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KISSING and The Fading Art of How To Research

The other day I was thinking about how it was sad that some people don't like to think or have opinions. As if having an opinion about something is bad. You see, I love to spend my days developing opinions about all sorts of things while I work. It's fun to think. And it's fun to stretch your thoughts in new directions. But on this particular day, I was pitying all of those that don't like having opinions.

I really pity those who say things like, "I don't really have an opinion." And say it as if they really don't have an opinion.

Like I said, I was spending my time pitying them. Until I started thinking about how impossible it had to be to not have an opinion about something.

"Surely, there's something that everyone has an opinion on?" 

And then it dawned on me what that something was—kissing! 

Everyone has an opinion about kissing. And if you tell me you don't, I'll be convinced that you are lying to me. 

Different Opinions Concerning Kissing: 
  • It's what mother's do to babies.
  • It's what boys do to girls. 
  • It's what only married people do. 
  • Kissing is wrong unless you're married. 
  • Kissing is wrong unless you're engaged. 
  • Kissing makes babies. 
  • Kissing is harmless.  
  • You can kiss a guy at the end of your first date to show him you'd like to go on another.
  • To kiss is to commit. 
  • Kissing is free for all—so don't put limitations on it. 
  • It's what religious people do and it's called a Holy Kiss. 
  • It's a sign of someone betraying someone. Run from him who tries to kiss you!
  • Kissing is, "Ew!"
  • Kissing is . . . "Oh, I'm sorry. I was thinking about something." *blushes*
Used with permission from Elizabeth Newsom

And the more I started thinking about it the more I realized that there are so many opinions about kissing because nearly everyone has an opinion about kissing. And I was amazed and overjoyed. And I smiled. For maybe the world wasn't as opinion-less as I had feared . . . 

Then I wondered, "Why? Why is kissing such a popular thing to hold an opinion of, even among those who say they have no opinions?" 

So, of course, I decided it was time to research this subject. But I didn't want to just google about kissing. First, that's weird. And I'm starting to hold the opinion that one of the reasons people don't know how to think very well is because they've forgotten how to really study. Google has made people lazy—why put in the full effort of studying if you can just google it? And why remember what you googled if you can easily google it again? 

As I teach you all about kissing, I'm also going to show you how to really study. The old-fashioned way. 

The first thing I did was look in my encyclopedias. Every smart researcher knows that you can learn a lot of information if you but browse the encyclopedias for hours. In fact . . . when I was about fourteen-fifteen I was seriously addicted to encyclopedias and spent hours reading them.

Sadly, I found no information in my set of encyclopedias on kissing. I was very disappointed that they didn't even have the words kiss, kissing, or any other variations. 

I opened my The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: The Unabridged Edition and was pleased to find they had the words I was looking for. 

Ignore the word, "kist". It was at the top of the dictionary page and I couldn't cut it out of the picture. It's not pertinent to this study and is not an old-fashioned word for kiss.  

As you can see, this proved to be very informative. I really enjoyed the entry kiss-off. It almost sound like an American Idol kind of show for people to compete on how well they kiss. But it really means "to dismiss someone". So boring ;/ 

The kissing gourami may be why people think "Ew" when they think of kissing. 

Kiss also means to gently touch, as an imagery word. Kiss of death is a fatal or destructive relationship—I think it refers to a bad breakup? 

I found the kiss of peace to be very interesting though. It seems to be a form of communion, or a type of Holy Kiss as referred to in the Bible (2 Corinthians 13:12). But what I found the most interesting was that it directed me to look up another word: pax. 

Now, this is interesting. The kiss of peace directed me to pax, which is a Latin word that literally means peace. On top of that, Pax was the name of the Roman Goddess of peace. It makes sense that the Catholic church would take a pagan word and connect it to something like a communal kiss, as they were all about "sanctifying" paganism in the early days by redefining and reassigning it as they did that with many other practices and holidays. And it was Latin besides. (These previous sentences are classic examples of the opinions I like to ponder over, that may or may not be rooted in deep fact.)

Done with the dictionary, I turned to the third book I always look to for information. My Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Want to guess how many times kissing appears in the Bible? 

The King Jame's Bible only has the word forty-eight times. Which means the Bible is definitely not an erotica, but also not of the opinion that kissing is disgusting. It's interesting to note that the first kiss in the Bible is when Jacob, pretending to be Esau, kissed his father, using his kiss to deceive Isaac.

