December 14, 2017

Living Well: Vive Le Bisou!

 

DRAWING BY DAN MAZUR, MESSENGER

Living Well: Vive Le Bisou!

A kiss. A simple kiss. As a child, the last thing I remember before going to sleep each night is my mom tucking me in and kissing me on the forehead. A feisty kid, I also demanded that she kiss my stuffed animals — all twelve of them. During the day, she would sometimes give me butterfly kisses: little flutters of her eyelashes against my cheek. In the winter, we shared Eskimo kisses, gently rubbing our cold noses together for both warmth and affection.

My teen years brought a whole new world of kissing, and straight As stopped being so important. It’s a wonder any healthy kid gets passing grades once spring arrives. With my first boyfriend, I discovered kissing bliss. Now, thirty years later, I’ve rediscovered the fine art of le bisou. But it took time.

After my divorce, I imagined the dating scene to be too wild for my taste. Every movie I watched showed couples in bed on the first or second date. It scared the pants off me ... not literally. I decided to spend some time alone, to simply be and learn to love myself. I’m so glad I did. I would not trade that time for anything. Then, my angels sent me a little nudge.

As I sat outside my Sunday dance class, I noticed a man and woman by my car...kissing. They stood there for half an hour being affectionate, and I remembered the sweetness of romance. I smiled and said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

Coincidentally, a gentleman friend had asked me out for dinner, and that day we made arrangements. For my first date as a single woman, I chose the Inn of the Seventh Ray. My friend goes there for the food. He had no idea the Inn is the most romantic restaurant in L.A., and neither of us knew it would be decked out for Valentine’s Day. The stage was set. By midnight, two innocent middle-aged friends would be under the spell of le bisou. A kiss. A simple kiss. I tell my mother we’re friends. She’s not buying it. And my friend says things will never be the same. Me? I’m taking it one kiss at a time.

We’re both old enough to know that one rash move can ruin our friendship, so on the romance highway, we’re slow. Tortoises wave to us as they pass. We act like teenagers in a 50’s TV show. Dinner, holding hands at the movies, a kiss goodnight. It’s lingering. It’s savory. It’s the most delicious thing in the world and every cell of my being remembers what all the fuss is about.

But enough about my research...the point is to share self-care practices with you, so here it is: kissing is worth practicing. It has health benefits. Of course! Anything that feels this wholesome, natural and yummy must be good for you.

Here are some of the mind/body benefits: passionate kissing uses thirty facial muscles, bringing more tone and circulation to the cheeks, producing a more youthful, healthy glow. It increases your self-esteem, brings a sense of appreciation and helps your state of mind. Kissing relieves stress and reduces negative energy. It lowers your level of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases the production of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for human bonding. Kissing clears mental chatter and brings you right into the present moment. It also feels good, provided you are with someone you like who kisses you in a way you enjoy.

Kissing is also a great way to get to know someone more deeply. Studies show that a woman can tell from the first evening of kissing if a relationship will be successful. A kiss may be intimate, affectionate, joyous, caring, impassioned. It is more intimate than sexual intercourse. You are breathing another person’s air, touching their skin, tasting them, smelling them, sharing all senses at once. Not an easy time to disconnect.

According to www.bestkisses.com, there are ten different types of kisses, including the Peck, the Kiss on the Cheek, the French Kiss, the Forehead Kiss, even the Upside-Down Kiss (but only Spiderman can do this with any skill). Let’s not forget the Hand Kiss, which every boy should learn before dating, and the Lingering Lip Kiss, which the site claims can burn two calories a minute. While it may not be a primary source of exercise, it can’t hurt, and even if you don’t lose any weight, at least you’ll be happy.

There’s also the Kiss of Death and the Wedding Kiss. (Some people say these are synonymous…they are not.) Kidding aside, there is no kiss more sacred than one shared by bride and groom. It is a beautiful act of love and commitment witnessed by an entire community. What could be more spiritually sexy?

Whatever kind of kissing you choose to do, do more of it. Kiss long and often. Savor each precious moment. It’s healthy. It’s free, and it’s good for the environment. If you’re kissing, you’re not consuming gas, energy, etc.

One practical consideration: when you kiss, allow a big ol’ hunk of time. Kissing is enticing and addictive. It has a tendency to take longer than you may think it will. A goodnight kiss, for example, may last for an hour or more (even without the twelve stuffed animals), and, as my gentleman friend likes to say, “Bet you can’t have just one....”

My Favorite Kissing Quotes

“The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.”

— Emil Ludwig

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

— Albert Einstein

Sage Knight is a local author, editor, and kissing connoisseur with a background in spiritual counseling and holistic health. Please visit her at www.SageKnightWrites.com.