The joy of kissing.

I love kissing. No, seriously. It's a big deal for me. In fact, I'd say it's a make or break point. On my first date with Hands, I confessed to him (after a few whiskies) that I believed kisses were extremely important; I’ve always felt that if I get on with someone, great, but if their kisses don’t work for me, then odds are we won’t continue seeing each other for very long. I want sparks, excitement and a feeling of connection. 

What part of kissing is the best part, though? Is it the build-up? I used to love that part, when I was a hopelessly romantic teenager, full of hormones and constantly fighting inappropriate urges. We actually used to do an exercise in my Drama A Level lessons to ‘create sexual tension’ (hardly necessary, in a class of 15 sweaty teens mostly wearing leggings and writhing around to moody trance music, but hey) in which we’d grab a partner (literally) and take it in turns to walk towards each other and get in super close, as if we were about to dive in for an epic snog, then turn and walk away at the last minute… then turn back longingly, one last time. Goodness me, it was intense. And obviously, we all loved doing it. Because the suspense was delicious. It was like a scene in The OC, or even Skins; the will they? won’t they? plot lines were so juicy, it was almost a let down when the characters would break the tension with a smooch and end the wondering immediately. I remember I had friends at school and then college who I didn’t ‘get with’ because I enjoyed the ‘maybe’ of it all too much. I properly relished the excitement and question of it. My friends and I would always be swapping stories about ‘almost kisses’ on the train home, we’d get drunk on the anticipation and flush hot pink as we described every little detail – “he and I were in the costume cupboard behind the theatre, and we both reached for this jacket at the same time, he turned to me and we made eye contact and I FELT HIS BREATH on my cheek…”

Yep. The build-up, the not-kissing part, is pretty wonderful. But y’know what else is? The actual kissing part. When I was very young, I remember wondering how on earth we humans decided that we liked smushing our mouths together, and how that could be a declaration of attraction, or even love. And I mean, to this day I can still see the weirdness of it all, if you look at it simply – it’s just two faces being abruptly stuck together by two pairs of lips, with the optional tongues slipping in and out and shaking all about. It’s really bizarre. But it sends the happiest tingles through you; it somehow connects with your whole body, and your brain can get really into it as well. If it’s done right, that is. I’ve been kissed by some truly magnificent masters, a few promising punters, and then some absolute amateurs. Everyone has their own style and preferences (for instance, I’m really not that fussed about the tongue. Leave it in there, mate). I’m a big fan of hands on the sides of my face, or maybe one against the back of my head and one on my waist. Even a light hug around the middle feels nice. I once shared a great kiss with someone in a suit, and I think what made it great was the fact that I could grab hold of their lapels and pull them toward me. 10/10. I’ve also kissed someone I probably shouldn’t have, and that fact was hot enough really, but they also did this trick of running their hands up and down my back in little circles, which made me shiver against them and get in even closer. Sensory overload. 

But then it doesn’t always have to be dramatic. It can be lovely and gentle, like my first kiss with Hands, which was across a wobbly table in a pub on a quiet Friday night; just a little smooch that tasted like a sweet mingling of whisky and rum, it felt so gentle but hid within it a hint of wickedness.

photo: Sophie Mayanne

Then comes another exciting part… the after. When you break apart from the person you’ve been kissing and share a moment there, just you two. This is particularly lovely after a first kiss, partly because all that tension that built up would have finally been released, and you’ll both feel the happy relief of it as the dust settles around you… but also because it’s a taste of what’s to come. A first kiss is like a key, and you let yourself into something with it. You don’t know what the something actually is yet, and that’s part of the excitement, isn’t it? I, for one, love the ‘after’ part of a kiss. It can be so brief; just a quick flicker of a spark between each other’s eyes, blink and you’ll miss it, before you both look away and smile to yourselves, then continue with whatever you were doing. Return to the party, refill your drinks, catch up with other friends, don’t think on what just happened too much because there’s no time now. Or it can sit with you for a while, a comforting feeling that settles on your shoulders and tickles your lips; it fills up your chest with a mixture of warmth and confidence that makes you sit up a little and show your teeth when you smile. It glows in the corners of your eyes. For the rest of the evening, you and the person you kissed will feel the little smattering of stardust that was born when you collided, and exists between the two of you. 

photo: Sophie Mayanne

What’s your favourite part of a kiss? And are there any that you think will always linger in the back of your mind? 


  1. Gosh, I love the way you write so much, Grace. I remember so little about my teenage years, but this has made me remember just how much love and romance certainly felt like THE biggest deal. For me, I bloomin' love mid-kiss smiles. They just feel so cheeky and sweet all at once!


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