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I don’t know whose idea it was to smoosh our faces together, but I could kiss them

The Guardian logo The Guardian 3 days ago Hannah Jane Parkinson
Photograph: Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Getty Images

Do you remember the best kiss of your life? I imagine that you do. It’s an evocative question – which is why a certain esteemed Saturday newspaper supplement (this one, it’s this one) includes it in its regular Q&A feature.

An alternative query is: do you remember your first kiss? But that’s not such a big deal. It is often fooling around with a friend, or at a preteen sleepover, or in a park somewhere, against railings, in the rain. Magical, too, of course. Special. Formative. But for most people probably not the greatest of their entire lives.

There aren’t many things better than a great kiss. I am talking about romantic kissing – what we call (and here, a shudder) snogging. Such an ugly word for such a wonderful act. I once looked up the etymology of “snogging” and the OED wasn’t sure. Probably because nobody wanted to own up to it.


Gallery: 20 romantic words that don’t exist in the English language (Espresso)

I don’t think there is anything sexier than when you meet someone, before you have ever kissed, and your eyes keep mutually flickering to one another’s lips with longing. I am not sure who came up with the idea of smooshing our faces together, but it’s a good one. I couldn’t date a person who was bad at kissing. Or, I suppose, more generously, bad at kissing with me. And I don’t understand people who don’t kiss during sex. It is such a fundamental part.

‘The best kiss of my life? I don’t even want to share it.’ © Photograph: Getty Images ‘The best kiss of my life? I don’t even want to share it.’

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But a kiss can be pleasurable without sex, or the prospect of it. Some people are so good at kissing, or so compatible, that the kiss can be great even though you probably would not actually want to have sex with them. It works as its own shared, siloed intimacy.

There is no kissing off-the-rack. It’s always specific to the situation, and the person. It can be fierce, full-throttle. Or gentler, slower. Kissing at its best becomes a fluency, a poetry; the highest form of communication, a physical language.

The best kiss of my life? I don’t even want to share it. It was a conversation, almost. And, in this instance, untranslatable.

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