Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Art of Osculation

Ah, May. Spring is in the air, flowers are in bloom, and so is love. But where would love be without osculation? What, pray tell, is osculation? It is a fancy little word for a kiss. The history of kissing is rather fascinating. Something that has been recorded to go back to cave bearing days, I'm certain. Yet those poor fools forgot to chalk their drawings about it on their stone little walls. Why? Did it not hold as much meaning as hunting? Did they do it the same way we did? That, I suppose, will never be known. For the history of the kiss is limited in what has been written, not drawn. Let us touch, then on what we do know. The definition of a kiss. Here is a rather wonderful tale about the man who defined it for us in America's first dictionary. Noah Webster. When the man was caught by his wife blindly smooching his chambermaid, she is reported to have said, "Why, Noah, I'm surprised!" To which he quickly replied, "Madam, YOU are astonished. "I" am surprised." Kissing is very much like that. A surprise considering that two protruding membranes covered with saliva would hold any fascination for us at all.

As defined by a 1901 book, THE KISS AND ITS HISTORY: "A kiss is produced by a kind of sucking movement of the muscles of the lips, accompanies by a weaker or louder sound...This movement of the muscles, however, is not of itself sufficient to produce a kiss, it being, as you know, employed by coachmen when they want to start their horses, but becomes a kiss only when it is used as an expression of a certain feeling, and when the lips are pressed against, or simply come in contact with a living creature or object." Indeed. Which means we as humans have the ability to turn a basic function, our mouth, used for chewing and spitting, into something completely unrelated to what it was meant for. Interesting, that. Sex is that ingrained in us. The truth is, lips are the only sexual instrument to be used that is found both upon a woman and a man. Have you ever thought of that? Yes, yes, we all have hands that we use to explore, but the lips hold flavor, warmth, wetness, all resembling YOU KNOW WHAT. Which makes it all the more provocative. Throughout history, among the Finnish, for instance, bathing nude with the opposite sex was quite acceptable, yet kissing was not. It was seen as obscene. In some cultures they preferred to "rub cheeks" for they regarded the mouth as a filthy tool meant only to chew and bite. While the Chinese considered the kiss such as we know, to be "suggestive of being a cannibal." Because you are trying to "eat and taste" your partner. I never thought of it that way...yet it is quite true! Romance novels touch upon it all the time with the whole "tasting, licking" thing. Needless to say, countless books have been written about the topic of kissing. I didn't think there was that much to kissing until I started researching it. In 1936 Hugh Morris wrote a book called THE ART OF KISSING. When I read the first line of his book, I decided to set it aside and not read on. Ever again. For I wondered how many poor fops had been fooled into purchasing such utter nonsense? Let me articulate one of his sentences for you, "After your lips have been glued together for some time, open them slightly." I do believe the man never kissed a woman in his life. And then he tries to go ply his trade on others... That is what is wrong with history. Men have been writing the books for much too long. Now the lips have always been seen as provocative. Think about belly dancers, strutting and swaying their bellies and jiggling everything else, yet their lips remain covered by a veil. Many non-Western cultures follow the same belief. I can only imagine what it would be like to unwrap one's lips for a kiss....the sexual tension must be astounding! You think I jest? Think about it. A man simply cannot go in and grab himself a kiss. He must "remove" a piece of clothing. How bloody hot is that??? In the German dictionary, there are more than 40 types of kisses listed. And here you thought there was only the peck and the French tongue version. Let me list a few. The Vacuum Kiss, the Earlobe Lap, the Butterfly Flutter, the Talking Kiss, the Spying Kiss, The Hand Kiss, the Bumper Kiss, the Surprise Kiss, the Blown Kiss, the Nip Kiss, the Foot Kiss, the Hickey Kiss and the list goes on and on and on.

Did you know that it takes 20 muscles to create a kiss and yet only one muscle does most of the work? The muscle right below your lower lip known as the orbicularis oris. So the next time you kiss, ask your mate not to over exhaust your orbicularis oris….

The history of the kiss has been infused into society time and time again, especially Western society, using tales. For instance, the Frog Prince Tale. You all know how the story goes. The Princess happens upon a frog when she loses her golden ball in a pond. He refuses to give her back the ball unless she kisses him. Princess is disgusted but a golden ball is worth a lot of money. So she compromises herself in the name of a golden ball and kisses him. And lo and behold! He turns into a prince. The story was meant to show the power of a kiss. That a kiss can cause one to close their eyes (at least most people do it that way, there are many freaks in this world, I'll have you know) and when it is over and the eyes are re-opened, an emotional connection occurs. She wanted a prince, so she got one. At least that is how it's supposed to work. Now what is fascinating about the Frog Prince Tale is that the story actually holds a measure of truth. A frog CAN turn into a prince. How is this, you ask? Did you know that certain frogs like the Bufo Marinus secrete a toxin to ward off predators? And when licked (or kissed in this case) is causes visual and auditory hallucinations. So the prince didn't actually exist for the poor girl. But the frog did!! I suppose all that matters is that she lived happily-ever-after…

One last note. The kiss itself in history has earned many places of worship that lay hidden in taboo. On an envelope, for instance, with its power of suggestion we have what is known as Sealed with a Kiss. You all know the phrase. Well, back in Christian days, when someone knew not how to sign their name they made what we now think was an X. When in fact, it was a cross. They would then kiss the cross to provide their devotion to God. So yes, even God has received kisses from both men and women. I could go on and on about the history of the kiss and will actually touch upon more of these fascinating tid bits when I post on the 15th, but the whole point of this post is this. The Art of Osculation has seemed to have disappeared. These days, we really put much more emphasis and talk into sex and merely gloss over the kiss. Now why is that? Our lips are exposed all the bloody time and yet why don't they get as much attention as it used to? What has changed? Yes, I suppose, we as a culture have. So here is my question...do you remember your first kiss? And why do you remember it? No secrets, now! If you post the details of your first kiss and why it meant so much to you, I promise to post the details of mine...

