The French Kiss is not So French — American Connection

Let’s dive into the intriguing history of the French kiss, a passionate act that didn’t find its inception in the romantic streets of Paris. This amorous gesture, often associated with the French, has roots that stretch back to the mysteries of human evolution.

Some theories suggest that French kissing, also known as kissing with tongues, may have evolved as a primal means of assessing a potential mate’s health and compatibility. It allowed our ancestors to exchange scents and taste each other’s saliva, aiding in the decision of whether to pair up or move on. Another theory proposes that it began as a way for prehistoric mothers to feed their offspring chewed-up food, eventually transforming into a display of affection and intimacy.

One thing is for certain: the French cannot claim credit for its invention. So, why has this intimate act been bestowed with their name?

Within the English-speaking world, France has always exuded an aura of sensuality and sexuality. Paris was a playground for adventurous British men looking to indulge in romantic escapades. Literature is teeming with tales of steamy French adventures. The French language itself possesses seductive qualities, with fricative sounds that enhance huskiness and breathiness, characteristics universally found to be attractive. Stereotypes have emerged around the French, portraying them as sexually confident, adventurous, passionate, and sophisticated.

While these are stereotypes, they often seem to be rooted in reality, from their relaxed attitudes toward public nudity to their casual depictions of sex in mainstream entertainment. The international film and TV scene reinforce this perception with a seemingly endless stream of incredibly attractive French performers, exuding effortless coolness and sexiness, often adorned with only a fraction of clothing. While this perception is biased due to media exposure, it doesn’t deter the persistent stereotype that equates French with sexy.

The French connection to matters of intimacy extends beyond kissing. “French letters” historically referred to condoms, while “the French disease” was a euphemism for syphilis. Despite the severe health implications, labeling it as “French” imbued it with an air of adventure and libertinism. It’s flawed logic, but stereotypes seldom adhere to reason.

During World War I, American soldiers stationed in Europe were astounded by the public displays of affection among young French couples. In the U.S., such displays were confined to the utmost privacy, making the French way of kissing appear decadent and hedonistic. This led to the adoption of the term “French kissing,” signifying not only the act but also the unbridled passion that surrounded it. It reflected what was believed to be the essence of the French character: exotic and passionate.

Remarkably, in France itself, they don’t call it “French kissing.” Only in recent years has a term, “galocher,” entered French dictionaries specifically referring to kissing with tongues. It’s derived from the word for an ice skate, evoking the image of tongues gracefully gliding across each other. Another commonly used term, “rouler un patin,” roughly translates to “sliding a skate.”

In conclusion, the French didn’t invent kissing, but through generations, they have undoubtedly perfected it. And let’s admit it, “Voulez-vous rouler un patin avec moi?” sounds infinitely more alluring than its English counterpart: “Hey you, lick my tongue.” The name may not be entirely accurate, but it captures the essence of passion and romance that the French have long embodied.

US Sailor Pollinated French Kiss — WWI

Every epic love story reaches its climax with a passionate kiss. This moment usually arrives towards the culmination of the narrative, after an hour or so of anticipation. As spectators, we collectively hold our breath, captivated by the intense gaze exchanged between the couple. And then, it happens – that unforgettable French kiss, often marked by its heartwarming, albeit sometimes awkward or sloppy, nature.

But have you ever wondered why these specific kisses are dubbed as “French”? In honor of International Kissing Day, we embark on a journey to unravel this mystery. Here’s what we’ve uncovered:

The phenomenon of French kissing gained popularity following World War I. The term “French kiss” made its debut in the English language in 1923, as detailed by Sheril Kirshenbaum in her book, “The Science of Kissing.”

Interestingly, the exact origin of this term remains shrouded in mystery. However, it is believed to have been adopted by Americans who traveled to France and experienced the passionate kissing style of French women, who were more open to incorporating a little tongue action into their kisses, as Kirshenbaum explains.

Naturally, over time, the term “French kiss” began to take shape and find its place in everyday language.

Nonetheless, it took a considerable amount of time for both the term and the practice itself to gain popularity in the United States. It wasn’t until after World War II that Americans started feeling comfortable enough to embrace the French kiss, with Kirshenbaum attributing this shift to American servicemen who had served in Europe and brought back the passionate kissing style as a cherished souvenir.

So, the next time you recall that iconic photograph of a US sailor locking lips with a woman in Times Square, remember that it played a significant role in popularizing the art of the French kiss in the United States.

Fun Facts —

01. Not a big Deal in France

In France, a passionate kiss is no extraordinary occurrence. Surprisingly, what the world knows as a “French kiss” is simply referred to as a kiss in France. The French didn’t even have a specific word for this style of kissing until 2014 when the Petit Robert dictionary introduced a new verb: “Galocher.” This verb literally translates to “to kiss with tongues.”

However, even with the addition of this word, the Academie Francaise, the authority responsible for regulating the French language and preventing foreign words from infiltrating it, has not yet accepted this term. It appears that the French are more concerned about preserving the purity of their language than they are about the way they express affection through kisses.

02. Smooching & Kissing Are Great For Health

Kissing is not just a romantic gesture; it’s also great for your health. On this International Kissing Day, let’s celebrate the power of smooching and its numerous benefits.

Studies have shown that French kissing can have a positive impact on your well-being. Firstly, it helps reduce blood pressure, which is essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Additionally, kissing increases the production of hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, all of which contribute to feelings of happiness and emotional connection.

But that’s not all – French kissing can also help you shed some calories. While it may not replace a full workout session, a passionate kiss can burn a few extra calories and contribute to your overall fitness. So, next time you want to skip that dessert, consider sharing a sweet kiss instead.

Furthermore, kissing can boost your self-esteem. The act of kissing someone you care about can make you feel more confident and loved, enhancing your overall sense of self-worth. And here’s a surprising benefit – kissing can help fight cavities! The increased saliva production during a kiss can wash away harmful bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay.

But of all the types of kisses out there, the French kiss stands out as the most passionate and enjoyable. It’s a kiss filled with excitement and intimacy, capable of igniting a lifelong romance. However, it’s essential to remember that a bad kiss can quickly ruin any chances of a budding relationship.

So, whether it’s a sweet peck or a passionate French kiss, embrace the power of kissing in your life. It’s not only fun but also a way to improve your health and well-being. Happy International Kissing Day!

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