Been down to the livestock market in Welshpool this morning, where a group of hill sheep farmers and I were in conversation when the subject of kissing came up. In part this could have been in response to today being the beginning of International Flirting Week, with its natural climax on St Valentine's Day this coming Saturday. Or it could have been all the publicity being given to research carried out at Layfayette College, Pennsylvania and Rutgers University, New Jersey. There was a general view amongst us that kissing is the 'must-do' activity for this week.
The human body is a complex creation. (I use this word deliberately). A simple meeting of lips unleashes a chemical surge into the brain which stimulates excitement, happiness and relaxation. Apparently its to do with oxytoxins and cortisol. The more passionate the kiss, the more intense is the consequent stimulus. And it seems that things get even more heated if there's an exchange of spit, which is thought to trigger hormone release and enhanced arousal by the exchange of sexually stimulating pheromones. The research also informs that 'cold' kissing doesn't work so well for women as men. For maximum impact on women the research recommends soft lighting and gentle music. One of the boys, who doesn't have much time for academia said that he finds a bottle of wine to be effective with what he termed 'difficult cases'. Kissing also seems to be an efficient way of spreading germs, and boosting internal body defence systems. There was agreement amongst we sheep farmers today, that we didn't need American academics to tell us most of this.
One kiss, whatever its intensity is fairly harmless. Trouble comes because one kiss can so easily lead to another - and before you know it, the 'pheromone boost' is more out of control than Gordon Brown's financial stimulus. Shakespeare got it right. "Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again." Romeo said that - and we all know how he finished up.
And you thought St Valentine's day was about romance!