“they’re kissing so wildly” – Luna

27 01 2014
Always remember this: ‘A kiss will never miss, and after many kisses a miss becomes a misses’. – John Lennon
The first kiss is magic. The second is intimate. The third is routine. – Raymond Chandler
Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.—Sylvia Plath

(Conversation between Philomena and Katarina, both age 6)

–       You know I kissed Theo when I was 5.
–       Yuck.
–       It’s not yuck, one day we will get married.
–       Married people don’t kiss!
–       Yes they do!
–       No they don’t–when you are boy friend and girl friend you kiss, not when you’re married.

After over-hearing this conversation I began making it a point to smother my husband with kisses on the lips in front of the children. I was on a mission to prove Katarina wrong. Married people do kiss, dammit.  Not only do they kiss but they also have great sex—lots of sex. In fact, once you have children, sex just gets better and better—the bonds become stronger, given all the stimulating and complex challenges parents face together, and emotional connections become exponentially more intense. Love, passion and family-life go hand in hand.

I wish this were always true. But the reality is I too rarely catch a glimpse of married people kissing on the lips. Maybe that’s because I live in London. Perhaps if I lived in Buenos Aires, I’d see married people making out on every park bench. All I know is that most of my friends with children—and these are pretty multi-cultural friends who are spread across a number of continents tell me a similar story: they rarely have the time or energy for proper kissing.

A survey carried out by the British Heart Association revealed that 20% of married couples can go a week without kissing—did that mean that 80% of couples kiss everyday? If that were true I would let 6-year-old-Katarina know immediately. I do wish someone would carry out that study because I desperately want to know more about kissing—not the quick, 1950s-style-honey-I’m-home kind of peck, and not the slightly embarrassing tongue-swishing kind either—I want to know about those sweet, in-between kisses, the ones that last 3-5 seconds, the ones that force you to slow down just a bit, just enough to pause and re-connect.

One day I tried to keep track of how many times I kissed my children relative to my husband—it was a very silly exercise. I lost track very quickly as my girls receive kisses every few minutes–not only on their lips, but their cheeks, forehead, top of head, hands, belly and feet– they are constantly smothered in affection. In contrast, I calculated an average of two pecks and one kiss a day with my husband—the have-a-great-day-departure-peck in the morning and the honey-I’m-home-peck in the early evening. The honey-I’m-home-peck occurs after rolling around on the floor with the children in a frenzy of giggling and kisses, which is of course a beautiful site to see, but the contrast between their intimacy, their lightness in being, their capacity to make space to connect and our own capacity to do so becomes instantly apparent. I hate pecks—I tell my husband all the time, if you’re going to peck me, peck me on the cheek, not the lips—my lips are reserved only for kissing. It’s not always easy to remember these things.

It is extraordinary how much our children value kissing–not the kisses they receive but the kissing they observe.

Video Luna’s take on kissing: https://vimeo.com/85147626




One response

27 01 2014
carlos barbery

I loved the story, specially how you reflected a child’s comment to adult behavior! I also agree that there should be much more kissing all around!

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