July 6 International Kissing Day
Pucker up! July 6 is International Kissing Day .
Did you know that you burn 26 calories in a one minute kiss?
Or that human brains have special neurons that help people locate each other’s lips in the dark?
Or that during a kiss, as many as 278 colonies of bacteria are exchanged?
And that the scientific word for kissing is osculating?
Well today is a day for all things smooching. So I’m going to tell you about my favourite kiss in literature – a life transforming kiss in A Room with A View by E. M Forster.
Set in the early 1900’s, upper class teenager Lucy Honeychurch is touring Florence with her repressive older chaperone Charlotte. They befriend a group of English tourists also staying at the pensione, the rambunctious Reverend Beebe, a spinster Miss Eleanor Lavish and a radically thinking father and son, Mr Emerson and George.
I love the kiss because it becomes central to the plot, because it is impulsive and incredibly romantic and because of the inspired setting. The Florentine light! The Violets! Be still my beating heart.
The tourists are all on a picnic, having been driven in a dray by a local Italian. They are wandering the countryside, soaking in the sun, the atmosphere, when Lucy falls down a cliff.
Here is the extract:
At the same moment the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end.
“Courage!” cried her companion, now standing some six feet above. “Courage and love.”
She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.
Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone.
George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.
I also recommend the film, even if it set the kiss in a field of barley rather than violets!
What are your favourite kisses in literature? Come on – kiss and tell!