Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kissing Strangers

I tried to resist. I stayed away from the topic for as long as I could, thinking it would go away. But if my facebook newsfeed is any kind of indicator, we're still talking about that First Kiss video. Parodies are still popping up, so I guess we're not quite over it.

In case you've been living under a rock, this is the video I'm talking about: 

So twenty strangers are asked to kiss each other for the first time in front of a camera. Of course there was more to it: turns out it was put on by a clothing company, which explains why everyone is well-dressed. And they used actors and musicians, so of course they're all quite lovely. (Can you spot Damian from OkGo? I missed him the first time. Sneaky.) So is it exactly as advertised? Lots of people are saying no. I maintain that yes, it is--they're still people kissing for the first time on camera. (I was going to say they're strangers to each other but I can't back that up.) 

Did I like the video? Surprisingly, yes. But Bitter Amanda, you're saying out loud looking like a weirdo, you can't stand people making out in public! In fact you're rather rude to people kissing in front of you. What made this different? Great question, readers. And part of my answer is that they weren't actually kissing in public--not counting the camera, of course. They weren't blocking my path to the restroom or exit. But that's just part of it. 

The main reason I liked it? These people are having a real moment with each other without a romantic backstory. Kissing strangers if often portrayed as a pathetic, lonely, (drunk) experience. And that bothers me. 

Why? Because I like kissing strangers. Kissing strangers can be awesome. I don't usually kiss them right away, since that's tough to get away with unless you have some romantic comedy plotline to help you out. (You know, oh that guy over there won't leave me alone and I said you were my boyfriend kiss me so I can prove it to him!)** I usually engage in a bit of flirting first...then I kiss them. 

Some people want to criticize that. Some people believe that you have to create these moments using a relationship algorithm. Smile, introduction, flirting, phone number, three days, dinner, kiss. They want to see the experience as pathetic and desperate and sloppy. And maybe it is, sometimes. (Then again, there is value in those moments too.) But as First Kiss (and my personal experiences...) show, it doesn't have to be. It can be sweet and fun and sexy and yes, it can be intimate. And you can walk away and never see them again and it doesn't lose any value! 

My point here? Despite what movies show us, you don't have to be long suffering star-crossed lovers for a kiss to be worthwhile. A kiss isn't better if you know their middle name. It doesn't have to be about love at all. It just has to be about does this person want to kiss me and do I want to kiss them? (Alright, YES, sometimes there is a bit more to it--is it permissible/legal/whatever--that's a bigger topic for some other time. If you're not sure about those issues you should hold off on kissing. You're getting distracted.) 

Calm down, committed couples. Your kisses are good too. (AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT HOLDING UP THE LINE AT STARBUCKS.) Kissing someone you have feelings for--ugh--or whatever is great. As long as you can convince yourself that your relationship isn't a lie. Of course I don't mean your relationship--yours is fine...I mean other relationships...

So weigh in here, readers--what did you think of First Kiss

**Wait, do you guys think I could get away with using those kind of lines? 

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