Kissing is the prelude to every other physical intimacy shared by a happy couple. It is the amuse-bouche, and just like that short course, must be prepared to excite the senses and as a showcase of the party’s approach to lovemaking. Fortunately, Guns N’ Roses’ acoustic masterwork “Patience” provides the necessary direction.

While the lyrics remain the lodestar, the song’s construction gives listeners a pair of lighthouses to keep them safe from the rocks and shoals threatening any make-out session. First, the 53 seconds of whistling opening the track. Although at times criticized as artistic indulgence, this near-minute introduction is better viewed as Axl’s proscription of impatience: good kissing takes time. Just like choosing a chafing dish for your wedding registry or installing democracy in a Middle Eastern country, these things don’t happen overnight. Second, the song nearly stumbles to an end at the 4:12 mark before regaining its balance for a closing stanza more urgent than any previous. Here we learn that good kissing comes in waves. On the couch, in the back row of the theater or crowded beneath an umbrella, vary the cadence and intensity of your kisses to maximize effect.

The words of the song complete our instruction:

“Said, woman, take it slow; it’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience.”

See above, noting again that being greeted as liberators is nice, but not preferred to leaving as colonizers. $.89 per gallon? Yes, please.

“Said, sugar, make it slow; and we come together fine.”

Good kissing requires coordination; every effort should be made to turn heads in opposite directions at similar times and rates. Note that the speed with which this initial process develops is a lead indicator of future interactions, particularly physical. Even if you struggle like a baby giraffe taking its first steps during this crucial beginning, do not open your eyes. You’re not perched on a rooftop overlooking the dark heart of the city, so there is no reward for vigilance. It’s just creepy.

“Sometimes I get so tense but I can’t speed up the time.”

As important as patience is form. The modern romantic carefully walks the line between excessive force and the milquetoast. Use some pressure and bite a lip, but make sure to leave in the fillings. If your partner deploys the Valsalva maneuver after you’re finished, slow your roll.

“You and I’ve got what it takes to make it. We won’t fake it.”

Kissing is for the romantics, so leave it to them. If your name is Zack or Jessie and you’re in a high school play fusing a classic fairy tale with hip hop that forces you to kiss a best friend in front of your respective partners and you just think you might have felt something, you probably didn’t, so avoid testing that possibility with further kissing in unguarded auditoriums. The narrative device might suffer, but at least Kelly and A.C. won’t. This is also why you do not kiss prostitutes.

“Hard to see with so many around, you know I don’t like being stuck in a crowd.”

Don’t make out in public. Short kisses between attractive partners are of course permissible as aspirational invocations to passersby, but nothing more.

EXCEPTION: Kissing while drunk is lawless. Anything goes, so try out everything, even running the triangle.


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