So, Vice did this thing where they got a bunch of strangers off the streets of England to kiss each other for like 30 seconds:
They aren’t British actors or supermodels, ya know? Just regular old plebeian Jane Does and Joe Schmoes abducted from their nice meals of shepherd’s pie to knock Buscemi teeth together in front of a white screen.
That was stereotypically racist and I retract it 100%.
These people were all beautiful.
This person didn’t think so, though:
Wait, why is this girl comparing herself to Brad Pitt, though? #confused
Anyway – even though the whole video was only like three minutes, it feels like I just finished a LOTR marathon because the awkwardness made it seem infinitely longer than it actually was.
As I’ve been sitting here in silence for the past five minutes, trying to sort out my tummy turmoil and wondering why I would have been more comfortable watching a snuff film with my mom, I think it might be slowly hitting me…
First, the fact that their only cue was to kiss for 30 seconds – totally amplified the awkwardness.
I mean, at that point, you don’t only have the director’s instructions, you also have a whole social-convention recipe to follow with a stranger – layered with their judgment and peppered with their inhibitions or openness. And layered on top of that still, is all’a yours.
This wasn’t half a minute of foreplay between two people who dig each other deeply. It was more of a voyeuristic character study on feigned romantic gestures and the accompanying tension of “MMMkay, what’s next?” once the smooching loses intrigue (which I imagine is pretty quickly). I mean, how many people actually kiss for 30 seconds without either caressing (if they’re romantically involved) or groping (if they ‘bout to git it in)?
When all you’re told is to “kiss”, you probably start to play head games about whether to start moving your hands around the other person’s body. How much freedom to I have here? Why is he eating my face? Should I make a joke? Am I being charming enough? Why do we keep changing head positions? Why does anyone do that? Did I turn off my flat iron this morning?
Let’s be honest. There’s really nothing gratifying about lip locking in and of itself.
Unless there’s hope of sex, security, or superficial goods, it’s pretty pointless. So the only thing these people can have on their minds is “I’m doing this for money” compounded by some sorta validation. There’s three audiences to appease: the person you’re kissing, the camera crew recording you both, and your ego – if the latter pays you and the former tells you ya dunna good job. That’s why at 2:01 Paul McCartney-meets-“Doc” keeps “mmming” and saying “that’s niiice” and pretending to be sexy. He’s trying, bless the guy. (Bloke? Ah. Should’a used “bloke”. Better alliteration).
In a way, it’s almost kinda like an impromptu performance art piece.
My first reaction is to swish my goblet of grape juice around, and comment about “the irony” and how it’s an act of love without love (like porn, maybe?) But really, it’s more deviant than porn – ‘cause at least porn’s overt about its fake-ness. Sure, it might give us false expectations about how women arch their backs or how long dudes should last in the sack. But we know it’s all acting in the end. (Poor choice of idioms. That bit “in the end” is actually the only part of porn that’s not fake. Moving on.)
Anyway, Vice’s vid contrarily holds a mirror up to reality. Most people do more cheek-pecking than pecker-pumping in their day-to-day. And of them, how many do the tokenistic “quick kiss” as a passing, mandatory gesture to those they say they love – romantically or not?
Here, it’s kinda the same thing, ‘cept with people they don’t even know – much less love. We’re all guilty. It’s hard not to be in a thoughtless, hurried world. We try to rush everything from the traffic to the climax of sex.
All in all, this piece is so deliciously awkward because lotsa people aren’t used to really reading other humans anymore. So, watching other people try (poorly) just makes us wonder if we’re that bad too. You have to put yourself out there to empathize.
And ain’t nobody
got makes time fa’dat.