The Kiss on the Forehead

I have been kissed on the forehead twice as a grown woman. Well, three times, but twice by the same guy in the same instance, so let’s count them as one.

I’ve got to tell you, I’m not a big fan of the forehead kiss. I keep thinking that, under the right circumstances–I’m married to your best friend and you save me from being run over by a car and in your relief that I’m okay, you embrace me and cannot help but place your lips on my sweet flesh and, even though you long to smooch me right on the mouth, your love for your best friend prevents you from violating his trust and so you gently kiss me on the forehead and then move away so that you don’t have to see me if you can’t have me OR I’m busy kissing the cutie in bed with us–being kissed on the forehead might be okay.

But, in my experience, the forehead kiss means “you ain’t getting any smooches any farther south than this” and what fun is that?

The first forehead smooch went like this. There was this cantankerous guy that I loved and loved to bicker with* and we’d go to dinner–my two roommates and me and him–every week and he would call us hooligans and I would sigh and make googly eyes at him and wish he’d leave his fiancee for me, even though he was a Republican jack-ass whose dad knew Bob Dole well and I was a liberal do-gooder.

So, one day at dinner I wasn’t speaking to him, though I can’t remember why. I’m sure he deserved it though. And he ran up to me at the car and grabbed me and smooched my forehead. And I laughed and things between us were better, though that was as close as he ever came to succumbing to my charms. Which is too bad.

The second one was much more dramatic. There had been some drinking. A lot of drinking. And there had been a minor scene of brief upper-body nudity on his part and the kind of confession that you always hope you might hear, just for the sheer romantic tragedy of it, until it actually happens and you look across the table and pray to whatever local deity you can drum up that his wife of less than a year did not just hear him say that.

And then, you decide to leave, because said confession shook you and you are too drunk to keep from crying about it. And so, you unwisely grab him and take him out to the stairs and you say your tearful goodbyes and he pulls you to him and kisses you on the forehead and you start down the steps, but he hasn’t let go of your hand and he pulls you to him again and you lean forward and whisper something in his ear that was needless considering that you’re going home and he’s going home and you probably won’t ever see him again, and he leans over and brushes your forehead gently with his lips and you break free and you rush out to a waiting taxi and zoom off into the night.

And you think, at that moment, that what you’ll carry with you is what he said, but what you realize years later is that you’re more thrilled by the thought that you rushed down marble stairs in high heels and actually made a dramatic exit without falling on your ass.

Anyway, the kiss on the forehead. On a scale of one to ten, I give it a three in sexy, a five in charming, and, if properly executed, an eight in drama. Unfortunately, I have to also give it an eight in the kind of patronizing department.

Execute with caution.

*No, no one you know. A different cantankerous guy. No, different than that one. No, not him either. No one anyone but Miss J knows. He’s never commented here, he doesn’t read this blog. I just like cantankerous men.

19 thoughts on “The Kiss on the Forehead

  1. I frequently forehead kiss my wife and my daughter. My daughter thinks it is funny, it must tickle her. My wife, well, I do it because it is a safe way to kiss her without making her think I’m going to me attacking her soon.

  2. I agree on the “execute with caution” – at the wrong time it could prove to be just as bad of a decision as giving someone a yellow carnation (which I was told after receiving one was the ultimate way of saying “I don’t like you like that. Let’s just be friends”).

  3. Sure, sometimes the forehead kiss is ‘I don’t like you like that.’ But sometimes it’s ‘I really want to smooch you but it’s our first date and I’m nervous so I’ll just kiss you on the forehead because that’s non threatening and I don’t have to lean down to reach it.’

  4. W., I firmly believe that every time you do that, you’re causing a girl to go in the house, pick up the phone, call her best friend and say “He kissed me on the forehead! But I wanted him to really kiss me. Should I have grabbed him and kissed him on the mouth? Was that what he wanted? Should I have stood on the steps? Worn higher heels? Do you think he doesn’t like me? NO, I think he likes me. I mean, he wouldn’t have kissed me at all if he didn’t like me, would he? I like him. I want to see him again, but what if he wanted me to insist that he really kiss me? What if I’ve fucked this up? Do you think he liked me? Do you think he wants to see me again? Fuck me, I should have kissed him. He’s never going to call now.”

    Which seems like a bad thing, but the sooner you get a girl talking about you with her friends, the better it is for you.

    Nervousgirl–some fucker gave you a yellow carnation? And then told you he just wanted to be friends? I hope you beat him with it.

    Men, when you just want to be friends, DO NOT say it with flowers.

  5. I can identify the second incident and I’m sorry I was too drunk myself to see that you were so upset.

    The forehead smooch is something my dad might do if I was 9 and I’d just fallen off my bike and mangled up my knee and was cleaned up and safely resting on the couch.

    I guess you could argue that for adults there are times when it’s a gesture of tenderness. But in many cases, as in the cases you describe, the forehead kiss is a kiss of regret. Of what can’t be. Usually because the men in question are pussies.

  6. I was drunk, so that’s a mitigating circumstance. Sober, when he started spewing forth about how much he’d loved me, I would have either laughed or had some class of some sort.

