Kissing connoisseur reveals formula for perfection

“Oh, that a joy so soon should waste,

Or so sweet a bliss as a kiss

Might not forever last!

So sugared, so melting, so delicious.

The dew that lies on roses,

When the morn herself discloses,

Is not so precious.

Oh, rather than I would it smother

Were I to taste such another.

It should be my wishing

That I might die kissing.”

Ben Jonson

Mike Christian has tried every kiss in the book. Of course, he wrote the book. The Electric Kiss. The Butterfly Kiss. The Vacuum Kiss. There’s no method this lip connoisseur hasn’t tried. Because he had to.

The former Boston College English lecturer was taken aback when an old girlfriend told him she didn’t like his kissing method.

Now he teaches a class on lip-smacking. He’s training lips how to do works ranging from the simple first good-night kiss to the exotic Trobriand Islands kiss.

“It’s more like a show,” said Christian, the author of “The Art of Kissing” (St. Martin’s Press, $8.95).

“The reason people can learn is first of all, they will see a number of different techniques. Secondly, they will also learn what the opposite sex prefers and often that opens their eyes.”

Christian’s eyes were opened by his ex-girlfriend.

“My girlfriend at the time said that I should keep my eyes closed when I was kissing her,” said Christian, who’s pen name is William Cane.

“I thought, `But I like keeping my eyes open.’ So I went to the library and saw that there was virtually nothing about kissing.”

He launched a lip campaign, interviewing real people, intimacy therapists, anthropologists, dentists and other professionals and rounding up what little information was out there.

He says he ended up surveying more than 100,000 people.

After his book was published, he began getting phone calls from college campuses, asking him to conduct kissing lectures.

The mastermind behind the 10-year-old hot seller gathers six or eight volunteer couples, an hour before the seminar begins, and teaches them how to make sparks. Later, they demonstrate for hundreds how to kiss.

“People want to be good kissers,” he says. “They’re always dreaming of that perfect kiss. What I tell people is that you can become a better kisser, but you’ll never become perfect. There are so many things that you can learn to improve your technique. A lot of people don’t share with their friends exactly what their secrets are. Well, I got all the secrets.”

Christian said he clues people in on what others are looking for in a kisser. In his session, kissers will learn how to go about initiating a first kiss, a candy kiss, a butterfly kiss and a music kiss. (Hint: A music kiss is when you learn to kiss on every beat, even to fast music.)

“It was awesome,” said Amy Nichols, a sophomore psychology student at Indiana University-Southeastern, who attended a session in New Albany.

“It made me think a little more about kissing. He talked about what men think, and I found myself wondering what my boyfriend was thinking. The way he talked about kissing made me think of it as an alternate way of intimacy.”

Ditto for Nichols’ best friend Theresia Olivares. She was excited about the event because before she had her first kiss, she bought “The Art of Kissing,” hoping to pick up some pointers.

Reading is one thing, she says. Watching someone demonstrate it is better.

“It’s hard if someone tries to describe different types of kissing,” said Olivares, a freshman.

“But if someone is up there demonstrating for you, it’s entertaining, worth your time and you learn a lot more.”

That is Christian’s mission.

“People are just not getting the message and I’ve got to get the word out there,” he said.

“The No. 1 question is how do you French kiss. So I actually get inside of a huge mouth and show them what to do.”