Kiss

The Kiss by Francesco Hayez, 19th century.

A kiss (from Old English cyssan "to kiss", in turn from coss "a kiss", perhaps onomatopoeic) is the touching of the lips to some other thing, usually another person. Science of kissing is called Philematology.

Kissing is a learned behaviour, related to the grooming behaviour seen between other animals. Many non-human primates also exhibit kissing behaviour.

Kissing as affection

In modern Western culture, kissing is most commonly an expression of affection.

Between people of close acquaintance, a kiss, often reciprocal, is offered as a greeting or a good-bye. This kind of kiss is typically made by brief contact of puckered lips to the skin of the cheek or no contact at all, and merely performed in the air near the cheek with the cheeks touching. Such kissing is a common greeting in European and Latin American countries between a man and a woman or between two women. Relatives may kiss children to comfort them or show affection, and vice versa.

As an expression of romantic affection or sexual desire, kissing involves two people kissing one another on the lips, usually with much more intensity, and for a considerably longer period of time. In more passionate kissing couples may open their mouths, suck on each others' lips, or move their tongues into each others' mouths (see French kissing). Sexualized kissing may also involve one person kissing another on various parts of the body.

In romantic and sexual kissing, the physical sensations are often of primary importance.

Kissing as symbolism

A symbolic kiss

When not an expression of affection, a kiss is a largely symbolic gesture in that the purpose of the kiss is to convey a meaning, such as salutations or subordination, rather than to experience the physical sensations associated with kissing. Kisses on the cheek as salutations are traditional in many parts of continental Europe, and the number of kisses, alternating cheeks, depends on which region one comes from.

Kissing may also be used to signify reverence and subordination, as in kissing the ring of a king or pope. A kiss can also be rude or done for the sake of irritating or proving one's superiority. A rude kiss or a kiss with a smack is referred to, in the USA, as a buss.

A more ominous use of the kiss is as a symbol of condemnation as may be observed when a crime lord kisses an underling, in effect imposing a sentence of death upon that person, the ultimate "goodbye kiss" or the "kiss of death."

The term Kissing Hands is used to formally describe the appointment of the senior state figures to office by British monarchs. Though in the past, the monarch's hand was actually kissed, this is no longer so. When figures such as the British Prime Minister, cabinet members and diplomatics are formally appointed, they are said to have Kissed Hands. (Kissing the hand is still practised as a romantic flourish, especially in Latin countries.)

Man kissing boy
Miyagawa Isshô, ca. 1750; One of ten panels on shudo themes from a shunga-style painted hand scroll. Private collection.

Other uses

The term is also used for expressions of affection that do not involve the lips. The "Eskimo Kiss" is executed by the two individuals gently rubbing the tips of their noses together — in the Maori culture of New Zealand this is called a hongi. A "butterfly kiss" consists of two people putting their eyes close to each other and fluttering their eyelashes upon one another's.

A kiss can be "blown" using actions of the hand and the mouth. This is used to convey affection usually while parting, when the partners are physically distant but can view each other. Blown kisses are also used when a popular person wishes to convey affection to a large crowd or audience.

The kiss does not exist in all cultures, as certain societies find it repugnant.

Young couple kiss in Minnesota, 1900

Asymmetry in kissing

In order to avoid clashing noses, a couple will often turn their faces to one side or another when kissing, so that their heads are at an angle from one another. Often, to make this more comfortable, one person, sitting upright, will support another, perhaps across their lap and in their arms, thus combining hugging and kissing. The person supporting the other is most likely taking the more active role in kissing the other. Writing in Nature, psychologist Oner Güntürkün observed couples kissing in public places such as airports and parks, and showed that the direction of turning is more frequently to the right than the left by a 2:1 ratio. Güntürkün ascribed this asymmetry to a neonatal right side preference.

(data from Nature 421, 711 (13 February 2003); doi:10.1038/421711a)

The anatomy of kissing

Kissing is a complex behaviour that requires significant coordination. The most important muscle involved is the orbicularis oris muscle; it is used to pucker the lips and informally known as the kissing muscle. The tongue can also be an important part of the kiss.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.

Kisses in history, art and literature

  • In the gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss — a subversive use of the kiss, as it is a symbol of affection.
  • The last words of British naval commander Horatio, Lord Nelson, are said to have been 'Kiss me Hardy!' to one of his subordinates.
  • In the fairytale Sleeping Beauty and the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, a romantic kiss is used by a male to awaken or breathe life into a female, which feminist critics have interpreted as symbolising the suspect idea that women don't have much of a life unless their sexuality is awakened through the attention of men. The Matrix turns the tables on this motif when Trinity kisses the sleeping main character Neo, bringing him back to life at the end of the movie.
  • In the Frog Prince fairytale, it is the male who is transformed from frog to man by a romantic kiss.
  • Gustav Klimt painted a work entitled The Kiss.
  • The Turkish 1997 hit song Simarik has a chorus that ends with two kiss sounds. The Australian cover version is even titled Kiss Kiss.
  • Auguste Rodin created the sculpture The Kiss (Le Baiser).
  • In Lady and the Tramp, while Lady and Tramp were both eating the end of a noodle at the same time, their lips end up touching.

