Picks and Pans Review: Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

updated 02/18/1991 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/18/1991 01:00AM

by Tomima Edmark

By far the most delectable part of this book is the gathering of quotations about kissing—that it is lip service to love, a pleasant reminder that two heads are better than one, a contraction of the mouth due to an enlargement of the heart and love's lesser lightning.

One hears from such experts on the subject as Mae West: "Few men know how to kiss well; fortunately, I've always had time to teach them"; or Chico Marx: "I wasn't kissing her, I was whispering in her mouth."

There is some amusing miscellany. For example, in 1909 a group of Kansas men formed the Anti-Kissing League. Seems they saw kissing as unhealthy and unnecessary and pledged never again to buss their wives. The group disbanded soon after.

Because the fundamental things still apply as time goes by, Kissing deals with the basic and fine points of everyone's favorite indoor sport: what to do, when to do it, what not to do (don't, for example, kiss and tell, laugh after a kiss or be forced into a kiss). There is even a flowchart that maps out the steps of a first kiss.

Generally the suggestions are sensible (it's hard to criticize admonishments against gagging your partner). Some tips, however, seem a tad distasteful—including one that lovers try a few periods of an osculatory diversion called mouth hockey.

"Start with an M & M held between the tips of your tongues. The goal is the back of your partner's mouth. The game begins after the third nose rub and ends when either the M&M dissolves or one of you eats it." No word on the penalty for illegal use of hands. (Fireside, paper, $6.95)

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