When I was little, I thought that kisses on the lips signified the highest form of love. Naturally, you didn’t go bestowing kisses on just anyone, you really had to be in love with that person. I even went so far as to think that you had to be married or pregnant or some shit in order to kiss someone for real. I believed these things with my whole heart. For a time.
I began to get suspicious of this pretty quick because my parents took me to a lot of high school plays and musicals (which actually I was pretty sure were professional theater performances because hell, when you’re a kid, teenagers look the same as middle aged people. The exact same.). There were some inevitable kisses, but as with the sun, I thought that looking at them might be detrimental to your health, so I just kind of turned away from the glare. When I asked my dad about them later, he said “Oh, didn’t you see that he put his hand over her mouth and just kissed his hand?” and I was like “Ohhhh okay yeah self hand kissing is totally cool.” He then proceeded to explain to me that all kisses in plays and movies were fake.
My dad didn’t really specify other ways that they pulled off these fake kisses, so I tried to imagine how they were orchestrated in movies in which they looked totally real. At first, I was like “Oh, well if they zoom out a bit then maybe they can just kiss each other’s cheeks and that looks pretty legit.” And so the sanctity of the lip-on-lip kiss was preserved in my mind.
So when I graduated from watching the G-rated movies to the PG, I was very concerned by how real those kisses started to look. Those actors were most definitely not following the rules–hands and cheeks only, people!!! Fear mounting, I asked my dad, who again assured me that the kisses were most definitely fake.
By this time, I was probably like 11, so my dad assumed I had graduated to another level of understanding the word “fake.” When he said “fake,” he meant “a kiss that is shared between actors that doesn’t mean anything to them because it’s their job and they get paid fucking millions of dollars to do it so love is kind of unnecessary.” However, I was still wondering how they APPEARED to be meeting lips, but in fact, according to my dad, were not.
Because touching lips with someone who you didn’t love was obviously illegal, I pictured all kinds of clever ways they might pull this off. At first, I thought that maybe they replaced actors at the last minute with two people who were legally sanctioned to kiss. But then I gradually realized that that couldn’t be right because we saw the whole faces of the actors! After considering some half-baked theories like they use some weird form of photoshop to replace just the lips of the actors, or all kisses are completely CGI (yeah I knew about CGI but still thought that maybe they used photoshop), I came up with a most brilliant hypothesis. What had to happen is that right before the kiss, a transparent screen is lowered and the two actors just kiss the screen. Problem solved; it’s all legal.
I soon refined that theory too, because obviously we would SEE said screen, so it might just be that the actors had some saran wrap over their lips, which would be following the rules. I was pretty satisfied with this until I watched a PG-13 movie, where there was some pretty intense kissing. Like, their lips overlapped. HER LIPS WERE INSIDE HIS LIPS. It was pretty crazy. At this time I was thinking something like, WHOA THAT IS TOO ACROBATIC FOR SARAN WRAP TO WITHSTAND.
Rather than finally accepting the truth, I took one more crack at an explanation of lip-to-lip contact prevention. Obviously, there was some kind of lip “mouth guard” that you put over each lip individually. That way, you could touch lips, but your lips wouldn’t ACTUALLY be touching–just good old fashioned mouth guard to mouth guard! I marveled at how they had gotten the mouth guards to be practically invisible.
So I finally found out at Shakespeare camp (bet you hear that one a lot?). Yep, like a complete prat, I went to Shakespeare camp as a middle schooler. For a week, we all teamed up in groups of 2 or 3 to perform random scenes from Shakespeare plays. There were only so many counselors to help out, so we usually watched while other people worked their scenes. One of the scenes I had to watch (over and over) was of past-lovers quarreling but simultaneously making up (which is a whole other issue that I definitely did not understand back then). One time, the counselor was like to the two people acting (who, don’t worry, were definitely like 4 or 5 years older than I was) “Wait, how about right after that line, you guys kiss. Can you try that?” And the two kids were like “yeah, that’s cool, no problem, let’s do it.” and meanwhile I was having a FUCKING ANEURYSM, BECAUSE WHERE WERE THE PLASTIC LIP CASINGS??
And that was the worst day ever.
Until later that week, the girl from that scene was like “Kudos to Brian for tasting like Sobe when I kissed him.”
And then I’m pretty sure I straight up fainted because TASTING MEANS TONGUES TASTING MEANS TONGUES!!! (Also lol remember when Sobe drinks were the shit?)
Things only got worse from there: I had to go to high school.
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