if from When Harry Met Sally. At midnight, he says “It’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

And their kiss.

So much damn pressure on THAT kiss. Man. As stated, I do love ritual and tradition but I’m not sure I can put so much on a kiss at midnight. I get it and I do have lingering wonderings about it and if the context is right, why not go all in but…. it is folklore.

But all this tradition got me thinking about kissing. In general. What IS kissing? Of course there are different kinds of kisses but I’m focusing on the romantic kind of kiss.

There is intimacy in a kiss. A sharing of something. Vulnerability, mixed with expectation, heaped in hope and a dash of hunger.

I believe kissing is an accurate indicator for sexual chemistry and soul connection. Some say you can see a couple’s chemistry through their dancing. It is a visual representation of their sexual connection. I agree but also think the initial kissing connection gives a powerful glimpse into the foundational chemistry of a couple. Even if for just a night. But particularly if it is a beginning of a lifetime of kissing for the couple.

Of course there are always exceptions. You can kiss great with a one night stand and it never go beyond that and you can happily be in a 30 year marriage with someone who you kiss ‘okay’ with periodically. You may love the way he smashes your face and moans when you kiss for the first few months and then you loathe the hardness of the kissing and inwardly roll your eyes with each moan 3 years in. It happens. But that’s about something different. I’m talking about the initial kissing chemistry.

The first few kisses tell a lot.

Years ago, a few friends and I were engaged in a lively discussion about the good kissers in our lives. We lit up when we got to our top kisses and the laughs and the already boisterous discussion exponentially grew when we arrived to the awful kissing list.

Our descriptions varied. I went first with my kissing highlights. It became clear quickly that I liked kisses with guys who who held my face and kissed firmly, who left me breathless, who used the perfect amount of head tilt, face mashing and tenderness mixed in with some passion, messiness and slight laughter and talking or moaning. It was lots of fun reliving those moments out loud. When you are ‘kissed good’, you can transport back to that moment. And I went there. Hell, I was practically glowing.

My friend went next and described her favorite kisser who showered her with tender pecks and many light kisses all over her lips and cheeks. Slow and light. Almost like little taps. When she came out of her reverie she saw my face. I couldn’t get it. I would have HATED that for my first kiss. I would have found it frustrating. Almost annoying. Yet I was looking at her and she was in the same bliss I was but because of a completely different dynamic. This continued with my other friends. We found some similarities but mostly marveled at our differences.

We noted it and moved on to the shitty kisser list. I knew my ‘worst’ ones instantly. No names because he’s a great dude and may read this but it was in 9th grade and during a movie and it was more like a face lick than a kiss.

And he had SO. MUCH. SALIVA. I was so embarrassed and shocked and young I didn’t wipe off the excess juiciness and when his dad picked us up outside the movie theatre he looked at me weird and it wasn’t until I got home and saw myself in the mirror and realized the dried up saliva looked a bunch of toothpaste foam around my lips and face. It wasn’t a good look. Nor a good kiss. Bless our young little hearts. We were trying to figure it all out and French kissing was still such a mystery.

Another was many years later with someone who I would have guessed to be a great kisser…he was hot and had this ‘it’ quality about him like he had this really sexy secret. A secret you really wanted to know. The lead up took hours, fun conversation, great physical chemistry, lots and lots of potential. I was really looking forward to being kissed by him. We finally had a moment to ourselves, and this was going to be it. He put me up against a wall with just the right oomph and command control without being creepy and I eagerly awaited the epic kiss that I knew was coming my way. He leaned in and jammed his tongue down my throat and just kept it there. For what felt like an hour. Doing nothing.

Terrible. I remember trying to figure out if I should move my tongue or angle my head and then I started worrying I wasn’t going to be able to breath and, well, it was just utterly not epic.

One friend recounted a guy who kept alternating between biting her lip and sucking on it like a popsicle. Another told a hilarious story about a guy bobbing back and forth hide and seek style trying to make her chase him for the kiss that she was lukewarm about to begin with. The best story ended with a dude who played tongue Olympics with every move imaginable that can be made with a tongue and then raised his hands at the end like he had just dismounted off the balance beam. His kissing pride was so intense she wasn’t sure if she should clap or hold up a sign with the number 10. It wasn’t a 10 kiss but she couldn’t break his heart.

And that led me to a jolting realization. I wonder if I was someone’s bad kiss. I posed it to the group “What if there are guys out there who thinks WE are bad kissers?” We all initially chuckled but it hung in the air for awhile. We could think of guys who we didn’t bring it in the bedroom, or a blow job, or on a date or even a full relationship but kissing? We didn’t know. It was baffling.

We felt certain that the good kissers also felt like the good kissing was mutual but who knows really unless you do a post analysis with each other? And how often do you do that? Especially if it was bad. You call your sister or best friend for that Monday night quarterbacking blow by blow.

I had so many questions… did the bad kissers know they were bad? Did we fake it? Did they notice the non enthusiasm? Did they care? Was THAT person bad or was the couple bad? What if my bad kisser was someone else’s fantastic kisser.

It was then I stopped saying someone was a bad kisser. They just weren’t my kind of kisser. Or we weren’t a great kissing team. Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure. Whatever. It just didn’t work and that’s okay.

It isn’t easy kissing someone for the first time. It can be clunky and awkward and not really work. That awkwardness isn’t the point, it is the energy that ignites through the teeth accidentally hitting or the back and forth-which side do we tilt to kiss dance, do we use tongue or not. In those moments, IT is either there or it isn’t. If it is there, if that energy vibrating THING is there between you, you figure out the kissing nuisances. That’s the fun part. If it wasn’t initially there, it can be hard to find it. You can have nice kissing, you can have great sexual chemistry without the kissing being on fire, but to share vulnerable intimacy through kissing typically can’t be changed much from the initial few connections.

So what’s in a kiss? It is beauty and meaning, nothing and everything. It is intimacy and fun. It is soul exchanging and energy shifting. It is the end and the beginning.

Back to NYE …this year I am joining a group of friends from college and meeting some new people. It is a special one for me. I have a lot to put behind me from this year and even more I am looking forward to in the next. And I’m spending it with some pretty amazing people who mean a great deal to me. And others who are new to me. All of that points to a great night. I will not be with other people who also mean a great deal to me.

I’m not sure what the stroke of midnight will bring me, but as someone pretty amazing described a good kiss to me as I was preparing for this article, I send you off into the dawning of 2017 with a wish of a kiss that feels like the” last kiss of a lifetime”. However that looks as you want it to be and with whomever it should be shared with. And if you are not with someone, I wish for you to take a moment to relive a great kiss of your past or dream of a fantastic future one. Make this midnight kiss mean what YOU want it to.

I’m all up for good folklore and meanings of ritual, but I’m also for screwing all that and making it your own. So kiss at midnight. Or don’t. Or kiss a bunch of people with love and silliness. Or kiss no one and sit quietly by yourself and bask in gratefulness. Or sleep through it in the best, most restful sleep. Or steal away with a special someone for a kiss that rocks your soul and hits all the best ways of YOUR kiss of a lifetime.

Happiest of New Years.