"But didn't Adam and Eve kiss?" You may ask.
I guess that's something we'll never know.  

To learn more about the Bible's (or God's) opinion on kissing I looked up the numbers on the right side of the picture above. 


kissing can show submission? Well, that's a new one  . . .
Kissing means to smite (hit someone to hurt them) . . .? Oh, wait, the numbers have changed over into the Greek. Remember when using the concordance to look up in either the Hebrew or Greek depending on where the words are found in scripture. It might make all the difference . . .  
Both of these sorts of kisses refer to brotherly affection. 

I really like this one :) 
But after researching all of that, I realized I still wanted to know more. So I gave in and used google. I love etymology. So that's where I started. 

gerund or present participle: kissing

  1. touch with the lips as a sign of love, sexual desire, reverence, or greeting.
    "he kissed her on the lips"

    synonyms:give a kiss to, brush one's lips against, blow a kiss to; 
    informalpecksmoochcanoodleneckbuss, make out, lock lips; 
    "he kissed her on the lips"
      (of a ball) lightly touch (another ball) in passing.
Old English cyssan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kussen and German küssen .
Use over time for: kissing
Found all the above online when googling "kissing etymology"

I was quite pleased to see that the word has Germanic origins. And that its meaning is so varied from being a simple touch to something more erotic. How many words have such a scale of meaning? 

With googling elsewhere, I found a common trend among languages for kissing—most words for kissing appeared very similar if not almost identical. 

I found an article that had some very intriguing things to say about the etymology of the word. First, it says that it appears most cultures have always practiced kissing and they aren't quite sure how or where it came from. (I read somewhere that the Bible is one of the oldest books recording the kiss, and considering that we have the Song Of Solomon, it also records one of the oldest mentions of a sensual kiss). 

The article also lists a bunch of phrases, and I'll share a few of the interesting ones:
  • To kiss the cup (meaning to drink alcohol, originating 1500)
  • To kiss the dust (meaning to die, originating 1835) 
  • kiss (something) goodbye (originated 1935)
  • To kiss (someone) off (meaning to dismiss or get rid of someone, especially of the opposite gender, originating 1935)
My last place is almost as good as an encyclopedia, though not as reliable, I know. Wikipedia.  First, it says that the study of kissing is philematology. So, now we know what to call this subject we are studying! But onto Wikipedia—it was packed full of gems!

Such as, how did the kiss originate? 

It seems that most believe kissing is intuitive and just always has been. But there's another theory I find more plausible. That of "kiss feeding" the process where a mother chews up food then puts it in her baby's mouth. 

"Disgusting!" You may think to the point of that can't be true. 

But anyone with kids or younger siblings (or if you have babysat many children) will know that it's very true . . . yes, I've fed many children this way. Do you want them to choke on food they are unable to chew???

So, yes, I find this explanation very practical and sufficient. 

The first time kissing was shown on TV was in 1896 and the kiss lasted thirty seconds. People had a very opinionated reaction saying, "It is absolutely disgusting. Such things call for police interference."

Further on, Wikipedia says that not every culture kisses and that about ten percent of the world doesn't. Some societies find it dirty (as in repulsive). I mean, think of all those germs! Some have superstitions about kissing, believing that mouths are the gateway to the soul and kissing can invite death. 

According to Wikipedia, kissing has been made more acceptable through the Romans (now aren't you all glad they tried to conquer the world?), and then onward through the rest of Europe. Romans were known to be very passionate and supposedly had several different types of kissing: 
  • osculum: A Latin word meaning little mouth and described kissing the cheek or the hand
  • basium: A Latin word meaning to kiss (loudly) and used for family 
  • suavium: A Latin word that means sweet, mouth, or tender kiss and used to describe a kiss of passion

Now, it might seem weird that there are so many different types of kissing (or maybe only to Americans). I mean, to us, all kissing is romantic and any other kind is "Weird" or "Gross". And even the romantic kind borders "Ew!" 

But then it actually makes sense, if you think about it a little more. Biblically, there are four different types of love. So why shouldn't there be multiple types of kissing? According to Wikipedia, the French have twenty kinds of kisses and the Germans have thirty. I love anything German, but I would never have guessed them to have more types of kissing than the French. 

The funny thing, is the majority of these kisses, while not being romantic, still are placed on the lips. 

"But . . . how can a kiss on the lips not be romantic?" 

