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For A More Civilized Age

How to Kiss, 1942-Style, According to LIFE Magazine

Ahhh, ye olden tymes. Back when romance was romance, and kissing was third base. (And “necking” was a home run!) Back in the early 1940s — 1942, to be exact — LIFE Magazine took it upon itself to stage an instructional photo spread on the do’s and don’ts of proper kissage. Because there are right ways to kiss someone, and there are perilously wrong ways. (Aunt Jamie can also tell you that there are just some people who shouldn’t put their mouths on anyone at all.) So, how does LIFE want us to kiss people? Come inside, enjoy the view!

Above is a good example of how people who are afraid of kissing kiss each other — with their genitals as far away from each other as possible, in case the slightest peck causes the slightest unexpected erection. This is the wrong way to kiss, even back in 1942, if you’re trying to convince the person you’re kissing that this kiss was voluntary.

Below is the corrected version.

Indeed, standing “close together” while not holding on “too tightly” expresses just the right amount of interest without veering recklessly into autoerotic asphyxiation. Or intercourse.

Now that we’re done with our “standing series,” let’s move on to some seated positions. Here is not how to kiss someone while seated:

Here, we see our gentleman has apparently tripped and fallen down beside a couch. This is the only logical explanation as to why he would be kneeling next to a couch where his partner is seated, but on the arm of said couch and not the traditionally accepted seating area on the cushion. By not joining the female on the couch (where there is plenty of room, unless she is suffering from Rose DeWitt-Bukater Disorder), he is giving her the impression that he is not that interested in sharing the space with her, and is only interested in her mouth. Ladies: Beware of men who are only interested in your mouths. Next thing you know, he’ll be asking you about teabagging before you’re prepared for such a level of intimacy.

But mostly, the double-handed grasp of the male, as seen here, is sending mixed signals. While kissing someone, don’t appear to be attempting to snap his or her neck.

Here is the corrected version:

Ahhh, now here is a logistically and ergonomically sound display of affection. The male — with his height advantage — can comfortably lean in for the kiss while his partner is seated (conveniently instead of confusingly, as shown before) on the arm of the couch. Now, she has ample room to swoon and/or escape should she feel his burgeoning erection.

It goes without saying that none of this should occur outside the confines of marriage. And only if you plan on having babies, you dirty little horndogs.

(via Retronaut)

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  • Ganieda

    I think that last one is really sweet looking. And now I have a sympathetically induced crick in my neck. 

  • Julianne McCartney

    ahhahaha the second “wrong” one looks like hes about to snap her neck a la steven segal..

  • Jon

    I can never do anything right! >.<

  • Anonymous

    This is actually from a couple of years later, but from the 40s:When the lights go on again
    All over the world
    And the ships will sail again
    All over the world
    And rain or snow is all
    That may fall from the skies above,
    A kiss won’t mean “Goodbye”
    But “Hello” to love.

  • Thomas Driver

    So, how does LIFE want us to kiss people?

  • Anonymous

    what @Melvin:Disqus answered I’m blown away that a student able to profit $6526 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this web link 

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  • Anonymous

  • Life Lessons

    Oh good grief. *headdesk*

  • Anonymous

    The “wrong” seated kiss looks more like he’s about to slip her into a headlock or snap her neck. The “right” seated one looks weird too…haha. Perhaps, from now on, I will only kiss whilst standing.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Jamie, are you saying we need a “How to Teabag” diagram for the new generation?

  • Anonymous

    as @Edward:Disqus responded I am surprised that a student able to get paid $6842 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this website 

    *Just Click At My name for The Link*

  • Invisible_Jester89

     Sweet-looking? That looks downright like the cover of a romantic novel. XD

  • Guest

    GASP! The woman isn’t wearing a wedding ring! Could they be kissing out of wedlock?