A kiss is a lovely trick.

June 18, 2010

I saw this quote on a poster the other day:

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”

-Ingrid Bergman

She looks like she did a lot of osculating in her time.

I’d never thought about it in that way. It makes so much sense, Ingrid! Nice bit of wisdom.

So it got me thinking about why humans kiss.  The most prominent theories center on pheromones and hormones. Seems we can “sniff out” a better mate (someone who’s got an immune system that’s much different from ours) when our faces are smashed together. And kissing swaps hormones – the arousal-boosting testosterone in male saliva gets ingested by the female, and apparently men might get cues as to whether a woman is ovulating or not.

If that hasn’t turned you off yet, this might – another interesting evolutionary theory is that mothers used to pre-chew their baby’s’ food and then press their lips to the baby’s to transfer said food, forming the roots of kissing. Sounds gross but I’ll admit I’ve done this on occasion, though only with something appropriate, like candy. And, uh, not with babies.

Not all cultures kiss. There are apparently some tribes out there that refrain – the indigenous people of Australia, certain tribes in Africa, and Tahitians. Sucks to be them.

Anyways, I hadn’t heard or read about any theories related to Ingrid’s take on kissing. But she got me thinking: kissing is very meditative. Which makes sense – when you’re engaging in the preludes to the carnal, animalistic, instinctual act of procreation, your thinking mind needs to get out of the way. (Though maybe sometimes it shouldn’t…).

Engaging the mouth, giving it something to do, shuts off your talking/thinking mind. You are entirely focused on the person in front of you.  You are fully in the moment, connected with the physical sensations coming through your nerve-filled lips. You have closed your eyes to shut out any visual distractions. Also, as in meditation, your breathing deepens (if you haven’t lost your breath completely).

Of course, all of the things above only apply to good kissing. Which actually makes me think about what makes a person a bad kisser. Maybe it’s too much thinking? Not paying attention? Distraction? I wouldn’t know.

To close, here’s another nice kissing quote – though obviously not a belief subscribed to by the Tahitians… and maybe by “spirit” the ancient lovers mean pheromones…or food:

“Ancient lovers believed a kiss would literally unite their souls, because the spirit was said to be carried in one’s breath.”

-Eve Glicksman


P.S. Good words to know: Osculation and Philematologist. Google them. Use them.


2 Responses to “A kiss is a lovely trick.”

  1. Katy Frank said

    So you can’t just become a philematologist by making out with a lot of people?

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