I’ve been thinking about kissing. Maybe it’s been brought on by my girlfriend being on the other side of the continent. Maybe it’s from trying to figure out how I’d even go about dating someone else concurrently with said girlfriend’s blessing. Perhaps I’ve just been thinking about Ally McBeal and Vonda Shepard’s rendition of Betty Everett’s classic 60s track. Whatever it is, I’ve been donating my ardent mushy brain matter to the pursuit of its contemplation. I’ve heard countless friends recount the same dealbreaker unchanged from the 60s. Well he seemed like an enticing new partner, but he kissed like a pit bull. For all I know that’s how Mr Worldwide (what does that even mean? Is he extolling his well cultured persona? Likening his rapid spread to a virulent pandemic?) osculates (look it up. I had to). No matter how good looking, funny or kind a prospective gent is, if his lips don’t play the part, hers probably won’t either.
I get it. I’ve been with lovely girls whose attractive passion hasn’t translated to alluring pashing. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people, but neither does it do much to whet desire. In my early days of dating, I was a terrible kisser. I know it, I can admit it. Given my inability to flirt, only once did anything that got to necking successfully pass go. I had no idea what I was doing. It was like expecting someone to defend themselves through knowledge gleaned from action movies. With no good basis for comparison, any time my lips met a girl’s it felt amazing by default. I can’t say the same on her end. Girls, if you want to know how dire it got, here are a few words to incite cringe:
- Gaping fish lips.
- Aggressive technique.
- Stiff tongue.
- Teeth bumping.
- All the saliva.
- Hard jaw.
- Quick propeller tongue.
Did I miss any sins? I don’t think so.
You might notice that I’ve been talking in past tense. I can kiss now. I’m pretty ok at it, even. No longer do I end a 20 minute makeout session with an aching jaw and a sore frenulum (tongue). I probably enjoy it a hell of a lot more than I did when I started. Of course, good partners help. So what happened?
Well exactly what I said, a good partner helped. She was assertive and confident. She could tell that I had little to no experience and took charge. We were hanging out with a couple, friends of hers. They started making out, so I turned to her and placed my mouth on hers. Passers-by would’ve rubber necked, it was that tragic. She told me to stop. Slow down. Take your time, if you do it right she won’t go anywhere in a hurry. Leave your lips soft. Nibble rather than lunge. Pull back on the tongue, use it sparingly. Feel the moment and use the tongue to entice rather than just thrusting it in there. Lick like you’re eating soft-serve. She spent a while, repeating, reinforcing in the back of this bar (Grand Central in Ponsonby). We never went much further than kissing, but the kissing went much further. She was like a guardian angel, appearing out of nowhere to save me from eternal solo-dom.
I guess what I’m saying is that a bad kisser doesn’t mean the sky is falling. People can learn and if you’re willing to put in the effort, you could be doing yourself or a future stranger a total mitzvah. If you’re not enjoying yourself you can always pat your partner on the shoulder and say “look, these are the things I quite like. Do you mind giving them a try?” Anyone who doesn’t possess the humility to try something different for your sake indicates a larger problem lurking beneath. THAT is a dealbreaker. If your aid doesn’t help then you can write them off as a lost cause. But at least you tried, goddammit. Food for thought. Ice-cream for thought, really.