Think of it like holding hands. When a girl and a boy hold hands sometimes it means a cute romance is blossoming. But sometimes girls and boys just hold hands. Sometimes friends hold hands. Sometimes people hold hands because they have to (think of an older sibling watching a younger sibling). Or maybe they are playing some silly teenage game. Holding hands doesn't mean there's romance involved.

Kissing simply means to touch or caress, usually on the lips. And sometimes that touch involves romance. But it doesn't have to mean that. 

And then it's completely possible for romance to exist without kissing—think about that ten percent that believe kissing could lead to your soul being sucked away. I'm sure that just because they don't kiss doesn't mean they don't have romance or love in their life. It just looks different for them. 

What's your opinion on kissing? Do you believe the art of researching is dying? Do you love encyclopedias? Or know how to use a concordance? Do you believe that philematology should be added to school curricula? 


  1. Wow, who would've thunk kissing could be such an interesting topic?? Fascinating how many meanings a gesture can have, depending on how it's used.

    It made me happy to see pax vobiscum in here! ( Latin teacher just used that phrase as a grammatical example this about coincidence.) Catholics still make the sign of peace in every Mass at the Agnus Dei, only now in America it's typically a handshake instead of a kiss. :) The Mass is in English now, too, but when it was in Latin back before Vatican II the phrase we used at the sign of peace was not "peace be with you" but "pax Christi," "peace of Christ," which I think is so much prettier. "Pax" is the Latin word for "peace" as well as the name of a Roman deity, so I'm sure it came into the Catholic vocabulary with all the Latin words which were used in the early days of the Church due to Latin being the worldwide language at the time thanks to the Pax Romana... And of course. Latin is an example of something pagan being absorbed and sanctified by Christianity. :)

    Wow. That tangent got REALLY long...I guess any single word is enough to spark tons of thought and discussion, eh? Whether it's the German word for kiss or the Latin word for peace!

    I definitely agree about the art of research. You'd think the internet would make us all smarter because it's such a wealth of information? But then we start to rely on it so much that we get lazy about thinking and researching for ourselves.

    Hm. This post has motivated me to make a library trip very soon, instead of going to Google for all my curiosities. :)

    Wonderful post, Keturah!

    1. Oh, I love your REALLY long tangent! It added so much more depth to my little tidbit about pax. That's so funny you'd just heard it elsewhere! What a great way to have something lodged into your brain forever :) I love "Peace of Christ". That /is/ beautiful.

      And yeah, I love google. But it's as if the information is so readily available that my brain gives myself permission to forget since I can just google again. Somehow reading actual books makes information stay longer.

      As for libraries ... I don't have time for them haha! I own so many books anyways, plus I've been listening to a lot of non-fiction audio books for free through my library ... so I don't have to worry about things being late ;d

      Thanks so much for your interesting comment!

  2. This was pretty funny! I enjoyed following your steps taken to research!

    1. Glad you found it funny! It was pretty fun to put together :)

  3. Wow, this was really in-depth and interesting! (I, too, find it amazing that some people just . . . don’t want to have opinions. I try to have my own, but *cough* it doesn’t always go as planned. But to just be neutral on everything?? HOW?)

    1. Thanks! (YES! How is it possible? I mean, sometimes I /wish/ I could turn my brain off. But most of the time I LOVE my thoughts ;D

  4. How do people walk through life without strong opinions? I've been asking a lot of strangers questions about religion lately and it puzzles me that so many people are so passive.

    I've always personally wondered if the reason kissing is such a big deal because it's a little bit forbidden, people don't kiss everyone and it's viewed as more of a "I want you" act in our culture, but these days people are so laid back about everything, so I wonder if kissing will cease to be a big deal and people will consider it as casual as holding hands.

    Definitely interesting to observe.

    1. OH, my so I wonder that ... but these days that question is BOTHERING me. It's dangerous to be so passive ;0

      Haha, I think it's a big deal because it is intimate. But historically and culturally, people did kiss more "casually" though, I do see it heading in a different sort of "casual" nowadays that is stripping the kiss of any meaning at all. Definitely interesting :)

  5. Wow, I never knew a blog post about kissing could be so fascinating!

  6. I love encyclopedias! They are so interesting! We have a set form the 1970s which is cool. I use an online dictionary some but I seem to like the book form better sometimes.
    I think some people don't want to have an option because they don't want to offend anyone.
    Yeah every one has an option about one thing. :)
    Wow I know a lot more about kissing lol!

