A few months ago my dear friend Liz and I were talking about the hug versus the kiss greeting and she said, “Yeah, so, Michael really doesn’t like to be kissed. And you always do that kiss on the cheek thing when you say hello and goodbye.”
I thought: Holy shit. Thank God she told me that. I adore Michael. I don’t want to torture him.
The funny thing is, I really hate being kissed, too, unless it is going to lead to, uh, sex. So why the hell was I molesting poor Michael?
After giving it some thought, I think it stems, largely, from my parents. My mom was a big kisser. A big, soft mushy kisser. Don’t get me wrong, I really loved my mom, but she had a big mushy face and a big, soft gushy kiss that made me feel like she was going to suck me down into her gullet.
And, my mom always insisted on kissing me smack on the lips. Offering up a cheek to my mom, was like a battle cry. It was an affront to all of her Jewish motherly love.
Also, you must understand, my mother always, always, always wore lipstick.
(If she wasn’t wearing lipstick, it was like spotting an unusual animal in the wilds of suburbia: Shhhhh. If you keep very still you will see it! There, deep in the produce section is the rare pale lipped Brona. If you get closer, you will see it isn’t wearing lipliner, which makes this an even rarer pale lipped Brona sighting…)
My mom always wore a brand of lipstick that had a distinctly
crotch like smelly aftertaste that lingered on my lips. And, it was one of those 24-hour impossible to remove long stay, long last colors that transferred onto my lips and turned them a strange orangish hue.
My dad is also an insistent kiss greeter. Saying hello or goodbye to my dad is sort of like going through a face car wash. He has the wettest kiss I have ever experienced. And really, you don’t want to own the title for receiving your wettest kiss from your father. After my dad kisses me (and really, it’s a quick peck), I feel like he’s just licked my entire face.
The kicker about kissing my dad is that he has some untreated issue that causes his nose to run all the time. Usually he’s good about mopping it up, but sometimes he leans in for the kiss and there’s a wet patch right above his lips. So you get his big fat wet lips and the big fat wet upper lip area headed right for your nice, dry mouth.
There is yet another gross kisser in my life who must remain anonymous
because I will get The Marital Look Of Disapproval Bordering On Disdain from my husband if I say who it is. I’ll call him The Obsessive Aftershave Splasher.
Each morning after TOAS shaves, he dunks his head in several ounces of aftershave. If I was to write the advertising copy for said aftershave I might describe it as, “Old-manish, cloying, nausea-inducing, something to spray the diaper pail with after your toddler takes a horrific dump.”
After this man kisses me, I smell like a dirty whore trying to cover up her skank stank with her cheap aftershave. It doesn’t wash off. Ever. So I smell like a dirty whore trying to cover up her skank stank with cheap aftershave all day long. It gets in my hair, on my clothes, on my children. It makes me want to yack. Imagine experiencing the morning sickness of three pregnancies while in a wake of The Obsessive Aftershave Splasher.
So, in this season of greeting friends, family, and strangers alike, let me be both your lesson (I’m so sorry, Michael!) and your reminder. Don’t torture other people with your wet, smelly, mushy, lippy business unless you want to get in their pants. And even then, it’s probably better to ask first, or at least brush your teeth in advance.