February is the month of love. I always thought that was because Valentine’s Day was tucked into the middle of the month and that holiday was all about love. But as I looked closer at the shortest month of the year, I found out it is jampacked with nationally recognized holidays, all surrounding the great emotion that makes us feel warm and fuzzy. February has definitely earned its title.
One of those national holidays, and one I love to celebrate, is Kiss Day. Yes, the 13th of this month is a day set apart to recognize the simple kiss. Even though the word may be small and unimpressive, the act itself is complex, full of feeling and incredibly versatile.
Worldwide, no matter what language you speak, kisses are known as a sign of love and affection. But that is where the similarity ends. Like snowflakes, no two are the same, and the reasons for wanting to press your mouth against the face of another are deep and full of varying emotions.
Our first experience with this incredibly versatile token of affection connects us with our mother. Hers are sweet, soft and full of unconditional love. They can be given anytime or anywhere and also can miraculously heal boo-boos.
It takes no time at all for us to learn we need to reciprocate that affection, so we begin planting our sticky and slobbery lips on her. And so, our kissing journey begins.
Those “mom-only” smooches soon grow into, “give the stranger a kiss.” These only occur because of a command from an adult directed toward someone who is related but not well known by you. The recipient of your affection is typically wrinkly and smells like mothballs. Your pucker comes with fear and trepidation, but this is a rite of passage that all children are subjected to so as not to hurt someone’s feelings.
As we overcome that kissing trauma, the journey into adolescence comes when romantic feelings start to wake up. We become awkwardly aware that a shared kissing experience is in our future, and we are unprepared. This is the age that kissing practice becomes commonplace. Whether deeply smooching the back of your hand or making out with a poster or picture of a teen crush, rehearsing a lip-lock prepares you for one of the best kisses of your lifetime, the “first kiss.”
Even though you think you are ready, there is not enough practice in the world to prepare you for that first, initial, lip-on-lip contact. Entering the personal space of another human in an attempt to make a love connection is typically awkward, sloppy and often done in secret, away from parental observation. Despite its lack of perfection, this kiss is so impacting it is rarely forgotten. It has the strength to be a memory that you look back on, years later, and it still will bring a smile to your face.
Time moves on, and it may be years after that first kiss before you participate in the “test drive.” This is done when you begin dating, and kissing is a precursor to finding “the one.” As its name implies, this kiss is just like test-driving a car. You can try as many as you would like and you are under no obligation to make a long-term commitment. Some folks love their first kiss and immediately want to make a deal, while others desire to “drive” multiple sets of lips, unable to choose just one.
While testing kisses, you may run into some lemons. The “largemouth bass” kisser, who also could be called the “Unless you are getting your teeth cleaned, shut ’er down”; the “octopus kisser,” which is accompanied by hands and arms coming from every direction as the lip contact is occurring; the “How do you not dehydrate with all that saliva?”’ the “Is that your gum?”; the “If you’re nervous, bite your own lip”; and lastly, the “Close your eyes because you’re freaking me out” are all valid reasons for walking away without making a deal.
As you go through your selection process, one day you will kiss someone and it will feel different, like you just stuck a bobby pin in an electric plug. It will take your breath away, and everything around you will seem to disappear. That is the kiss you will want to spend the rest of your life duplicating. Once you commit to that kiss, every day will be Kiss Day to you. Every day will be a reason to celebrate.