The best heroes and heroines have flaws from ophidiophobia (Indiana Jones’s fear of snakes) to Achilles’ destructive rage. But there are a few flaws we seem more reluctant to give characters than others, among them, a lack of skill in kissing.
As many of us can attest to from personal experience, first kisses, perhaps even second or third, are usually clumsy, robotic, or excessively wet. Yet most every character we see in literature or film possesses a near supernatural ability to kiss.
Granted, it’s rare to find a couple where both are inexperienced, or the issue is never addressed at all. However, even virginally lipped characters possess surprising skill. In both Never been Kissed and The Princess Diaries, which focus specifically on a magical first kiss, the heroines perform with aplomb. No one bumps noses, misses, or freezes with lack of knowledge on how to proceed.
Disney’s animated films come closest to believable in its first kisses. At least, the characters, from Aurora and Philip to Aladdin and Jasmine, perform a very sweet, but soft, still kiss, closer to what one might encounter in a real life first kiss. Even Lady demures with gentle inexperience when Tramp and she first kiss. And, in my opinion, one of the best Disney kisses is one that never quite happens, where Flotsam and Jetsam overturn the little boat where Ariel and Eric lean toward each other in perhaps the most romantically tense moment in all of Disney cartoon history.
So why are we so reluctant to allow our heroes and heroines to be poor or just plain average kissers, especially on their first kiss? Is it perhaps that we all long to be good at kissing? Is it that, outside of a comedy, such moments are so wound with romantic tension and specialness that we don’t dare let our heroes fail? What do you think?