    1. Only the great love encyclopedias ;) Haha. I got rid of my set recently because my room is so small and the set it so large ... I hope to acquire a new set when I get more space. But yeah, the book form of anything is better.
      I think you must be right ... some are afraid to offend so withhold their opinions. Though there are a /few/ who seriously don't seem to care enough to have an opinion ;0
      Haha! Hopefully it's all good stuff you know ;)

  7. This was fascinating! I never knew there was so much to know about kissing, lol. Although, I have to say, even if you don't believe me, I don't think I really do have an opinion on kissing? It's...a thing. That people do. (Or it's a thimble. I guess that's my opinion; the best kisses are actually thimbles.)
    Speaking of opinions in general, though, I think sometimes people don't have opinions because they don't feel like they know enough. Like, everyone can have an opinion about whether or not something's moral, but whether something's scientifically accurate is different. If there's two sides to the argument and you're not a scientist, you just...might not know. idk, just a thought.
    And I love encyclopaedias!!!!! I read them all the time when I was younger; now I do, I confess, rely shamefully on Google. I'm not very good at researching, but this makes me want to try to be.

    1. OH I have to agree with you that the best kisses are actually thimbles ;)

      But, yeah. I think having an opinion can be daunting because it requires one to research if they want to be able to keep their opinion. I do think it's wise to be caution when speaking your opinion, but I guess what I don't think is good is when people refuse to have an opinion about important things when it's very easy to research ANYTHING these days. Especially as Google is so easy to rely on ;) I do love google! But sometimes I miss a good old fashioned research project ;D

      Thanks for your lovely comment ;)

  8. I think we are all aware I'm very opinionated. XD

    I like how deep into research you went to discover this.

    My opinion on kissing is to not kiss someone romantically right away. See if they actually like you for more than just physical purposes. (I mean, in some cases, if you've been friends for a very long time and end up dating, I see why they may kiss faster, but people should careful when it's someone they aren't that familiar with.)

    Love this post!

    1. Haha, yes! It's one of the things I love about you!

      I like your opinion ... it's pretty solid ;d


  9. Research is my favorite. I love when I have a new story to research. Like my newest one. Time to go to the book store!!

  10. Love hearing all the different opinions. Research can be a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks! Ah, yes ;D Especially if you can uncover interesting secrets ;D

  11. Haha, I'm old enough to remember learning how to research using encyclopedias and libraries. It's been so long since I've done it - databases are nice and handy for those burning questions but it's like a fizzles out pretty fast. Yet, no one now knows how to strike a light with flint and steel anymore, LOL. (That metaphor makes sense, right?)

    And wow...there is so much good stuff in here. Who knew that kissing could be so...fascinating?

    1. Metaphor makes sense to me ;D It is true ... sometimes if you have ONLY encyclopedias your source of information can fizzle out quickly. I used to exhaust as many keywords as I could then some ;D But fining more books on the subject ... when I was younger I was able to study a subject for a looooonnngg time, and I never stopped because of a lack of info but because another subject caught my attention. Haha ;d

      I know, right? Thanks!

  12. I definitely don't think research is dying haha and that it's totally okay to research online if you don't have the physical books to do it! I mean it's amazing that you can get encyclopedias online and dictionaries and such, right?! As for opinions...I do notice a lot of people don't want to voice them, but maybe they've been told or taught not to? I know I back off on voicing a lot of opinions nowadays because I get anxious about backlash (the internet is pretty argumentative sometimes right?! And not always in a cool discussion way...mehpghsogh.) But anyway...this was super interesting so I enjoyed reading your analysis on kissing! And there are definitely so many types and it doesn't always have to be sexual.

    1. Haha, you're right! There's definitely a lot of people that still appreciate researching and this day and age only makes everything easier to do so. It is quite amazing ;D I was mostly being satirical, because I do online research all the time. But I also think it's sad that some people don't know how to research without the internet (my younger siblings for example). I think you are partly right with people not voicing their opinions. But I think it also just depends on people. I know many people that truly act like they don't care enough to learn enough to form an opinion. And that's /very/ sad..
      Thanks, Cait! So glad you enjoyed this post ... it was so much fun to write. It is interesting how kissing can be so much more than romantic.

  13. I also had a penchant for encyclopedias!! Also, interesting article!


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