Thursday, February 9, 2012

Today's Trivia – Kissing

Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of love, passion, affection, respect, greeting, friendship, and good luck, among many others. This week’s useless but interesting information is a collection of kissing trivia – an unusual, but intriguing topic. It was specifically chosen with Valentine’s Day in mind, which is just around the corner.

- No one really knows where the first smooch came from. One less-than-romantic theory suggests it began with ancient mothers passing chewed-up food to babies.

- Kissing isn’t universal: People in Japan and Siberia only started kissing relatively recently, and some sub-Saharan African societies still don’t do it.

- The average person will spend an estimated 20,160 minutes (2 weeks) kissing in their lifetime.

- Ancient Egyptians never kissed with their mouths. Instead they kissed with their noses.

- 50% of all people have their first kiss before they are 14.

- On Valentine's Day 2004, 5,122 Philippine coupes gathered together at midnight and locked lips. This kissathon beat the previous world record of 4,445 couples set in January in Chile.

- The Chinese didn't kiss until the practice was introduced by Westerners, and they're still not very keen on it.

- You burn 26 calories in a one minute kiss.

- Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) as those that are released when you engage in intense exercise such as running a marathon or skydiving. This causes your heart to beat faster and your breathing to become deep and irregular.

- Some theorize that when you kiss a person with the same hair color as yourself, the result is a more passionate kiss.

- A thousand years ago, ceremonial kisses were much more common than today. There was the holy kiss of peace, exchanged to symbolize unity in Christ; the kiss of veneration, bestowed on holy objects; you even got a kiss when you received an academic degree. By 18th century, however, much of that ceremonial pecking had been replaced by handshakes, oaths, and written documents. One ritual kiss is still as popular as ever: that of couples sealing their marriage vows.

- The erotic significance of the kiss didn’t become dominant in Europe until the 17th century. Not coincidentally, that was around the same time that dentists in France first promoted the use of toothbrushes. Before toothbrushes, the average European mouth was such a grim place that 16th-century maids often carried clove-studded apples when courting, insisting their suitors take a bite before attempting a kiss.

- On September 15, 1990, Alfred Wolfram from New Brighton kissed 8001 people in just 8 hours, over sixteen people a minute, at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

- You use only two muscles on your face when you give a peck kiss but you use all of your facial muscles and burn more calories during a passionate kiss.

- The longest on-screen kiss was the 3 minutes, 5 second lip lock between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in "You're in the Army Now”.

- At 48 minutes, Andy Warhol’s experimental film is easily the longest picture about kissing: It consists of one static shot, twelve real-life couples, four minutes each. And while Warhol’s weird, obsessive focus is almost unwatchable, we’re still waiting for his sequel, Second Base.

- More than 5,300 couples locked lips for at least 10 seconds in Manila, Philippines to kick off Valentine's Day 2005. This breaks Chile's old record of 4,445 couples.

- Our brains have special neurons that help us find each other’s lips in the dark

- The science of kissing is called philematology.

- Kissing has been banned repeatedly. Roman emperor Tiberius outlawed kissing in public ceremonies, hoping it would help curb the spread of herpes. In 16th-century Naples kissing was punishable by death, and in 1439 Henry VI banned it to combat the plague.
- There are many strange laws regarding kissing that are still on the books. In Indiana, it is illegal for a man with a moustache to "habitually kiss human beings". And in Hartford, CT, it is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on a Sunday.

- In Naples, Italy in the 16th century, kissing was an offence that carried the death penalty.

- German psychology professor Onur Guentuerkuen of Ruhr-University Bochum in Bochum, Germany, studied hundreds of couples kissing. In his study, he found that two-thirds of people turn their heads to the right when kissing. According to Güntürkün, the direction you turn your head while in the womb will likely be the direction you tilt your head when kissing.

- On Valentine's Day 2004, an Italian couple made their way into the record books with a 31-hour 18-minute Valentine kiss. The couple beat the previous record by 18 minutes and 33 seconds; however, the man had to receive oxygen afterwards.

- April 5, 1999: Karmit Tsubera and Dror Orpaz kissed for a record 30 hours and 45 minutes to win a kissing contest in Rubin Square, Tel Aviv, Israel.

- While it’s probably the most famous kiss in movie history – Rhett kisses Scarlett fiercely, then carries her, protesting, up a grand staircase to bed – Vivien Leigh’s ability to keep it together was astounding. According to Hollywood insiders, Clark Gable’s halitosis on the set was so bad that Leigh didn’t want to kiss him at all!


  1. Had no idea that kissing wasn't universal. I think I can understand their hesitency - it's actually kind of gross when you think about it too deeply! That couple that kissed for over 31 hours must have really loved one another... Ewww!
    I like the French practice of cheek kissing "faire la bise."

    1. I had no idea about this either. It's amazing how many new things you can learn each day. I imagine that couple had really sore jaws and lips!

  2. I think I found a new exercise to burn calories. Sure beats sit ups!