“It’s In His Kiss. That’s Where It Is”

After a terrible first kiss, comedian Gail Forrest contemplates what makes a great kiss — and asks some men for their thoughts

Do you remember your first kiss? It’s memorable; one of the epic firsts in girl’s life.  I, however, am embarrassed to admit that mine wasn’t until high school. There was a lot of middle school kissing going on, just not with me. I was way behind on the adolescent girl curve. It wasn’t until freshman year in high school that I found myself in the “Oh my God I think he’s going to kiss me” position. Mr. First Kiss was adorable and an upperclassman who always hung out with cheerleaders, but this girl couldn’t jump so I was gravity bound and kissless. 

One fateful day after school he noticed me and took me for a drive to his house in his sexy little MG convertible. He then escorted me around to the swimming pool in the back where it happened — the event I had been waiting for and fantasizing about in a setting that was totally Town and Country magazine. The stuff of a perfect Jane Austen memory. It was a setting I would never forget but a kiss I cringe to remember. Ewwwwww! That was it? He pressed on my mouth so hard I was lucky he didn’t chip my front teeth, especially because they were finally straight from years of braces. My lip wasn’t bleeding either which was good because staining my Villager blouse would be hard to explain and remove. Thankfully, we never kissed again. My first bad kiss but not my last.  

What makes a really good kiss? I once read that one of the most asked questions on Google was “how to kiss.” Is it a skill? An art form? I have to say, being single it is downright nerve wracking wondering whether or not someone is going to be a good kisser. I’ve spent entire first dates sitting across from a man and while it might seem I am engrossed in a conversation about politics, movies, or climate change, I was really only thinking about how he kissed. This is all consuming, anxiety provoking, and usually gives me a slight headache. Good kisser? Bad kisser? Good kisser? Bad Kisser? I haven’t heard a word he’s said or cared. Then my “please be a good kisser” prayer kicks in and doesn’t stop until he kisses me.  

What Constitutes a Great Kiss?

So what constitutes a great kiss, is the big question. I decided to be fair so I would ask my men friends, as simply disparaging the bad kissers relies too much on my personal criteria. To say nothing of the fact that I was curious to pose the question. The men I asked were surprisingly contemplative.  

“I never assume a woman wants to be kissed, unless I intuitively get a signal from her. So I feel it’s incumbent on her to somehow let me know it’s ok. Then it happens naturally. I also never assume we will take it further the first time we kiss.”

“I am very conservative with a first kiss. Never a deep kiss unless it’s the woman’s idea.”

“Expressive, but not overly so. Strong, but gentle, not overly aggressive. A statement of affection, not a baby type kiss. Not a signal of just friendship but of genuine interest.”

“It’s not technique, but whether a woman communicates passion via body language, hands, posture. How the woman responds step by step.”

“How much a woman participates initially or taking some responsibility for the kiss or anticipation of a kiss. Some degree of French kissing if mutually responsive.”

“Relaxation of the mouth is key, not tense or pursed lips or someone who applies too much pressure. Responsive in a relaxed manner.”

Some men just can’t learn, no matter how hard I’ve tried or patient I’ve been

I pressed on a little further and queried whether or not they would accept instruction from a woman to alter their kiss. All said yes if couched in a positive and encouraging way, not accusatory but reassuring. Interesting as I always tend to be too blunt or simply give up.  And truthfully some men just can’t learn, no matter how hard I’ve tried or patient I’ve been.  

The most fun analogy came from a survey I took on a women’s website. They, btw, were relatively silent on the subject so only one great quote to report. 

“It’s a Goldilocks kind of thing: not too hard, not too soft; not too wet, not too dry: not too long, not too short.”  

That’s a little confusing but it did bring back childhood memories of the three bears and bowl of porridge, which was nice.

The other problem in my survey is that most of my women friends are married and they have virtually forgotten about the early great kisses, or their husbands had fallen asleep. 

Kissing is high on my list of the qualities I look for in a man. A soft, yet intimate, slightly moist first kiss because… “it’s in his kiss, that’s where it is.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. It so in the kiss, if a man can’t kiss I don’t even go on a second date, but if he can oh la la, I could spend hours kissing him. Recently I met a man that kissed so amazingly well that I got totally lost in the moment it was truly AMAZING.

  2. I have also attempted to teach a man how to kiss. Lost claws! He was good at everything else, but kissing was not in his skill set! LOL Worst kisser ever? The man who covered my whole mouth with his mouth! I couldn’t breathe! LOL

      • I went out on a first date with a man whose kiss was so bad, I thought I was going to gag. Not only was his open mouth completely covering mine, but his tongue was pushing so far down my throat, it felt like was trying to get to the other side! What the heck was he thinking?!

        A good kiss is like the back and forth of a good conversation: taking turns talking and listening to each other, asking questions without words, responding respectfully to the ebb and flow of the moment.

    “I am one of those people who never assumes that I am invited to kiss unless I am given a signal that it is welcome and okay. I have heard from too many women, especially recently, with the advent of match.com dating, that there is much in the way of unwelcome kissing (also inappropriate touching).
    Personally, I’ve been told that I am a great kisser, a bad kisser, and once told that it was “interesting.”
    My guess is that it depends on the other person’s historical kissing memory and experience.
    In an “ageist” comment, from 20 somethings, I have been told that the thought of older people kissing seems “gross.”

    Were it not for Covid, a kissing clinic, with surrogate kissing partners, like surrogate sex partners, would be helpful and probably appreciated by most women to avoid the pitfalls you mentioned.”

  4. Good article. Just want to say that it’s an equal gender affliction. No matter how many books one’s read, or movies they’ve seen, some people don’t “get it”. Remarkable after so many years.


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest is a comedy writer and stand up comic. She studied at Second City in Chicago and has performed at Pretty Funny Women and Flappers in LA, as well as Second City to name a few. She has a published book Gonepausal on Amazon about women in midlife and is working on a new book which includes men and promises to be just as funny with even more insights on aging.


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