Bad kissing; even at our age
My first kiss involved being simultaneously choked and face-washed. It was such a let down – I’d fantasized about the moment for years, a kind of Hollywood-style sensual, skilled meeting of lips and noses and minds….
Well, it wasn’t. But I was 13. He was 14. A lot of beer had been involved in the lead-up. It was a jolt back to reality, a stark reminder of the difference between how we imagine things and how they are.
But as I aged, and the men I kissed also aged and gained experience, the kissing became rather better. At times, exquisite. Sex, too, improves with experience, and by the time the people you’re sleeping with have had a few relationships it tends to be either alright or fabulous, but usually not completely clueless. (If it sucks, it tends to be because the person sucks. Arrogant, self-obsessed men, I find, often copulate very badly.)
Anyway, back to the kissing thing. I have been startled recently to learn that bad kissers are still afoot, guys that kiss like my good old face-washer of yore, in their late 20s and much older.
Bad kissing is not just annoying, like backne, or thinning hair, or misplaced commitment phobia. It’s offensive, in the same way that being pinched hard or spat on is. Never mind what a let-down it is, and what a complete ending to any romantic possibility. It’s the impudence of having someone lambast your face that’s so awful. Kissing is a touch-and-go activity at the best of times – since it concerns shameless transfer of saliva, breath and bashing of lips, it’s got to be done well and smell good.
Recent stories of poor kissing have inspired me to make a handy list of the gravest faux pas. Lads: at this age, and to quote Lily Allen, it’s really not ok.
1. Poor sense of order. For example, licking (lips, ears) like a dog before a good, robust makeout rhythm has been established. Licking is easily awful but sometimes, if it’s part of an already established hot connection, it can be good. Another example of poor ordering is shoving the tongue all the way in as though performing an urgent repair on the leaking BP oil well, before your basic shallow-mouth action has been happily established.
2. Bad coordination. Some people can’t dance; others can’t jump. Still others don’t know how to use their tongue when kissing. The biggest offense is a sort of repeated jamming motion, showing no understanding of the undulating dynamics at play. Kissing is exploring another person’s erotic potential – with your tongue, not a flashlight or a jackhammer. The other extreme is a sort of odd lip-driven pecking, a feeling that you’re being tapped with a skin-covered object and every time you try to ease it up a bit with the tongue, you’re being headed off. But the worst has to be being lapped at – tongued and pecked at random spots in the general area of your mouth. Horrid.
3. Tongue texture. I once encountered a man whose tongue reminded me of bubble gum. It was so soft and shapeless and fizzy, I nearly slapped him. Oops. Equally, an overly stiff tongue is offputting. It should be firm and directed, but relaxed.
4. No variation. It’s great when the kissing is good: rhythmic, good play of lips and tongue, but if it just goes on and on and on, it gets awkward and yes, a little dull. The good kisser pauses to kiss your neck, nibble your ear or just below it, and murmer cool shit to you.
5. Stubble and breath. Bad breath is – thankfully – rare. I’d never kiss someone with it (boyfriends with morning breath don’t count). And stubble. And stubble is very painful. It looks cute, but guys, either shave it completely, or grow a decent bit of hair. In between is just violent.