The Art of Kissing: just led us on, never called

We all saw signs around campus; there was a Facebook.com event registration with an RSVP; it was looking to be the hot event of the minute, with the sophisticated and intriguing title, “The Art of Kissing.”

Michael Christian, who told the Voice, “kissing has taken over my life,” is touring the college circuit with a live stage show based on his book of the same name. The show did not live up to expectations, though, and while it got laughs, it seemed to me more of a tasteless scam posing as an informative evening of discussion and innovation with demonstrations to richen the show. It entertained, but fell short on information.

Freshmen and transfer students were the target audience, some attending in groups with their floor mates. Students were there to learn a new trick or two or simply to see how the advertised attraction of kissing demonstrations would play out.

“I hope to see making out on stage,” said Jen Lancaster (COL ’09), with a laugh. “I wanted to see how they were going to go about demonstrating”.

Marcus Howard, (COL ’08) said jokingly that he was, “working on my kissing skills”.

Chelsea Irwin, (COL ’09), attending with her boyfriend Marcus, was interested in hearing about the social psychology of relationships and kissing, a frequent topic of casual conversation with her friends. Perhaps the blurb introducing the event that read, “topics covered include the psychology of kissing,” caught her attention.

But as soon as the show began it was clear that it would play out more like a Vegas stage show than a book tour. With music accompanying choreographed movements and a stiff, rehearsed script that nevertheless drew laughs from the crowd, the show could have had success as just that: an entertaining moment.

There were some successful moments, namely the demonstration of tongues inside the mouth during a French kiss, in which two male subjects put red pillow-cases over their arms and heads and play-acted the twirling of tongues in the mouth. Katie Elder, (SFS ’08) agreed with her friend, “We liked the tongues—very insightful … flicking action is a great idea.”

Some of the other displays were less agreeable to some of the audience, namely the repeated spanking throughout the show. The demonstration of the “spank” to accent a kiss was performed of the males on the females, a big SMACK on the bum followed by hoots and cheers in the audience. Linsey Purdy, (SFS ’08) said about the spanking, “I thought it was kind of aggressive and weird.”

In the end, people seemed to have been entertained but did not necessarily leave with any new kissing knowledge. One of the on-stage participants, who asked not to be named, said that he had thought it would be more informative and educational, “not just play acting the weird fantasies of this guy.”

Given the choice, he would not have participated again.

Posted by Lauren Gaskill, Associate Editor

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