By Michael J. Legeros

             "First comes love, then comes marriage..."
                                               - rhyme

The greatest obstacle that a man must overcome in his lifetime?  I
vote for the goodnight kiss.  Guys, you know the score:  no matter
her name, her face, what you've done, or where you've been, you're
supposed to at least *attempt* a little lip action.  You know,
plant one firmly...  The Kiss usually occurs at the end of the
evening and, most often, on the first or second date.  Under select
circumstances, said smooch can occur as late as the fifth or sixth
date.  At some point, though, the pucker ante must be raised.  And
that's where the sweat hits the palms.

Why is k-i-s-s-i-n-g so gut-wrenching for guys?  We can swap spit
on the dance floor without a second thought.  We can stand a one-
night stand with no greater difficulty than crossing the street.
So what's the problem with a polite good-nighter?  I suspect the
chief suspects are Impression and Obligation.  Let's face it:  we
want to look good.  We want to leave a favorable impression.  The
problem is that we've been taught one hard and fast rule:  every
woman expects some sugar.  Period.  If we don't try, we're wimps.
If we shake hands, we're losers.  And, if we cheat and try to talk
about it, we're labeled with the most terrible title of all:  unro-

So goes the modern man's dilemma:  obligated to make a minor play
for every woman he goes out with.  Guidance in this matter would be
most helpful, but, alas, there are no rules or even *hints* toward
the completion of this task.  We're men's men; we want to be our-
selves and, really, what guy in their right mind would fear a sim-
ple kiss?  That same kiss gets doled out to family members without
a second thought.  That same kiss is flung like confetti when in a
committed relationship.  And, yet tonight, we can barely bring our-
selves within striking distance.

Perhaps the dating world should resort to the conventions of old,
with kissing permitted only on the hand or cheek.  Mouth to mouth
would be verboten until marriage, though *some* exceptions would
have to be made: puckering might be permitted in bars, while danc-
ing, or during sexual encounters.  For us guys, though, this would
be the treat of all treats.  We could bring our dates home, secure
in the knowledge that our only obligation was a gentle kiss on the
lady's hand.  Hmmmmmm.  Remind me again what's so tough about sim-
ple smooch?

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros



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