Trivia

  • The longest recorded kiss took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 5, 1999, between Karmit Tsubera and Dror Orpaz. It lasted 30 hours and 45 minutes.

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The tongue can also be an important part of the kiss. 'Wallpaper' is the term used in Microsoft Windows, while the Mac OS avoids mixing metaphors by calling it a 'desktop picture' (prior to Mac OS X, the term desktop pattern was used to refer to a small pattern that was repeated to fill the screen). The most important muscle involved is the orbicularis oris muscle; it is used to pucker the lips and informally known as the kissing muscle. The terms wallpaper and desktop picture refer to an image used as a background on a computer screen, usually for the desktop of a graphical user interface. Kissing is a complex behaviour that requires significant coordination. Warning: Only soak what you intend to remove today...if it dries, the glue is reactivated and hardens to an almost impossible to remove finish. (data from Nature 421, 711 (13 February 2003); doi:10.1038/421711a). After about three applications and some waiting...the paper (even multiple layers) can be removed easily with the aid of a putty knife.

Güntürkün ascribed this asymmetry to a neonatal right side preference. Soak thoroughly....wait and soak again. Writing in Nature, psychologist Oner Güntürkün observed couples kissing in public places such as airports and parks, and showed that the direction of turning is more frequently to the right than the left by a 2:1 ratio. Then spray on warm water or a mixture of warm water and vinegar. The person supporting the other is most likely taking the more active role in kissing the other. You can also lightly score the old paper with a tool that looks like a hand sander with sharp wheels/teeth. Often, to make this more comfortable, one person, sitting upright, will support another, perhaps across their lap and in their arms, thus combining hugging and kissing. The drywall remains undamaged, whereas often with steaming approach underlying plaster can end up crumbling leaving an uneven surface.

In order to avoid clashing noses, a couple will often turn their faces to one side or another when kissing, so that their heads are at an angle from one another. Wallwik uses no caustic chemicals and no heavy steam equipment -- just water, and a small amount of Wallwik Power solution, a scoring tool & Wallwik fabric. The kiss does not exist in all cultures, as certain societies find it repugnant. A newer method of wallpaper stripping is the Wallwik approach, which is to apply damp sheets of wallwik fabric to the wallpaper. Blown kisses are also used when a popular person wishes to convey affection to a large crowd or audience. However, care must be taken to prevent damage to the drywall underneath. This is used to convey affection usually while parting, when the partners are physically distant but can view each other. The steam dissolves the wallpaper paste, allowing the wallpaper to be peeled off.

A kiss can be "blown" using actions of the hand and the mouth. In fact, one of the ways to remove wallpaper is to apply steam, usually from a wallpaper steamer that consists of a reservoir of water, an electric heating element, and a hose to direct the steam at the wallpaper. A "butterfly kiss" consists of two people putting their eyes close to each other and fluttering their eyelashes upon one another's. For example, bathroom wallpaper may deteriorate rapidly due to excessive steam. The "Eskimo Kiss" is executed by the two individuals gently rubbing the tips of their noses together — in the Maori culture of New Zealand this is called a hongi. Additionally, wallpaper is not suitable for all areas. The term is also used for expressions of affection that do not involve the lips. Like paint, wallpaper requires proper surface preparation before application.

(Kissing the hand is still practised as a romantic flourish, especially in Latin countries.). 'Wallpaper' is the term used in Microsoft Windows, while the Mac OS avoids mixing metaphors by calling it a 'desktop picture' (prior to Mac OS X, the term desktop pattern was used to refer to a small pattern that was repeated to fill the screen). When figures such as the British Prime Minister, cabinet members and diplomatics are formally appointed, they are said to have Kissed Hands. The terms wallpaper and desktop picture refer to an image used as a background on a computer screen, usually for the desktop of a graphical user interface. Though in the past, the monarch's hand was actually kissed, this is no longer so. Currently "Wallpaper" is used as a term for Computer Wallpaper. The term Kissing Hands is used to formally describe the appointment of the senior state figures to office by British monarchs. By the early twentieth century, wallpaper had established itself as one of the most popular household items across the Western world.

A more ominous use of the kiss is as a symbol of condemnation as may be observed when a crime lord kisses an underling, in effect imposing a sentence of death upon that person, the ultimate "goodbye kiss" or the "kiss of death.". Wallpaper enjoyed a huge boom in popularity in the nineteenth century, seen as a cheap and very effective way of brightening up cramped and dark rooms in working-class areas. A rude kiss or a kiss with a smack is referred to, in the USA, as a buss. The development of steam-powered printing presses in Britain in 1813 allowed manufacturers to mass-produce wallpaper, reducing its price and so making it affordable to working-class people. A kiss can also be rude or done for the sake of irritating or proving one's superiority. However, the end of the war saw a massive demand in Europe for British goods which had been inaccessible during the wars, including cheap, colourful wallpaper. Kissing may also be used to signify reverence and subordination, as in kissing the ring of a king or pope. During the Napoleonic Wars, trade between Europe and Britain evaporated, resulting in the gradual decline of the wallpaper industry in Britain.

