A few years ago Dutch scientists discovered that the community of bacteria living, working, and giving birth to baby bacteria on a person’s tongue approximates that of his/her partner following a lot of kissing. Of course, they had to journey to France to conduct these tests. A Dutch kiss is about as effective as an Eskimo kiss when it comes to swapping spit. But a French kiss of no more than ten seconds can result in the transfer of some 80 million bacteria from one mouth to another.
Like so many scientific studies, there is a sense in which we already knew this. My generation, the Baby Boomers, never kissed more so than we did in junior high. At make-out parties we’d kiss for hours and hours. By the end of the night, 10:30, when our parents picked us up we’d be so pooped we couldn’t pucker. The only way we could have exchanged any more bacteria was if we’d stolen bottles of probiotics, of which there weren’t any, from our parents’ medicine cabinets. These parties so drained us of saliva that when we unlocked lips to come up for air, we drank more sodas than Forrest Gump at the White House.
But the kissing made us healthy! How else would we have survived our unhealthy beginnings. Many of us were born to mothers who smoked, drank, and ate tuna fish straight from the can while we were in the womb. After that, our baby cribs were painted with bright-colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, and we rode our bikes without even thinking about wearing a football helmet. We drank water straight from the garden hose and ate white bread with real butter and mounds of mashed potatoes swimming in gravy. We fell out of trees, broke bones, and knocked out teeth. Kissing at make-out parties increased our resistance to no less than life!
We were the ones who discovered that kissing was good for us! We just didn’t know why we wanted so much of it. Now the world knows that it has to do with the spread of diverse bacteria. I haven’t kept up with all the ramifications of this study – don’t you hate it when you see something interesting in the news and then never hear about it again – but I suppose that osculation therapy is sweeping the world. Osculation therapists are setting up booths at health fairs at which the attendees are invited to engage in such therapeutic activities as “spin the bottle” and “post office”. They are setting up old-fashioned kissing booths at county fairs, staffed by young people with well-developed salivary glands.
Health minded revelers are hanging French mistletoe at parties and workplaces during the holiday season. National campaigns are in the works, “Don’t Miss the Buss!” and “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, Oh What a Belief It Is!” Bumper stickers are being printed that say, “What The Heck, Let’s Neck!”
Healthy weddings will soon be promoted in Modern Bride Magazine, weddings at which all the guests will kiss the bride, the groom, their parents, grandparents, wedding party, wedding coordinator, caterer, minister, and soloist. Of course, under the Code of Ethics Governing Osculation Health, you have the right to determine whom you will kiss and whom you won’t. If you don’t want to kiss a person, all you need to say is, “You’re outside my healthcare network.”