Kiss romance goodbye

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Column. Hope you enjoy it.
Big kiss.
(Well a little big kiss, nothing over two seconds, and probably on your cheek, but still, big in love.)

Ever wonder who the first people to decide to kiss were? If you think about it too much the concept of kissing becomes a little strange. Yes, let’s press our mouths up against each other, with tongue if you’re French.
The internet is sketchy on the subject of the very first kiss. I suppose there are too many differing beliefs on the nature of our origin to nail down just one kissing theory. Interestingly though, the kiss was unknown to ancient Egypt, but was quite common in early Greece, Assyria and India. Or perhaps you believe we have Adam and Eve to thank for it. Or if you’re Buddhist, then possibly you were the first person to ever kiss anyone, in a previous life of course.
So I can’t tell you how or where the first smooch ever happened, but I can tell you that the longest snog ever recorded lasted forty six hours and twenty four minutes. A Thai couple nabbed this record in a kissing competition in 2011. They started kissing at 6am on a Sunday and were done just before dawn on Tuesday. They broke the previous record which was held by a German couple, who kissed for just over 32 hours in 2009. Lightweights.
Thirteen other couples took part, but husband and wife team, Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat, won by a tongue. Taking away a diamond ring worth just over a thousand pounds and around two thousand pounds in cash, for their trouble. I would need a lot more than two grand to cover all the couples counseling we’d need after kissing for over forty six hours straight. I mean we’ve all had major make-out sessions, but I’m guessing they only lasted an hour or two, three max before your braces got tangled, or the disco was over and your parents came to fetch you, or you graduated to bigger and better bases.
The entry criteria for the kissing competition were almost as bizarre as the competition itself. Contestants either had to be married, or considered a serious couple. Which got me wondering how you tell if a couple is serious or not?
Back in the olden days there was a popular TV and radio game show called Check Your Mate. (I’m trying not to give my age away here, and failing miserably.) One half of a couple went into a soundproof booth and the quiz master asked the other person intimate questions about their partner. Things like what’s their favourite colour underpant? What was their first pet’s name? Or whether they put the milk in their tea before or after the hot water? And the couple who answered the most questions correctly went home with a Morkels bedroom set, or a braai kit or something like that.
So I imagined maybe the Thai kissing competition had instituted something like this to establish whether the couples entering the competition met the criteria of being truly serious about each other. I was very disappointed to discover that in order to qualify, if they didn’t have a marriage certificate, both sets of parents needed to write a letter to confirm that the couple was indeed legitimate. I preferred the quiz show idea.
Back to the competition, forty six hours is a long time to be locked onto another human being’s mouth, don’t you think? According to the rules, provided they never stopped kissing, they were allowed to eat (they don’t say how) and drink (using a straw) and use the bathroom every three hours, accompanied by contest monitors (talk about killing the romance) and they weren’t allowed to sit or lie down for the duration of the kiss.
I tried to picture kissing someone whilst on the toilet, but it got ugly very fast, so I had to drink some whisky and think about something else instead. I just do
n’t think two human beings should be in that kind of proximity to each other for that amount of time. Unless born conjoined, in which case, it’s entirely out of their control.
And nowhere did I read about when they were allowed to brush their teeth? I’m hoping that was built in somewhere as a sub-clause. Preferably every hour on the hour.
So that’s the longest kiss. There’s also the record for the most people kissing in the same place at the same time. Which was broken in Mexico in 2009 when 40 000 people found themselves gathered in the Plaza de la Constitucion, playing tonsil hockey. I know unemployment is high around the world right now, but I can’t believe all these people didn’t have anything better to do than hang around swapping spit.
Clearly nobody has ever done a head count of how many people kiss Simon Cowell’s ass during the taping of Idols auditions. I’m sure that would beat Mexico by a couple hundred at least.
With all these records and competitions, do you think kissing could be considered a sport? I’d love to see it at the next Olympics. But training for it would be brutal, I wonder what a tongue push up looks like?

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