Slobber. Bad breath. A tongue like a malfunctioning blender. Drawing on my depressingly wide experience of bad kissers, I explain how to not be one yourself. OR: How to snog someone without choking them with your tongue.
I went on a date with a boy last night. Well, I say a date. We chatted on Grindr for a while, realised neither could really invite the other one back to theirs, and then went for a walk. In the park. At night. Which I admit is a little bit risky, and I don’t recommend anyone else does this. I can get away with it because 1), watching the news for the last couple of years means I no longer fear death, and b) 35 years of eating my feelings means no-one’s going to drag me into the bushes against my will without a forklift or a team of oxen.
Besides, I quite like the excitement of “Is he going to fuck me or kill me”? It’s the only thing that makes me feel alive. Well, that and setting dogs on fire.
Anyway. No-one was murdered. And there was no fucking either. Well, there might have been. There were certainly a couple of other shadowy figures on the swings in the corner, but it was really dark, so there was no way to see what they were doing. At least, not until my night vision goggles arrive from Amazon.
So we were walking round and chatting, and generally flirting and getting to know each other. After a while, it got to that awkward moment where it was time for a bit of a kiss. I call it the Tingle. It’s like, you both know it’s going to happen.
It’s right there, he’s up for it, you like each other, he smells good, the stars are out, the people on the swings are grunting, you start to move in close…
And this time, I didn’t want to go any further with that. Not because I didn’t fancy him. I was entertaining the idea of shoving him against a tree and doing things that would traumatise the squirrels living in it, but… Just for a moment I was worried that this was about to ruin the evening. Everything was going so well at that point, but… What if he’s a bad kisser?
He has the potential to be a great kisser, but that’s the thing about potential. He could also be awful at it. It might ruin a lovely date, or it might make me want to get on my knees and suck his eyeballs out through his dick. And there’s no way to tell without snogging him.
Right at this moment, in the Tingle, we exist in a quantum superposition; he is both an amazing kisser and, at the same time, it’s like getting my mouth caught in a cement mixer. The two exist simultaneously and there’s no way to know without actually kissing him and collapsing the waveform. It’s Schrodinger's Tongue. (Yes, I did just make a quantum physics joke - shoutout to all those who can hoe and science.)
This has ruined a lot of perfectly acceptable dates for me before, to be honest. Not science. Fuck no. Science is awesome. I mean the kissing thing. Like, I’m out with a guy, the chemistry is great, he seems interesting, I’m secretly wondering if I can see us in Instagram photos together, and we all know that’s as serious as a relationship can get.
And then he tries to eat my face. Or our teeth click against one another, or worst of all, bad breath.
Think about it - if the part of your body that you use in every single interaction every day emits wafts of the funkiest, stankiest ming, then I am definitely not going to want to go in search of any of the bits you keep hidden.
I’ve noticed a lot of this recently, actually. Granted I have just spent a couple of weeks in France, so, y’know, that might be part of it. But still. Even with a diet of cigarettes, cheese, red wine, cigarettes, coffee and cigarettes, your breath doesn’t have to stink.
Sometimes it just has to be a medical thing. Like, the time I was sitting BEHIND a bloke on the bus and every time he opened his mouth there was a gust of foulness, like Satan himself had a really spicy curry last night. Times like that, then maybe go and see a specialist. There is no possible way you’re unaware of that level of honk.
And if it’s not a medical thing, even if you’re a member of the cats-arse-tasting society, mouthwash is a thing. Use it twice a day. Everyone. Do this.
If you’re sitting there, listening to this thinking “Oh, I’m glad I’m not that guy! What a dick he must feel right now! Someone would tell me if MY breath stank!” Let me ask you: The last time you encountered someone with mouth-stink so strong it starts to melt your contact lenses, did you say “Good LORD, man. Get some Corsodyl in there immediately, and maybe a bit of Toilet Duck just to be sure!”? Or did you just get through the interaction as quickly as possible because you were holding your breath and didn’t want to pass out? Exactly. People could be doing the same to you. Mouthwash. Chewing gum. Suck a urinal cake. Don’t care how, just fix it.
Sorry, that kind of things gets me a bit worked up. But I’ve had a cup of tea and a big poo and I’m back.
So, yeah. Bad breath is a big one, but it’s not the only one. Not by a long way. There’s plenty of other things that can ruin a kiss.
Stuff like too much or too little tongue - it shouldn’t feel like you’re trying to clean my ears from the inside, nor should it be just an open, empty mouth, as if I’m making out with a sex doll. Not that I’ve ever done that. But real people should be better kissers than inflatable people, that’s all I’m saying.
Nor should you keep your mouth closed. Little tiny pecks is not good kissing unless it’s your auntie and she’s giving you £20 for Christmas. Family members are the only ones where a mwah is acceptable.
Rhythm. As with all physical activities including two or more people, Rhythm is an important thing as well. Although that one is a slightly weirder one because it's fine until you notice it, and then you can't stop thinking about it. Like how the logo for this podcast looks a bit like a hipster Hitler. Someone mentioned that to me the other day and I damn near packed the whole thing in on the spot, because I can’t help but see that now.
Anyway. Going mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah-pause isn’t a great kissing experience. It’s like snogging a clock. I said clock.
I kissed a guy once who kissed like that. Very regular, almost mechanical, and when I mentioned it to him, he didn't seem bothered. He was like yeah that's how I kiss, don’t make it weird. Because I’m the one making it weird. Not professor robot-mouth over here.
Even rhythm’s not as bad as slobber. That's just gross. If snogging you is like being waterboarded, then I’m not going to want to do it. Here’s another tip. If after we’ve smooched I have to go ‘mmhmm’ and wipe my mouth, or worse, half my face, that’s a sign there’s too much slobber involved.
The worst thing of all is that there’s nothing stopping two or even three of these things being joined together into a truly horrific mouth-assault. Imagine someone whose tongue is everywhere, their breath smells, they’ve got their set kissing rhythm and they’re slobbering all over you. Blergh. This has happened to me. But because my manners overrode my survival instinct, I didn’t grab a chair and a whip and fight him back like some kind of circus trainer. Instead I pretended I “wasn’t into kissing” just so I didn’t have to deal with it. But that doesn’t work. He just licked my neck and my ears instead. So by the time I’d finished him off and kicked him out, I was covered in stinky slime. I had to take a shower. Partly to try and get rid of the smell from my skin, but also to cleanse some of the shame of not just saying “keep that thing away from me”.
Kissing should be like a dance. Much like any bodily contact between two people, it’s not as good if you just stomp in, wave your thing about with absolutely no interest in the other person’s enjoyment and stomp out again. If you want to get to do it again, you have to make sure the other person is enjoying it. Sometimes if you’re in the mood and it’s about being dominant and overpowering someone then yeah, set your tongue to “crazy blender” and go for it.
But that shouldn’t be every time. Yield a little. Take notice of what the other person does, what they want, and how they like things.
Start off gentle, start off slow. Maybe change the rhythm up, do some little pecky kisses, do some great big smackers, mix it up a bit. Don’t just re-enact that bit in Terminator 2 where he jabs someone through the throat and out of the back of their head.
As it turned out the guy I kissed in the park was actually a pretty good kisser. Which to be honest, was a nice surprise. For the record, we didn't end up scaring the squirrels in the park, I'm classier than that thank you very much. I mean, I did show him my willy but he wasn't allowed to touch it. That's how classy I am.
Also I’d had three wanks already that day, so I was kinda sore.