Released a mere seven days ago with already 60 million views and counting, the YouTube video “First Kiss“ is a viral sensation. It was made as an advertisement for clothing, using actors — though viewers had no way of knowing that these encounters were anything but real.
Yet, for a video of this popularity, its 29,000 dislikes, nearly 10 percent of the viewership, is uncommon. This discrepancy comes from the risqué nature of the video, which may make some uncomfortable.
The video is a study of how people react when told to kiss a complete stranger. What happens is surprising and unsurprising at the same time; the kisses are intimate and almost seem loving. This is why the video became viral — it is meant to show that love is blind and can manifest itself even in the most foreign of circumstances.
Yet, the “dislikers” of this video have a valid point as well. In fact, the No. 1 comment on the video, written by WayTruthLifeChannel reads, “That’s not love. Those people don’t even know each other. The kiss means nothing, it’s all lust. … This illustrates how far down the drain society has gone. The political correctness and knee jerk trendiness is just nauseating!”
Is this true? Is the supposed intimacy seen in this video mere lust and are the people uncomfortable by this display justified by this? I believe the overarching question is — does it matter?
In a study done by Oxford University, kissing is seen by the human psyche as a mating audition. With all of the nerve endings in the mouth, a kiss is an important litmus test for judging a potential mate. A kiss releases dopamine similar to cocaine and replicates the feelings of true love.
So, does it matter where these people meet, or how they know each other? In a way, a first kiss is the first gauge of romantic intimacy, and helps people chemically and instinctually determine whether that person is worth their time.
Yet, the question remains: With the popularity of this video, should ad companies begin to use methods like this? The study done by Oxford University definitely suggests that they should not, unless they are trying to follow more sexually progressive countries like France. In a survey done, people find kissing more intimate than intercourse and more important for relationship upkeep.
Thus, in my mind, this country is not ready for ads featuring sloppy kisses. In the 2013 Super Bowl, GoDaddy tried their hand at a commercial like this when Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli sloppily made out with a Jonah Hill lookalike. The viewer reaction was dramatic, but not positively so.
It is ironic, that in this world of sexual jadedness, in this era of Internet porn and X-rated movies, viewers are still made uncomfortable by a make-out session. I think this just shows the intimacy of a first kiss and the importance our unconscious mind places on it.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @izzyg25