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New Years Kisses

I stumbled into the New Year in an antihistamine haze, zoning out to historical Korean costume dramas with honey lemon ginseng tea and a packet of saltines. I dimly noted the coming of 2012 around 10pm, but forgot about it until Sweetie suddenly came in and planted a big kiss on me for no apparent reason.

Since I've been spending most of the past week watching things written by screenwriters who must literally open up the Big Book of Clichés and pick at random to hobble together successful movies and TV shows, I've seen a lot of kisses. Given the general kissing theme of the New Year, I thought I'd start off my posts this year with a short advice column on the variations of these kisses, and how to use them effectively in storytelling:

"Shut Up" Kisses
Characters can't resolve their issues properly, or your dialogue just sounds weak? No problem...just cut it all out and go straight to the heavy petting. The Shut Up Kiss is an all-purpose device that can be employed in both cutesy and dramatic situations, and instantly fixes any irritating lumps in relationship dynamics. I've personally seen several couples communicate with this strategy, and they lasted almost up to half a year.

Angry Kisses
A variant of a Shut Up Kiss, an Angry Kiss stops an argument or rant (often tearful) with passionate lip-locking. It is the final snap of the tension in the sexual rubber band, if you will. dubs this the "Slap-Slap-Kiss", though I would expand it away from mere affection-induced hostilities to also include cheap shortcuts used to hook up characters who pop up out of nowhere. In most cases, the slaps are figurative, but if the female lead is a supermodel detective, secret agent, or sword-wielding princess a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you should also throw in a couple of literal ones as a five-minute work up.

Rape-Is-Fun Kisses
I would consider the Rape-Is-Fun Kiss as an excellent S&M derivative of an Angry Kiss for situations involving especially pretty villains or anti-heroes. Simply pin your heroine to a wall, floor or couch and force her to submit to your hero's pure love to set modern audiences' hearts aflutter. For tips, see the international sensation Hana Yori Dango, in which the heroine is bullied, stalked, kidnapped, and ultimately chased terrified through the dark halls of an empty school by her hot, rich tormenter. Yet, she still has the admirable spunk to observe that while being crushed physically and psychologically was a bit rough, his kiss was warm and tender. Happy endings abound.

Comfort Kisses
Character A is hysterical with grief, which Character B fixes instantly by coming on to Character A. Think about Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie. Obviously, since Vulcans have the repressed passion of a thousand Heathcliffs and Uhura belongs on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, the first thing he would want to do after his home planet implodes in a time-paradox-inducing tragedy is to make out with her in an elevator. If you're writing a horror movie, your couple should also start taking their clothes off for a romp minutes after lunatics/ghosts/flesh-eating-viruses have dismembered their friends.

Otherwise Uncomfortable Kisses
If tears streaming down your face makes for a bad round of tonsil hockey, turn them into torrential rain for maximum discomfort. Better yet, tumble down in frostbite-inducing snow, perch atop a windy mountain with hair and skirts whipping everywhere, or get sticky substances all over you first. Mud, potter's clay, exploded Coca-Cola...all fair game. Nothing makes you want to touch other people more than seeing them covered in germs and goo.

In sum, you can make your kisses exciting by following these three simple rules: 1) Consent is boring. 2) Comfortable is boring. And 3) If anyone would want to follow your scene through in real life, you're doing it wrong.

Happy New Year!


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