10 comments:

Eliza Knight said...

As always, a fabulous, entertaining and educational post!!

I will definitley be asking my husband to osculate me when he gets home tonight! Then I will tell him to take his time so we don't over exert our orbucularis oris...I wonder what his reaction will be?

So...my first kiss...

I was 14, and we were taking a walk in the park. He turned to me, grasping both my hands in his and very lightly brushed his lips against mine 2 times. It was simple yes, but the tingles that raced through my body I will never forget. It was sweet and sensual, which is rare to find in a 14 year old boy raging with hormones :)

Anonymous said...

First kiss? Grade 4 I think! just a light brush, lip to lip.

I love kissing. When I first dated my husband we used to just lay on the floor and kiss forever. I have no idea why we were on the floor though.

Minnette Meador said...

Church camp, age 12...hard, cold, and no tongue. Well, at least that first time ~teehee~

Eliza Knight said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to add that the Lord of the Month is super yummy!

Jessie said...

Thanks for sharing your blog - loved the topic!

Gerri said...

That was interesting, Delilah.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Wow 40 types of kisses! Leave it to those descriptive germans to take it to a new level. I want to know about all 40 of them! I may be missing out.

Yes, I remember my first romantic kiss. Actually, it was pretty frightening. I was 14 and it was with the "bad boy" of my community. Looking back he was just a wild boy, not really bad, but for being only 14 he had lots and lots of experience.

It was in the very small backyard of our townhome and definitely in the dark. He started off slow and sensuous, then slowly worked into to separating my mouth and getting his tongue in. I think there was some breast fondling too. Mostly what I remember is that I was hot and dizzy and crazy afraid that I wasn't supposed to be doing this and would probably end up in hell for kissing before getting married. :)

We never did go out on an actual date. I really don't even remember how I got myself in that situation. But I sure DON'T regret it. He ended up dating my best friend for our hold freshman year (she was known to be a great kisser).

So, Delilah, tell all. What about your first kiss?

Shirley Karr said...

Romantic kiss on the mouth, not the cheek? I was 18. It was a warm summer night, on his front porch after our first date, and lasted three hours. Not continuous, we just got into a routine. I'd say "I have to get home because I have to be at work early in the morning," and then he'd try to convince me why that didn't matter. :-)

We married five months later, and we're still happy together.

Delilah Marvelle said...

Thank you to everyone who posted!!!
WOW! I am absolutely astonished with all these fabulous stories of osculation!! So happy "the first kiss" is alive and well in the thoughts of others. If you think about it, it created your approach and who you are on some minor level. I absolutely adored reading your experiences!!! Again, thank you, Maggie, Eliza, Minnette, "Anonymous," Shirley! I suppose others grew too shy to share...but no matter! LOL I shall make up for them. My first kiss: I was 14 going on 15. And I was in another country for the summer (I'll keep it exciting by not telling WHICH -- you fill in the blank!). It was my cousin's birthday party and boy did these people know how to party at the age of 16! The evening started with soft drinks on the table (when the parents were around), then beer (when they left), then wine (once they were sure no one was coming back to check up on us), then cognac (because they thought it was cool), then outright pure vodka (because they REALLY wanted to get foxed). The oldest at the party was not even twenty, the youngest being ME. So you can imagine the sort of fun to be had. Because I was the only "American" at the party, I garnered some attention from the boys. None of them caught my fancy until HE walked into the room. (Don't remember his name, but he was a handsome devil of 17). He refused to leave my side and slid drinks toward me constantly. Fortunately, I was a very bright girl even at 15 and opted to stay with "soft" drinks. (Get it?! hahaha...Ehm). Anyway, as the night went on and we talked, I found myself truly taking a liking to this boy. There was a bonfire outside the house (we were in the country, mind you) and so we went out and sat by its warmth, talking, joking, laughing. His hand then slipped around me, and my stomach started feeling funny -- as if I'd been drinking ALL night -- and the night sky started to spin and I started freaking out that he was going to kiss me. I'd never kissed before and was scared of what it involved. Then he dragged me toward him and kissed me on the lips, his tongue being about the only thing I remember about the whole thing. Wet and slathered with alcohol. Yeah. Yummy. I had never kissed a boy, yet alone "Frenched" a boy. The kiss maybe lasted less than five minutes. When I tore away, I found everyone, including my cousin making kissie faces and sounds at us. I was SO embarrassed. I avoided the guy for the rest of the night and have never seen him since.... So needless to say my first kiss was exciting, but did little to enhance my experience. It wasn't until I kissed my husband that my world flipped over and went under.

Anonymous said...

I was 14, he was 19...mother allowed the date because she said I was way more mature than him. She was right, but I recovered. Not sure he did though! :)