Remember when seeing couples kissing was a matter of routine? Remember teenagers leaning against the sides of parked cars in high school parking lots, kissing one another with young determined passion, oblivious to the stares of others? Remember the shadows of couples kissing in dark movie theaters or the park on a sunny brilliant fall day where pairs were sprinkled about lawns wrapped in one another’s arms, like the leaves that tossed and turned and tumbled onto one another in playful displays?
Kissing. We don’t see it so much anymore. Middle school kids sext naked pictures of one another. High school girls practice on glass Coke bottles to learn how to give blowjobs. “Friends with benefits” is more predominant than that first sweet kiss where two young lips meet with timid anticipiation and innocence.
Several years ago I worked with a fifteen year old girl whose panicked mother had brought her to see me after discovering her daughter was sexually active, engaging in threesomes with no protection, for her body or her heart. The casual way in which the girl recalled her experiences, the shrug of her shoulders, and the nonchalant tone didn’t betray the loss in her narrative.
She had never even been kissed.
After she left my office, I spent some time in reflection on the lost art of kissing. I’ve worked with many couples over the years. Couples who come in during times of crisis and many who have simply worn out the grooves of their relationship, like the deep ruts of the dirt road that’s been traveled on during too many rainy and stormy seasons. These couples have long forgotten the magic and good fortune of kissing.
I remember back to my own childhood. Early junior high school days where slumber parties with my girlfriends were spent imagining the possibilities and anticipation of that first kiss.
High school weekend nights spent in cars on hilltops in the dark, side by side in the company of other cars whose passengers were also locked in deep embraces and long searching kisses.
Many of the couples I work with have forgotten about the kissing. Oh yes, they report having sex, but kisses? When you think about it, kissing is a much more intimate act than sex. It requires a certain kind of vulnerability to be naked face to naked face, the eyes right there to be seen and searched, the mouth full of desire to be filled with the other.
Kisses, the ones one dreams about for years in anticipation, have been discarded like three-day old garbage that no longer has any use in the home. Oh yes, there are quick and hurried pecks on the cheeks or mouth first thing in the morning when the goodbyes for the day are said. The kind of kisses that came from places of superstition, like the knocking on wood just in case some unexpected tragedy might visit that day. A kind of insurance against potential future regret.
I work with these couples, nudging them to spend some time to just kiss. Nothing more. To take the time when the dishes have been done, the arduous fight to put the kids to bed has been won, and the TV and computer act as seducer to distract from one another.
The older I get, the age-old wisdoms come hurling at me. Life is short. Love is moody and tends to forget. The resentments, the competitions, and the nit picking that comes with the familiarity of the one who used to stir up passion so blinding that nothing else could compete with the brilliance become the dominators and kisses become distant memories.
Remember those early kisses. The tender softness made fiery by the spark when searching mouths first touch, the discovery, and the newness of it all.
One can never forget the magic of a cold night standing with the one you wanted to do nothing else with but kiss, for maybe even an eternity. Memories of snowflakes that seductively fell cracked open the heart when breath released like wisps of clouds into the midnight white sky between gentle kisses of love made warm.
If you’re fortunate enough to be with the one you love, take time to remember. Bring back the kisses. Spend time in those long and lingering embraces, slow down the pace of a clock that ticks and tocks at the same rate, whether you think you have the time or not.
Feel the shyness return, blush like a school kid. Go on a late night drive and park on a hill overlooking the soft lights of a city at sleep. Abandon your inhibitions, dare to kiss, make-out like the teenagers of times gone by. Feel the youth and longing kissing so naturally brings.
Resist the persistent yawn, the weariness of a long day. Build a fire, turn on some music, and take the time to look at the one who has been beside you day after routine day. The one who has been taken for granted, the face, the eyes, and the lips that have gone unnoticed.
Take the time to get ready for love.
**This post is dedicated to my newly married daughter and her husband. I wish them a lifetime of Kisses.