I was seven and she was seven. She kissed me once, then she kissed me again. She turned into my first kissing partner, a classroom conspiracy engineered by her. I was a lost but complicit co-conspirator, unsure of what it was all about. Why is she doing this? What part should I be playing here? Why does she taste so good?
Jane Phillips, where are you? Wanna give it another shot?
The kissing faded, as did her ardor for me. Perhaps our mutual lack of make-out skills doomed us from the start, but my suspicion is that I killed it. Too much thinking, not enough action. I should have just rolled with it, especially as Jane not only brought extra lunch to school for me, but went out of her way to walk home with me too. She was the definition of the perfect girlfriend. With memory of the kissing faded, what remained was her smell, which I can conjur to this day.
But Jane wasn't the first person to kiss me. That would, presumably, have been my mother. Right, so they're two completely different kinds of kissing, but they're the same physical action separated only by context. Interesting that at a family function we can kiss a close friend or relative as a sign of connection and fealty, then go on to kiss our wife or husband and communicate something so much more. Kissing is both an instrument of alliance and of overt sexuality.
If you're a mechanistic evolutionist you'd look for a reason for the kiss. For kissing to survive as a behaviour it must have some benefit for both parties. Let's see. There is the transfer of germs - good for babies acquiring their parents' immune sophistication. There is the shared smell of swapping skin flakes and saliva - a sort of hazmat solidarity. And there's the busting of the very last ring of personal space - a what's yours is mine suspension of physical defences. Add up these elements and we have that most endearing of human qualities, the ability to give yourself to another, signalled by the pressing of one's mouth onto the body, head or mouth of another.
Evolution is a brutal judge of superfluous behaviour. Kissing survives for only one reason, and that is because it aids species continuation. Kissing is a quick and dirty way of figuring out if you're a sexual match. Bad kisser, bad lover. If she tastes wrong, she probably is wrong. On the other hand, someone who gives good kiss moves a long way up the list of preferred partners, and, speaking personally, a good kisser is a heavenly gift notwithstanding the outcome. A good kisser stands alone as such, or can lead to extra complexity ie: another generation of kissers.
Which brings me to the undeniable fact - that kissing has power beyond simple intimacy. We're social creatures, and we're tactile too. We want to meld with a special other, and the power of this drive appears to go beyond mere reproduction. At a fundamental level, we understand that attachment to another one and then descending levels of closeness to relatives and non-related individuals in concentric circles fulfills us. It's tribalism, the need to belong and know that we belong. Hence the kiss of enormous variation, from the humble kissing of the hand - at your service, Your Majesty - to the unbridled heat of connection during sex.
Kissing sends the universal message - I want to be a part of you.
Bottoms Up, You Big Beautiful Kissers You.