Yes, a kiss is all of these . . . and more.
March 3, 2008 6:48 PM   Subscribe

"Let us say that you have raveled in a sweet, long kiss. Suddenly, you see your loved one's eyes close as though in a moment of weariness. Gently detach your lips from hers and raise them up to her closed eyelids. Drop a kisslet first on one eyelid and then on the other. Feel the rolling orb quiver under your lips. Then, when you have done this, run your lips down along the line of her nose, stopping at odd times to purse them into a tiny kiss. When you reach the wrinkle of her nostrils, bury your lips deeply into the curve and kiss little niblets into first one and then the other. If her eyes still are closed, repeat the process. But return to the lips." -- from "The Art of Kissing" by Hugh Morris (1936). Revised and expanded in 1991 by William Cane.

More excerpts from the 1936 edition:

"Personally, I disagree with those who advise closed eyes. To me, there is an additional thrill in seeing, before my eyes, the drama of bliss and pleasure as it is played on the face of my beloved. I can see tiny wrinkles form at the corners of her eyes, wrinkles of joy. I can see fleeting spasms of happiness flit across her eyes. I can see these things and, in seeing them, my pleasurable reactions to the kiss are considerably heightened. In keeping my eyes open, I am giving pleasure not to one sense alone, the sense of touch, but to two senses, the senses of touch and of sight. These two, coupled with the sense of smell which is actuated by the perfume of her breath, all combine to make the kiss an exquisite, ineffable epitome of unalloyed bliss."

"In kissing a girl whose experience with osculation is limited, it is a good thing to work up to the kissing of the lips. Only an arrant fool seizes hold of such a girl, when they are comfortably seated on the sofa, and suddenly shoves his face into hers and smacks her lips. Naturally, the first thing he should do is to arrange it so that the girl is seated against the arm of the sofa while he is seated at her side. In this way, she cannot edge away from him when he becomes serious in his attentions."
posted by not_on_display (39 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
If kissing were a sport, would MDMA be considered a performance-enhancing drug?
posted by mullingitover at 7:03 PM on March 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Naturally, the first thing he should do is to arrange it so that the girl is seated against the arm of the sofa while he is seated at her side. In this way, she cannot edge away from him when he becomes serious in his attentions."

That's right. Tie her leg with a handy piece of twine, too. At least that way if she runs, you can just surf the coach in pursuit and still have a chance of licking her eyeballs and shoving your lips up her nose before she shakes herself loose.
posted by Brockles at 7:13 PM on March 3, 2008 [22 favorites]

This is how I do it. ;)
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:16 PM on March 3, 2008

Hahaha, thank you, Brockles.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 7:28 PM on March 3, 2008

I've always kept my eyes open.

I never knew better and I didn't even notice that it wasn't the custom. I still don't understand why one wouldn't.
posted by Shakeer at 7:32 PM on March 3, 2008

Speak o' the devil! I bought this at a used book store a few weeks ago. I like the bits about "electric kissing parties," which are essentially running your feet across the carpet and shocking the oral hell out of other party goers.
posted by katillathehun at 7:44 PM on March 3, 2008

Don't forget the tongue. The best line that was ever handed me was,"Have you ever had your back licked?"
posted by Balisong at 7:45 PM on March 3, 2008

Is this a kissing book?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:47 PM on March 3, 2008 [11 favorites]

Well, Shakeer, sometimes one really wants to keep one's eyes open, but one is overcome by such a feeling of langour, of melting, of deepest sensual reverie, that one's eyelids fall shut with absolutely no conscious volition on one's part.


Or so one has been told.
posted by maudlin at 7:52 PM on March 3, 2008

I own this book (the non-expanded original edition). For the number of times reading it aloud to a crush has gotten me nookie, it was well worth the $5 purchase price. If only I could say the same for MetaFilter. If you keep reading a bit past the second more inside excerpt, it proffers advice if she should pull away, jerk away violently, and/or struggle to get away while beating your chest. The various styles of kissing are quite electric as well. Also, remember—the girl should always be shorter than the guy.
posted by carsonb at 8:10 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

“Bah. Humbug,” said Mr Meat Machine——“’Twere a sad day indeed when the front page of a good and hon’rable daily were spent in discussin’”—and here the curmudgeon paused, spat, and cleared his throat—“juvenilia.”

He looked around the blue, his baleful eye chilly and flat:

“Bunch of Romantics,&rdquo he finished, as if he pronounced the doom of Judas upon his listeners.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:16 PM on March 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Oh goddamn you, you irredeemable &rdquo!
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:18 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

You have to close your eyes after a certain amount of time has passed because otherwise your eyes can't focus on your partner's individual eyes, and trying to focus on both of your partner's eyes makes you go cross-eyed, then you're worried about how your eyes look and you can't concentrate on kissing.
posted by amyms at 8:32 PM on March 3, 2008

I found this book sometime in 1993 at the book swap table at my place-of-work, a table where people would just leave and take books. This was found along with Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, a book about sex addiction, and I think a Richard Brautigan book.

This one I've kept. (And Gravity's Rainbow, but never finished that.) I skim the pages and laugh at what, I don't quite know: the quaint, odd, ejaculatory writing? A window into the sexual mores of the past? The actual kisses themselves? And why am I enjoying reading this? ... And you can open it to any page, and start reading and just go, "Whah!" And it's so tiny, almost like a brochure or leaflet, something you'd expect to find a religious tract printed on -- about 5"x8". It has a bright pink cover, with some sort of 30's style type of drawing of people about to kiss. Of course this is a reprint, stapled together, marked 1988 or so. Of course, now that I look for my copy, I can't find it. But it exists, I tell you! They called me mad, maaaad! But I'll show them! I'll show them all!

