Two of my most favorite things. Let’s just jump right in.
I love to kiss.
Yup. And this shouldn’t shock anyone who knows me. Heck, even my pastor dad who may read this is probably nodding his head in resignation…’yup…that’s Sarah.’ I’ve always been affectionate and expressive…the essential pairing for an expert smoocher.
Kissing is like finding the perfect wine. Nobody heading into a fantastic dinner party just HOPES they’ll be serving Franzia’s finest or the bargain bin Sutter Home Chardonnay. And no one who leans in extra close on a date just HOPES they’ll get a half-decent smooch. No – we ALL want the deliciously smooth, but exciting bold flavors of that perfect French red. The one that, when you take a sip of it just after a bite of amazing food, makes your mouth explode with flavor and sing with celebration. That’s the kiss I want, at least.
And luckily, there are lots of varieties of fine wines and fine kissers. It doesn’t always have to be a bossy red, it can be a delightfully crisp New World white – sweet and flirty, but with depth nonetheless. Or that kicky Argentinian Malbec. Or… or… the list goes on. But, boy…there’s a lot of bad wine out there too. There’s the white wine that comes in those peculiarly cumbersome glass jars at the Olive Garden, where – when you ask them what varietal of grape was used, they look blankly at you and say, “Um….white.” There’s the ones on the bottom shelf at Kroger with the “you always save” $5.99 sign combined with that not-quite-right color… the ones you wouldn’t even use for cooking. Or the one your friend picked out because it had the “cutest” label, but she has no idea how it tastes and you crack it only to find that it’s glorified vinegar you have to now choke down with a “bless your heart” smile. Ick.
And kissers are just about the same. A good kisser “costs” more. Now, don’t go there. I’m not talking a literal cost. My dating hasn’t gotten desperate enough to warrant soliciting tricks. I just mean – there’s often a greater relational investment required – one that I’m happy to ‘pay’ – to get the good “wine.” And, oh…the good wine is SO GOOD.
What makes a kiss good or bad? I’m so glad you asked. Becuase, as you may be picking up on by now – I have an opinion or two and I’m not shy about sharing. So, here goes.
A GOOD kiss is…
– Passionate. It comes from a place of real desire. You know that moment when you’re looking at someone and your thoughts get all jumbled up and confused because your mind has been overtaken with the desire to just grab his face and plant one on ‘im?
And you might be thinking, “well – DUH, passion is an obvious component to a decent kiss,” but I contend that the best kind of passion isn’t the episodic or momentary “I feel horny” impulse. The best kind is the passion that lives in you and is part of the core of who you are. Maybe this is why I’m drawn to men who are obviously creative, charismatic, passionate people. Musicians, artists, writers, even comedians – men who have that “fire in the belly” as an old friend used to say. It’s always in there because it’s a part of their personality. So, when it comes time for locking lips – they’ve got a natural fuel that drives it to be amazing.
– Intentional. A good kiss comes from a thoughtful place. He’s thinking about what will make it good for you. He’s thinking about how his hands on your face will make you swoon even more, or about pulling you close with that perfect amount of strength – enough to say “I’m big and strong and can protect you” but not so much that it gives off the creeper vibe, or tugging your hair or….
(takes a deep cleansing breath…concentrate, Sarah… FOCUS!!)
– Appropriately paced. We’ve all kissed “that guy.” The one who, the very moment there’s lip-to-lip contact, starts contemplating which inappropriate “the bathing suit covers it” part he’s gonna go for. You think you’re simply enjoying the kiss and he’s reaching for the goodies. Come on, dude. Hasn’t some wise person in your life explained the whole “women are convection ovens” bit to you? We need a while to preheat… don’t go all ‘microwavey’ on us…it’s SO off-putting. Plus, I’ve heard those waves can cause cancer, so…
– Improving with every new “installment.” When you find someone with whom you connect – on that sensual level – every kiss is better than the last. Why? Because you’re learning each other – your styles, your likes/dislikes, and aiming to be better than the time before. You’re also growing more comfortable so that you can be free to relax and do your best work. It’s an art, really – and I, for one, am aiming to perfect my craft. Finding that rhythm of passion that makes a so-so kiss an amazing kiss – is like gold.
Now…let’s talk about the bad kiss.
Let me be the first to say, if I sample a mid-level Sonoma Valley Cab Sav and I’m underwhelmed, I won’t just toss it out. I’m not a MONSTER! I’m open to letting it breathe a bit, maybe pairing it with a different food…and seeing if it grows on me. If the wine is willing to evolve… I can be patient. BUT – a full-on BAD wine has got to go. As in – down the drain.
(I realize that sorta sounds like I want to have the bad kissers of the world rubbed out… which I don’t. I just don’t want to kiss them. Kapeesh? (Mob humor is never not funny))
I had an experience a few months ago with a guy who was handsome, smart, funny, had a great career and was a charming conversationalist. On our second date – he kissed me. And it was our last date. The kiss was so abysmal (and not in the Joey Tribiani sort of “abysmal”) that it was a non-negotiable deal-breaker. (I haven’t written about this until now because I wanted to be sure he wasn’t reading my blog…yikes!) The problem, (among other things…things I can’t verbalize in this public forum, for fear of mortification. Things that still make me want to rock in a corner with my special lovee…), was laziness. He was SUCH a lazy kisser. I almost thought it was a joke at first. He leaned in, closed his eyes and pretty much just shoved his face into mine until our lips smooshed together. There was no movement. No nuance. No tenderness OR fire. His hands stayed down by his side. It was like an awkward movie scene of some gawky 13-year old boy nervously kissing a girl he’s crushing on at band camp and having no idea what to do. It was the dullest moment. I might have fallen asleep from the sheer unimaginativenesss of it all were it not for the steady assault on my face.
But I’m an artist. So, I dared not give up so quickly. I soldiered on. I thought – maybe if I demonstrate what I like, he’ll mirror it. So, I put my hand behind his neck and gave him some of my best moves. MY BEST MOVES! I wasted my prime smooching material on lazy-guy. And what did I get in return? Nada. More of his lips just pressed against mine – occasionally backing away and then coming in again for a landing. My grandmother kisses with more passion! Sure, she peppers your cheeks with an uncomfortably high number of pecks while gushing, “Oh, it’s just been TOO long!” But still.
And the worst part about it all was …how was I supposed to explain to him why we weren’t going to meet up again? I had to tell him something. I have a rule of thumb that I’m ok using the old “fade-out” method on guys I haven’t met. But if we’ve been out together, I owe you a text to say I don’t think we’d make a good match. And you just KNOW that lazy kisser was going to be the guy to text back, “why?” Yeesh! What does one say? Here’s what I texted him: (Closing my eyes tightly and crossing my fingers that he’s not reading this right now and fantasizing various ways to kill me) “I just think we have different smooching styles.” That’s pretty good, right?
I’ll spare you the conversation that ensued, but after a brief consideration of letting him pay me for kissing lessons, and then another brief consideration of how that’s basically being a lip prostitute, I gracefully bowed out.
So – yes. Good kissing is amazing. Bad kissing is horrible. And, as much as it sounds shallow, it’s a make-it-or-break-it issue for me. Obviously not the ONLY one, but an important one. I MAY or may not even have a ranking system for the guys I’ve had the pleasure (or horror) of kissing… but let’s save that for another time.
Meanwhile – I’m going wine shopping…