Pucker up for International Day of Kissing on July 6

Kissing-Day-1024x790Pucker up, Pennsylvania Bridges readers as July 6 is International Kissing Day! We all have a favorite one or a memorable one or a forgettable one and this day are the time to celebrate them and/or plant a few new ones.

The origin of the tradition is traced to the United Kingdom, but the specifics are cloudy. It is believed that a marketing savvy dentist began the holiday in hopes that people would practice better dental hygiene. His reasoning was that the more kissing people do, the more inclined they would be to care for their teeth. There are other theories that swirl, but this is the most popular one. In any event, twenty years ago, the United Nations declared World Kissing Day an international holiday.

What the enterprising dentist didn’t know, besides kissing can transmit eight million microbes of bacteria, is that there are some pretty beneficial medical benefits to lip locking.

Those who kiss their partner goodbye each morning live five years longer than those who don’t is great for self-esteem and helps your state of mind. For the weight conscious, kissing burns two to three calories a minute and can double your metabolic rate. Researchers claim that three passionate kisses a day (at least lasting twenty seconds each) will cause you to lose an entire extra pound! Perhaps staying on the couch but indulging in other activities is okay after all.

The cardiovascular benefits are probably obvious, but kissing creates an adrenaline which causes your heart to pump more blood around your body. Frequent kissing has scientifically been proven to stabilize cardiovascular activity, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol. Frequency also results in kissers less likely suffer from stomach, bladder and blood infections.

What about a natural pain remedy? During a kiss, natural antibiotics are secreted in the saliva. Also, the saliva contains a type of anesthetic that helps relieve pain. Kissing reduces anxiety and stops the ‘noise’ in your mind. It increases the levels of oxytocin, an extremely calming hormone that produces a feeling of peace. The endorphins produced by kissing are two hundred times more powerful than morphine.

But how about just for the fun of it? That’s what I’m talking about. Here are a few people who did just that and set a few records while they were indulging.

The longest kiss according to Guinness was recorded in Pattaya, Thailand in 2013. Ekkachai Tiranarat and wife Laksana locked lips for fifty-eight hours, thirty-five minutes, during the “kissing marathon” being held at Ripley’s Museum in Pattaya, smashing the previous year’s Guinness World Record by more than eight hours.

The most expensive kiss was purchased at a charity auction in August 2003, by Joni Rimm who paid fifty thousand dollars for the privilege of one kiss with Hollywood actress Sharon Stone. Stone auctioned the kiss in aid of Project Angel Foods, a Los Angeles-based charity providing free meals for people with HIV and AIDS.

The longest time to kiss a car is seventy-six hours and was achieved by Ernesta Hernandez Ambrosio and Jesús Juárez Vite in Mexico, from October 10 through 14, 2013.

The most people kissing simultaneously is thirty-nine thousand, eight hundred and seventy-nine in an event organized in Mexico, on February 14, 2009. That’s right, almost forty thousand people kissing at the same time!

Finally, remember Eskimo kisses as kids when it got cold? That sweet nose rub said to have originated with Eskimos who could not lock lips in the traditional way because their lips would freeze together? Fifty in a row is that record holder.

With July 6 coming up, make sure to stock up on your chapstick and get ready to celebrate. Whether setting a new record or just burning a couple of calories, get out and kiss someone.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, from Emil Ludwig, “The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.”

Story by Fred Terling for Pennsylvania Bridges