What is it about lip locking?

In the image, taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine, Mendonsa is seen ecstatically bending over and kissing a woman in a white nurse's uniform. Picture: AFP / File / Gabriel BOUYS

In the image, taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine, Mendonsa is seen ecstatically bending over and kissing a woman in a white nurse's uniform. Picture: AFP / File / Gabriel BOUYS

Despite this repugnant scenario, we kiss for love, to say hello and goodbye. And, paradoxically, it leaves a good feeling.

Now that the election dust has settled and we await the Ramaphosian promises being fulfilled, let’s get into more serious issues. Like smooching. Two sets of lips, each carrying its own brand of bug in the saliva, making slurpy contact.

And yet we do it all the time. Why this distasteful practice? Who invented a habit that’s become acceptable – even in civilised society?

Mr Caveman? Why would he have wanted to share his lips, covered in the blood of the underdone brontosaurian T-bone, with his spouse? Would she have approved of him plonking his greasy lips on hers? A turn-on? Ugh!

Parts of my family still have men kissing. Every time I witness this greeting between brothers, sons and fathers, my stomach turns, envisioning shared mix of garlic, curry and stale beer. And moustaches dripping with syrup and peanut butter making sticky contact. Ag, nee, man.

Despite this repugnant scenario, we kiss for love, to say hello and goodbye. And, paradoxically, it leaves a good feeling. Scientists believe kissing is a “learned behaviour”, since 10% of humans don’t kiss at all and considerably fewer kiss with romantic or sexual intent. Others believe kissing is instinctive and biological.

There are folk so interested in kissing they make it a career. The science is called philematology, the art and study of kissing.

How do they go about doing research? A study group spending an hour kissing each other, then reporting what emotions they experienced? Or on the set of romantic films, recording the results after the lovers kiss?

Talking of films, you can’t imagine romantic scenes without kissing. Interestingly enough, what was called the Hays Code in 1930 prevented actors from kissing in a horizontal position on the big screen. And kisses could not last longer than three seconds.

The Eskimo kiss is no better. Rubbing noses.

Even medicos tell us to distance ourselves from coughing and sneezing and we know mouths are the conduit doing the spreading. But hang on.

There’s a call from the bedroom. “Time for a goodnight kiss, darling”.

I swallow the resolve. If kissing were so bad, show me the epidemic of sicknesses and death in honeymoon suites – and igloos.

Going to study philematology.

Cliff Buchler.

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