A big part of being romantic, or a loving person in general, is the ability and willingness to express affection. Kisses are the international symbol of recognition, affection, reverence, comfort, and friendship. It’s also, most likely, the desired result for your Valentine’s date this Friday.
So how do you get the kiss at the end of the night? Well, we can’t prescribe a foolproof recipe for that. However, dazzling your date with your impressive knowledge on worldwide kissing traditions, as you meander through the city on your way home from the restaurant, may well help set the scene. Here are a four pieces of kissing trivia to keep up your sleeve.
1. Kissing Under the Mistletoe
The Norse god Thor had a grandson, according to Norse mythology, named Baldur. Baldur suffered a disturbing condition in which he awoke each morning terrified that all plant life was out to get him. His mother and his wife asked all the plants to leave poor Baldur alone. However, they forgot to ask the mistletoe.
The next morning, Baldur was stabbed and killed by an arrow made of mistletoe – a symbol for all generations to never forget this plant. Kissing under the mistletoe became a symbol for remembering the once forgotten species. Nowadays, passing under the mistletoe is largely a handy excuse for smooching the one you love (or anyone else who happens to be nearby).
Top tip: mistletoe grows in the wild in both the UK and large parts of Europe. If you’re looking for a great kissing excuse, plan your location accordingly.
2. Kissing at Midnight on New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, a multitude of traditions are observed around the world. One of the most prominent is the act of kissing your date when the clock strikes midnight. This tradition began in English and German lore, where the belief was that the first person or people you saw in the new year set the tone for the entire year.
Kisses became a way to strengthen ties that people wanted to make stronger, as well as a method for imparting good luck into the relationship. In fact, a kiss from the one you love at the turn of a new day is an excellent tradition to observe all year long, to bring luck into your day (and have an excuse for stealing a kiss!).
Top tip: plan your date to finish around midnight, and quote the above.
3. Kissing as a Greeting
Many cultures around the world kiss as a form of greeting, most notably Europeans and Latin Americans. In Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Egypt, people often kiss three times, on alternating cheeks, as a sign of greeting. Italians kiss twice. Those in Mexico and Belgium kiss once. Women in Galapagos kiss once, only on the right cheek.
In Oman, men follow a handshake with a kiss on the nose, for close relations. Most of France greets one another with two kisses, except in Provence, where they kiss three times, and Nantes, where they kiss four times. Getting these different kissing customs right can be the difference between successful social and business outcomes, and some VERY awkward situations.
Top tip: make sure you know the kissing tradition for the your date’s native culture, to show your interest in them. Getting it wrong, however, could also pave the way for some lip contact.
4. Kissing on a Bench
Syracuse University in New York has a long tradition surrounding their Kissing Bench. The stone bench was purchased by the graduating class of 1912, in hopes of starting a tradition for all graduating classes to do something to beautify the university campus. By the 1950′s, students believed any woman who was kissed on the bench was guaranteed not to become an old maid.
By the 1970′s, student lore believed a woman must be kissed there in order to assure graduation and marriage. Today’s students maintain that any couple who kisses there will eventually get married.
Top tip: there are plenty of park benches in the UK with plaques that denote their romantic origin. These stories can serve well as a romantic topic of conversations towards the end of your date, setting the scene for a bit of smooching.
Naturally, we also have to remind you to brush your teeth and get any other dental fixes done in time. Check out our guide to household teeth whitening remedies and the introduction to cosmetic dentistry if you need some dental work done.
Time to think about Friday’s plan ladies and gents! Get smart and use our top tips if you’ll be going for the kiss at the end of the night. We’ll be waiting to hear your results.
(Any other top tip? Do share in the comments).