Sunday, 20 March 2011

How to Kiss...and Other Musings.

“A lover should not hold his bride by the ears in kissing her...”  
Henry Theophilus Finck. 1887

Kissing is not, as you might suppose, something that has happened since the evolution of man. Instead the historian St Pierius Wensemius claims it was ‘invented’ by a Friesian Princess. According to Wensemius kissing was;

“Unpracticed and unknown in England until the fair Princess Rowena, daughter of King Hengist of Friesland, pressed the beaker with her lips and saluted the amorous Vortigen with a little kiss.”

However it seems that kissing soon caught on in a big way since the scholar and monk Erasmus writes in 1499;

“If you go any place in Britain you are received with a kiss; if you depart …your are dismissed with a kiss; you return and kisses are exchanged…whenever you move, nothing but kisses.”

Apparently it was a practice Erasmus was fully in favour of;

“On my honour you would not want to reside here for ten years, but for life.”

However, the kissing was not always done well as the American writer; Henry Theophilus Finck writes in his book ‘Romantic Love and Personal Beauty.’ 1887.

“Kissing comes by instinct and yet it is an art which few understand properly.”
He goes on to write,
“A lover should not hold his bride by the ears, as appears to have been customary in Scotch weddings of the last century (1700’s)”
He offers some helpful advice;
“A more graceful way, and as effective at preventing the bride from getting away, is to put your right arm round her neck, your fingers under her chin, raise the chin and gently but firmly press you lips to hers.”
Then the ever thoughtful Theophilus offers some words of reassurance.
“After a few repetitions she will find out it doesn’t hurt and will become as gentle as a lamb.”

If Theophilus married, am I alone in feeling sorry for his wife?

The Kissing Camels rocks, Colorado.


  1. Sounds like Henry Theophilus Finck was the kissing guru. I wonder if we could have figured out the right way to kiss without him? Heehee.

  2. Great post, Grace. I had no idea about the history of kissing. Hard to believe cavemen weren't puckering up to their cavewomen but then again without toothpaste who can blame them?

  3. Very interesting stuff, Grace. Love it.

  4. Too true Verna - makes you wonder how people managed before his advice. LOL!


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