First stop is with Dr Paul Taylor, who lectures in Communications Theory, to discuss if the value of the kiss is being lost. Yes, the pair conclude, although they don’t get off to prove any kind of point. Instead Taylor makes the point that “the upside of repression is it’s all the more exciting, whereas now…5 Red Bulls and vodka and everyone’s at it”.
Dr Taylor also commented that in the Judeo-Christian world life begins with G_d’s kiss of life to Adam, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. Now we round off a text or e-mail with an X. Whatever your beliefs are or aren’t there is some bathos about that.
Ms. Brand decides to learn more about kissing from a different kind of zoo, a workshop for business people learning to greet one another. You might think that sounds embarrassing and it is. It is also, apparently, a very important skill to have according to Big Brother psychologist and workshop leader Judi James. But then she would say that.
According to Judi James we’ve “become more demonstrative but we don’t know the etiquette of doing it”. So it seems no one quite knows what they are doing, but assumes everyone else does – just like real life! And, just like in real life getting your greeting wrong can be a deal breaker.
A historian discusses how the practise of kissing developed from the kiss of peace, the kiss of shame and then the kiss of greeting. A cognitive behavioural therapist in a bowtie tests the sensitivity of Jo’s lips and Jo gives us some facts on the science of kissing. It can lower cholesterol.
An interesting little piece of recent history came from Peter Tatchell who also makes an appearance. In 1990 the London police were known to arrest same sex couples for kissing. Tatchell and Outrage organised a Kiss In to challenge this behaviour by the police, as 300 or so couples arrived, Tatchell tells us, the police sent him a note to say they would no longer arrest same sex couples for kissing.
Whilst this makes Jo feel more positive about kissing it seems the history of the kiss is a little sparser than the BBC or Brand might have originally hoped. The documentary is cushioned with lots of old footage of kissing and facts about lips and hormones. A talk with some teenagers gets Jo Brand to thinking who she’s truly like to kiss and me thinking I must be old because I had no idea who half the people on the teenagers’ kiss-lists were.
All the participants seemed very anxious for Jo to try and get over her distaste for kissing in public. Not one person suggested the compromise of a high five and it seemed one or two experts who were in agreement with her would not have gone amiss. So air kissing, the increased popularity of PDAs and teenagers remain a complete mystery to me.
Although any excuse for to play Prince.