So I was out to dinner with two dear married pals. Strangely, it was the husband — not the wife — who shared this marital pearl. We were at a popular and packed Newhall restaurant. Well into coffee and dessert, the husband leaned over and kissed his bride Smack. Damn. Dab. On. The. Chapstick. Which I can appreciate. She’s cute. And nearsighted, because, well, she married him.
“Can I share something with you?” he asked me, post-smooch.
Suspecting I was about to ingest, atop 6 pounds of shrimp burrito, something cooties-rich, I answered, “No. No. Please don’t. No.”
“Did you know that if you’ve been married for a long time, a kiss is supposed to last four seconds?” I resisted the temptation to peek under the tablecloth to see if my manly-man buddy was wearing Espadrilles or had taken to painting his toenails.
It’s a stunning bit of information. I didn’t want to ask if he had lost his job and stayed home days, watching Dr. Phil or Housewives Saugus Hills. On ABC.
A brief, awkward silence wafted across the table, like when a Democrat friend attempts to spin that his 15-year-old all-star linebacker son (Canyon) now wears nylons, whore culottes and this week identifies as Taylor Swift.
Kissing? For four seconds?
That’s an entire second longer than you’re allowed to camp in the key and when I type “key” that would be the brightly painted wood-floor region under a basketball hoop not the Florida Keys nor pop diva Alicia Keys nor the Key Club, the wimpy high school version of Kiwanis.
Don’t belong to Kiwanis. Not paying any fine.
A four-second kiss. I mean — does one count — ala Chico Marx: “One-thousand-anna-one … one-thousand-anna-two … one-thousand-anna-three … one-thousand-anna-four … olly-olly oxen free-yee-eeeee!!”
Then you break the spousal lip-lock, blow a whistle, throw your hands heavenward and scream: “VIOLATION!!!”
After four seconds, some men, the weak, the old, the Kiwanis again, clutch their heart, bend over to grab knees, hyperventilate, shake heads violently, then gasp: “GOULASH WILL NEVER TASTE THE SAME AGAIN, MARTHA!!!”
In some countries, that’s how babies are made.
I’m the last person in this valley to be giving marital advice. But, learn this: If you scream “goulash!” enough times after kissing, you’re going to be served with papers. I speak from experience.
Post-supper, I did a little web-snooping. The very first article, from Kissopedia, quoted nameless “psychologists.” The alleged shrinks held that you should kiss your spouse (and certainly not somebody else’s) for EIGHT seconds.
Eight seconds? That would give my little immature mind too much time to wander. It’s like watching the clock in 10th-grade algebra and internally screaming: “C’MON!!!” I’d be silently counting, holding up my smartphone while the next ex-Mrs. Boston’s eyes are closed and she weeps with gratitude. More than enough time to speed-scan several hundred scores on ESPN. Many weddings I’ve attended. Never do I recall the padre saying, “You may now kiss the bride,” followed by making a hatchet-chop motion with his right hand a la a boxing referee to simulate a standing eight-count. Isn’t that just the chilling metaphor, describing the next 50 years — or less — of your life? Unconscious, still standing up. And still more beatings ahead.
Post-COVID, I don’t think I could hold my breath for eight seconds. People DO still hold their breath while they kiss, don’t they? Would wearing an oxygen tank, flippers and SCUBA breathing apparatuses whilst making out be considered — A) Inappropriate? 2) Poorly executed performance art? Or, iii) Deep-seated issues and mouth-breathing while reading Sexaholics Anonymous literature?
Here’s a perfectly awful thought. Has my dear pal been LYING to his wife? I mean, he’s the one who said you have to kiss the offending apple of one’s eye for four seconds. NOT — eight. Do the math. Twice as long. Are there medical issues to consider? Was he thinking: “Baby Roscoe, Mary, Joseph and Geez Louise I have a heart condition I’m going to pass out I can’t last another four seconds (pant, pant, pant)!!”
I have a musician friend, a drinker of Old Testament proportions. He could down two 16-ounce cans of non-Bud Lite beers in under eight seconds. Now THAT’S stamina. His chug-a-lugging earned him more applause than his piano playing.
When’s the last time your wife applauded you, threw a cowgirl hat into the ionosphere and yelled, “Yeeeeeee-HAWWW!!!?”
The eight-second kiss. A guy can take one for the team and think of Larry Bird’s last-second and game-winning steal from the Pistons or knife-fighting Bigfoot. But, mind you. This is not a one-time event. Like taking antibiotics, you have to kiss your wife SEVERAL TIMES A DAY for eight seconds (four, if you’re emotionally dishonest).
Much can be accomplished in a measly eight seconds. You could win a rodeo belt buckle by staying on a bucking bronco. You can brush your teeth. Study your voter’s ballot. Convert to Catholicism and share a fervent Reader’s Digest version of a confession with your parish priest.
“Bless me, father. I. Did. NOTHING…!!!”
Speaking of Catholics, you can speed-recite the “Hail Mary” in eight seconds. (Done it.) Fine. It’s not what you’d call “Yo-ho-ho-ho, the spiritual life for me!” But, it certainly beats running loco through Canoga Park, looting tennis shoe outlets.
I’m suspicious of this subtle introduction of the Kama Sutra into our cherished and inhibited American marriage practices. Where is our country headed? To “The Eight-Minute Kiss?” Or, like a title of the latest diet fad, “The Eight-Day Kiss?”
This stretching the boundaries of human decency is affecting my life. I’ve always threatened my smarmy critics that they can just go, “… Kiss … My rural … Dusty … Butt.”
The Horror. For my enemies. For myself. Kiss my butt?
Is our one, shared moment now to be measured in an embarrassing eternity of — Eight . . . Seconds . . . Long . . . ?
John Boston is one of Earth’s most decorated newspaper columnists, yet, cannot write longer than in 1.5-second spurts. Visit his bookstore at johnbostonbooks.com. Wait. There’s more. Buy stuff.