André Brulé was a French actor, famous in the years immediately after World War I. In 1921, he won a competition in Biarritz to find the world’s greatest kisser. 80 participants from all over the world took turns to kiss members of the judging panel. American kisses were described as 'flaccid', Russians as 'eruptive', Italian 'burning', English 'tepid', Spanish 'vampirish' and French 'chaste'. The audience included the Queen of Spain. Brulé won a diamond scarf pin, bought by the jurors he'd kissed.
Brulé’s technique was rather aggressive. According to the Pittsburgh Gazette Times ‘he took careful aim, and then with his right arm waistward and his left foot used as a pivot, swung suddenly, implanting the kiss exactly in the middle of the mouth. The advantage of this method, which, it is declared, requires long practice, is that the girl has no time to escape.’
According to Theocritus, the city of Megara held a version of the Olympic games. One of the events was a kissing contest, strictly for boys only.
Theocritus wrote that 'whoso sweetliest presses lip upon lip returns laden with garlands to his mother.'
In The Art of Love, Ovid wrote: ‘And if she doesn't give [kisses] freely, just take them anyway, ungiven. Maybe at first she'll fight, and call you 'wicked rogue'; but her wish in fighting is really to be won. Only be sure your clumsy force doesn't bruise her tender lips.’
Hedy Lamarr helped the war effort in WWII by selling bonds. On one night she sold $7m in bonds at $25,000 a kiss.
How many times should one kiss a Frenchman? Even the French disagree on the right answer but, broadly speaking, for central France it's two kisses, and for the North, four. There are exceptions - in Finistère, one kiss is normal - and even disparities within the same area: half the population of Calais prefer deux bises, while the other half will greet you with quatre. The number of kisses can depend on whether someone is a friend or family member, and varies between generations. To the upper-class French any more than two kisses is a faux pas.
Of course, it is not just in France that people greet each other with a kiss; in the Netherlands three is normal, and in Belgium it's one kiss for your peers, but if someone is 10 years older than you, then three is respectful. In Spain, two is normal, but you must kiss the right cheek first.
The French don’t necessarily French kiss more than anyone else; the term probably comes from our belief that French sexuality is more sophisticated. In France, it's known as baiser anglais ('English kissing'), baiser florentin (Florentine kiss) or rouler une pelle (to roll a spade). In Quebec, it is frencher.
Cataglottism is a word describing the thrusting out of the tongue when kissing.
Love a girl with all your heart and kiss her on the mouth: then time will stop, and space will cease to exist.
Freud called kissing 'the sexual use of the mucous membranes of the lips and mouth'.
What we call the 'Eskimo kiss' - rubbing noses - is called a kunik by the Inuit. It's an expression of affection, usually from an adult to a child.
The Inuit also kiss on the lips, just as we do. The myth that they were confined to the Eskimo kiss grew out of a Hollywood silent documentary called Nanook of the North, shot on location in the Canadian Arctic in 1922. Although considered a classic and one of the first documentaries ever filmed, the director Robert J. Flaherty took several liberties with his material: he filmed his Inuit family in a three-sided igloo made specially for the film, Nanook's real name was Allakariallak and his screen wife wasn't his wife at all.
What's the secret to a long and happy life? Young women's saliva!
Kissing in public is illegal in India and a similar law has been proposed in Russia and Indonesia.
A 2008 study showed that kissing as a greeting is healthier than a handshake because you don't know what someone has just been touching.
Roman Emperor Tiberius banned kissing, believing it caused the spread of a fungal disease called mentagra (inflamed hair follicles).