Kristen Koster is one of those First Friends of Writing who you know you’re going to keep forever. She’s also got one of the best blogs on Regency Writing around. But today, she’s going to talk about kissing games. Get your bottles ready!
Why is it every generation believes that they’re the first to discover kissing games? Spin the Bottle, Postman, Truth or Dare or even just playing a game of Tag, where the method of tagging is a kiss. These have been around for ages.
I have to admit, I was appalled to find my daughter and her friends playing Truth or Dare at a slumber party at our house two years ago. Oh, not so much that they were playing it… but that they were relying on an app to provide questions and dares. Have we lost all sense of imagination?
The truth is, when you put a bunch of hormonal youth together, you’re gonna get experimentation. It doesn’t matter when or where. Curiosity is gonna get the better of them, especially if there’s a lack of supervision (which leads to things like 7 Minutes in Heaven where anything goes) or possibly even more surprising, adult sanctioned activities that allowed youths to explore their sexual compatibility.
What?! Encouraged sexual exploration? I know Bria likes to keep this PG-13, but wait-a-minute… what on earth am I talking about here? Especially since the time period that I write in was 200 years ago and I know you’re thinking, “Weren’t they tight-laced, prim and proper goody-goody-two-shoes?”
Well, in 19th Century France, young couples would meet at their churches to practice “maraichinage” or what would come to be known as “French Kissing”. Couples would engage in some tongue dueling and their partners changed on a weekly basis. In some regions, this meant kissing behind parasols for some semi-privacy, but in others, the youths were forced to sit on opposite sides of narrow benches. In either case, this was a socially acceptable way to judge a potential spouse’s compatibility, or rather, it was until the clergymen banned the practice on the grounds that it was loveless and done only for the pleasure of kissing. Can you imagine?
In Regency England, things weren’t much different. Parlor games allowed a bit of naughtiness to creep into what we think of an as otherwise staid and proper society. In the game of “Blind Man’s Bluff”, one player sat in a chair and their identity had to be guessed by a blindfolded individual only by touching them. The game of “Guess the Kiss” was similar, only the blindfolded person was kissed and had to identify their kisser. I’ve seen a print possibly also from Le Bon Genre of an unknown game that looks an awful lot like a naughty version of Twister.
I can only imagine that many different cultures throughout time have had their own versions of kissing games as a way to size up their potential mates. There probably haven’t been as many variations on the basic themes as each generation would like to believe they’re responsible for inventing either. But we can hope imagination and common sense don’t become lost to future generations.
Kristen Koster grew up totally left-brained and logical but always enjoyed right-brained and creative activities too. She started reading her mom’s stash of historical romance novels in the early 80s and never really stopped. Reading over 30 novels one summer in college convinced her she could do better. But life had other plans, including the introduction of her own hero to smooch. Twenty years into their HEA (after detours through some graduate work in Economics, a stint in online game design and wrangling two kids into their teenage years), she finally found her way back to writing Regency romance. One day, she might even get a novel published, if she can just stop over-analyzing everything. You can also find her on Twitter at @KristenKoster.