Kisses on the cheek as salutations are traditional in many parts of continental Europe, and the number of kisses, alternating cheeks, depends on which region one comes from. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain was the leading wallpaper manufacturer in Europe, exporting vast quantities to Europe in addition to selling on the middle-class British market. When not an expression of affection, a kiss is a largely symbolic gesture in that the purpose of the kiss is to convey a meaning, such as salutations or subordination, rather than to experience the physical sensations associated with kissing. Following the Restoration of Charles II, wealthy people across England began demanding wallpaper again - Cromwell's regime had imposed a boring culture on people, and following his death, wealthy people began purchasing comfortable domestic items which had been banned under the Puritan state. In romantic and sexual kissing, the physical sensations are often of primary importance. During The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell, England became an austere and dull country, and the manufacture of wallpaper, seen as a frivolous item by the Puritan government, was halted. Sexualized kissing may also involve one person kissing another on various parts of the body. Unable to import tapestries and without any tapestry manufacturers in England, English gentry and aristocracy alike turned to wallpaper.

In more passionate kissing couples may open their mouths, suck on each others' lips, or move their tongues into each others' mouths (see French kissing). Wallpaper became very popular in England following Henry VIII's excommunication from the Catholic Church - English aristocrats had always imported tapestries from Flanders and Arras, but Henry VIII's split with the Catholic Church had resulted in a fall in trade with Europe and increased wars. As an expression of romantic affection or sexual desire, kissing involves two people kissing one another on the lips, usually with much more intensity, and for a considerably longer period of time. Early wallpaper featured scenes similar to those depicted on tapestries, and large sheets of the paper were hung loose on the walls, in the style of tapestries. Relatives may kiss children to comfort them or show affection, and vice versa. Less well-off members of the elite, unable to buy tapestries due either to prices or wars preventing international trade, turned to wallpaper to brighten up their rooms. Such kissing is a common greeting in European and Latin American countries between a man and a woman or between two women. However, tapestries were extremely expensive and so only the very rich could afford them.

This kind of kiss is typically made by brief contact of puckered lips to the skin of the cheek or no contact at all, and merely performed in the air near the cheek with the cheeks touching. These tapestries added colour to the room as well as providing an insulating layer between the stone walls and the room, thus retaining heat in the room. Between people of close acquaintance, a kiss, often reciprocal, is offered as a greeting or a good-bye. The elite of society were accustomed to hanging large tapestries on the walls of their homes, a tradition from the Middle Ages. In modern Western culture, kissing is most commonly an expression of affection. Wallpaper gained popularity in Renaissance Europe amongst the emerging gentry. . Modern-style wallpaper, with block designs in continuous patterns, was developed in 1675 by the French engraver, Jean Papillon.

Many non-human primates also exhibit kissing behaviour. Wallpaper can be traced back to 200BC when the Chinese, inventors of paper itself, pasted rice paper on their walls. Kissing is a learned behaviour, related to the grooming behaviour seen between other animals. Currently "Wallpaper" is used as a term for Computer Wallpaper as well. Science of kissing is called Philematology. All manufactured wallpaper patterns are based on these groups. A kiss (from Old English cyssan "to kiss", in turn from coss "a kiss", perhaps onomatopoeic) is the touching of the lips to some other thing, usually another person. Mathematically speaking, there are seventeen basic patterns, described as wallpaper groups, that can be used to tile an infinite plane.

It lasted 30 hours and 45 minutes. Wallpapers can come either plain so it can be painted or with patterned graphics. The longest recorded kiss took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 5, 1999, between Karmit Tsubera and Dror Orpaz. Wallpapers are usually sold in rolls and are put onto a wall using wallpaper paste. In Lady and the Tramp, while Lady and Tramp were both eating the end of a noodle at the same time, their lips end up touching. Wallpaper is material which is used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes, offices, and other buildings; it is one aspect of interior decoration. Auguste Rodin created the sculpture The Kiss (Le Baiser). History of Wallpaper.

The Australian cover version is even titled Kiss Kiss. The Turkish 1997 hit song Simarik has a chorus that ends with two kiss sounds. Gustav Klimt painted a work entitled The Kiss. In the Frog Prince fairytale, it is the male who is transformed from frog to man by a romantic kiss.

The Matrix turns the tables on this motif when Trinity kisses the sleeping main character Neo, bringing him back to life at the end of the movie. In the fairytale Sleeping Beauty and the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, a romantic kiss is used by a male to awaken or breathe life into a female, which feminist critics have interpreted as symbolising the suspect idea that women don't have much of a life unless their sexuality is awakened through the attention of men. The last words of British naval commander Horatio, Lord Nelson, are said to have been 'Kiss me Hardy!' to one of his subordinates. In the gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss — a subversive use of the kiss, as it is a symbol of affection.

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