    And it was really, really flattering. I’ll give him that. I mean, look, it’s how many years later and I still get a thrill out of it.

    But yeah–But in many cases, as in the cases you describe, the forehead kiss is a kiss of regret. Of what can’t be. Usually because the men in question are pussies.–I agree.

  7. B, you do have quite a history of falling for cantankerous conservatives. I wonder what old Mr. M is up to now. Congressman? Remember when we took him to see Beloved? I don’t think he had ever read the book. How astonished he must’ve been. Why is Oprah peeing on herself? Why is Thandie Newton naked and pregnant and screaming bloody murder on the porch?

    Miss J

  8. aunt b, you and your beloved commenters are giving me some nasty flashbacks. The forehead-kissing-married-but-not-to-you-but-shoulda-been thing is just toooo close for comfort.

    And the flowers AND the forehead kiss (AND a drunken “run away with me please please” request, followed the next morning by a “I’m sorry I was drunk, but I was still serious and my flight is leaving and I’m never coming back” phone call) from The One Who Got Away … I’m going to have to lie down now.

    Thanks to y’all, I’ll probably sit in my big chair all weekend and look out at the snow and read my old journals and sob quietly into my snuggly blanket. Gaaaah. I love y’all, but … oh, the DRAMA. Heh.

    Mrs. W, feel free to come to my house this weekend and run around in circles in the snow in the big fenced backyard. We’ll clean you off on the patio and then you can come in and sit in the big chair with me. And the cat.

    Well, maybe not the cat. You’d have another Mark on the Beast.

  9. Miss J., I don’t know what it is about them, but I do adore them. They’re each unique in their own cantakerous way, but it’s definitely a genre that appeals to me. Probably too many Harrison Ford movies as a child. How can a girl see Han Solo and Indiana Jones and not want one of her own?

    Grandfille–your story reminds me that, though they accuse us of it, men are the kings of drama.

  10. See, as to person number 2, you never actually saw what he is really like, what you all saw was a carefully constructed and diligently maintained facade. I really think you have way over-romanticized this particular person. I know he can be quite charming, at times, but really, ugh. That probably doesn’t make you feel any better, but what I’m trying to say is that he really, really, really is not worth the effort, and the memory, while maybe sweet (or downright weird) is not worth the upset.

    Trust me, had you not run down the stairs, your reward would be one more dysfunctional male to tell stories about and who is overly dependent upon you for his care. Although, I must admit, I do find you ever so much more preferable to Skeletor and your presence would make gatherings at the compound much easier on the Shill, give her a little reprieve from the relentless left-liberal baiting.


  11. LE,

    No worries. I’ve not over-romanticized that person. I well know what a chicken-shit lazy-ass he is. I’ve just totally over-romanticized that moment, because it flattered the fuck out of me.

    Shoot, if that had been Ghenghis Khan, I’d still be telling that story.

  12. … though they accuse us of it, men are the kings of drama.

    Oh, honey, THAT one was. Even dragged poignant Warren Zevon songs into it, the bastid. Heh.

    How can a girl see Han Solo and Indiana Jones and not want one of her own?

    Yes! Whee! Now I’m out of my anticipatory weekend funk! Thanks!

    Signed, the Grateful Gal Who Still Wants to Be Marion Ravenwood (Even If She Did Get a Condescending Forehead Smooch from Indy in Belloq’s Tent)

  13. See, that’s the thing about Indiana Jones. He can deliver a forehead kiss in such a way that it seems like a promise (not a promise he’ll keep, mind you, but a promise) and not like some coward’s way out.

  14. I’ve never used the forehead kiss as a gesture of regret. A recent exgirlfriend got them on occasion because she was a foot shorter than me, but that seems more like tenderness than regeret.

  15. W., as long as your using the forehead kiss for good and not for evil, I think you should keep on using it.

    Just don’t show up around Nervousgirl or me with a yellow carnation and forehead kissin’ on your mind. You’re liable to get hurt.

  16. I love Harrison Ford too, of course (although, damn he’s looking old. Have you seen how creaky he looks in the preview for his new movie?). But haven’t we had the conversation where we admit that when we first saw Star Wars as kids we really liked Luke and couldn’t understand why the hell Princess Leia would want Han Solo, the rebel, instead of the angelic Luke? It’s funny how one’s ideas about men changes over time. Before puberty, you think the best boys are the moral ones who always do the right thing and do as they’re told. Then when the hormones kick in, those guys look like pussies and you’re all about the rebellious Han Solos of the world. *Sigh* I still love that kiss that he and Leia have in Empire, I think, that starts with them arguing like crazy. Come to think of it, doesn’t Luke kiss her on the head? It’s all beginning to make sense to me.

    Miss J

  17. a guy told me a kiss on the forehead means more on than a kiss on the lips i think that is crap he claims it means alot more in the way of security and comfort and “all that” whatever all that means to him whne i asked hiom what his lip defintion was then he said it was not as important as the forehead and that i didnt udnerstand coz ihadnt experienced it properly HELP what does he mean

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