Hugh Morris also wrote How to Make Love: The Secret of Wooing and Winning the One You Love.

^amyms, keep the glasses ON.
posted by not_on_display at 8:42 PM on March 3, 2008

I find people that leave their eyes open (when I've bothered to open mine and check) a little beyond odd. Assuming (like me) they can't focus that close, it brings to mind some sort of automoton that....


Nope. Can't think of an analogy. It just freaks me the fuck out and makes me jump.
posted by Brockles at 8:43 PM on March 3, 2008

Women love it when you suck the boogers out of their nose.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:59 PM on March 3, 2008

Pucker up, here I come!
No, not that sphincter, stupid!
posted by Abiezer at 9:05 PM on March 3, 2008

Women love it when you suck the boogers out of their nose.

Thank you -- I couldn't figure out why the line about kissing little niblets into the curve of each nostril was grossing me out so bad. Although I guess technically he'd be kissing little niblets out of... oh god, never mind.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:14 PM on March 3, 2008

How to kiss
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:18 PM on March 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

With my glasses (-5 diopters) off, I can focus two inches from my eye. What with the natural curvature away from the lips, I am evolved for optimal open-eyed smoooching.
posted by aubilenon at 10:08 PM on March 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wait, no "that's why I never kiss them on the mouth" Jayne quote? Firefly really was a flash in the pan, wasn't it?
posted by maxwelton at 10:46 PM on March 3, 2008

I knew a fella once who used to say "I kiss bitches with my eyes open so they know I don't care". He's dead now, and I'm not sure those two things are unrelated, but it backs up Maudlin's point that in the heat of passion you just automatically close your eyes as you get all swept away. If I sneak a peak and see that her eyes are open it always makes me think she's less into it somehow. Plus it just really creeps me out that someone is staring at me AN INCH FROM MY FUCKING FACE.
posted by Roman Graves at 2:11 AM on March 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

I need to get a copy of this to have handy in case I want to inflict it on A Certain Someone some February 14th.
posted by pax digita at 2:44 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

*cough* err...let us say, hypothetically, that you have your eyes blissfully closed and then open them a crack to see the bliss of your partner to only find that their eyes are very open and very actively scanning the distance. A possible solution to get him to refocus is to exclaim, "What, you got another wife?!" or "Dammit, we are not on the savannah and avoiding the saber tooth!". I have *heard* that it does cause re-focus.
posted by jadepearl at 4:50 AM on March 4, 2008

The most important thing that Heinlein had to teach us was in Stranger: Jill's description of how Valentine Michael Smith kissed; with his whole being. Don't think of anything but kissing, just kiss.

Boy howdy it works.
And girl howdy too.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:58 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

you funny roman graves
posted by thebellafonte at 7:36 AM on March 4, 2008

This is like dancing about architecture.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:52 AM on March 4, 2008

Is this something I'd need lips for to understand?
posted by Anything at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it is. I like to dance about good architecture. (Actually, I'd never heard that saying before, but googling shows that it is an active phrase, hm? Well, thank god nobody likes to talk about music, to compare their experiences with music, huh? I mean, just look at the damn building, listen to the damn music, for christ's sake! Inotherwords, without sarcasm, yes, I'd love to dance about architecture. I'm twee like that sometimes, or so I've been told.)
posted by not_on_display at 12:33 PM on March 4, 2008

Oh, and you can also kiss with eyelashes, no lips neccesary. See this entry in the book. For those of you freaked out about the too-close-stare, you may wanna skip this.
posted by not_on_display at 12:35 PM on March 4, 2008

A, um, "friend" gave me this book once. Don't really know why I'm even posting, as that's all of that story I'm willing to share. But there you have it, anyway.
posted by rusty at 12:43 PM on March 4, 2008

Without wanting to get you any more exercised, I would suggest that kisses, maybe more than anything else at all (butterfly kisses included) feel better without the thinking. After all, they are a better fate than wisdom, as the poet said.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:36 PM on March 4, 2008

Sorry, in my family, eyelash brushes are known as butterfly kisses because of their feathery silky wispy feeling.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:38 PM on March 4, 2008

Agreed: better without the thinking while you're actually kissing and all into it. Still, a fun exercise to try with a longtime co-kisser just for shitz-n-giggles. This book is chock full of shitz-n-giggles, especially when read aloud.

(I've always known them as "butterfly kisses" too.)
posted by not_on_display at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2008

they are a better fate than wisdom

That's my favorite cummings poem.
posted by naoko at 2:33 PM on March 4, 2008

So you don’t just attack the clitoris then?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:09 PM on March 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Only if you use a rubber mallet. Apparently the 'ladies' like it gentle, or some such odd notion.
posted by Brockles at 5:06 PM on March 4, 2008

maybe this makes me perverted, but all i could think about with all that talk of eye kissing was bataille's "story of the eye" which is available as a pdf here.

i think it does make me a pervert.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:08 PM on March 4, 2008

Hmm, in a sweet, long kiss, I usually unravel.
posted by oats at 6:10 PM on March 4, 2008

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