LOS ANGELES: There s the flicking kiss, the ice-cream kiss, the vacuum kiss, the Hollywood kiss and another 50 or so smoochy variations.
Who said a kiss was just a kiss?
For everyone who s ever wanted to pucker up like a movie star, French kiss like Johnny Depp, or simply add variety to their love life, help is at hand.
In our culture, movies are a major way of transmitting romantic ideas and a lot of people get their romantic notions about kissing from love scenes in movies, said William Cane, author of Kiss Like a Star.
More kisses are being invented all the time. People kept asking me, can you put some pictures in so I can see how to do it? That is why movies are so good because you can watch them and get a whole bunch of ideas that you can try out with your partner.
Cane uses close-up sequences from movies ranging from Casablanca to Top Gun and Dirty Dancing to illustrate in detail the techniques of more than 60 kisses.
Some, like the passionate, sweep-her-back embrace between Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind are already famous.
One of the newer varieties – the ice-cream kiss from The Notebook in which Canadian actress Rachel McAdams pushes an ice-cream cone into the face of co-star Ryan Gosling and then kisses it off – won a 2005 MTV best kiss award.
And, some, like the vacuum kiss as seen in the little-known 1993 comedy Coneheads, need a bit of practice.
Yet teens, who might seem like the target audience for crucial tips on how to avoid bumping noses on that angst-ridden first kiss, are the least likely to be buying the book, said Cane, which is the pen name of former English professor Michael Christian who began writing about kissing 15 years ago.
His first book, The Art of Kissing, was released in 1991 and he has also written The Art of Hugging.
A lot of young people are afraid to get my books because they don t want their parents to see they are interested in kissing, said Cane, who tours the United States speaking at college and universities about how, who and when to kiss.
Although practice, variety and imagination make perfect, Cane says you don t need a partner to brush up your smooching skills.
Make a little mouth with your left hand. Take your right thumb and put it through. You can actually practice a French kiss on your hand, he said.
Or you can rent the 1990 movie Cry-Baby, and freeze frame Johnny Depp doing it.