What your kiss says about you

Lean to the left and you're a cold fish: it has to be a dip to the right (and strictly no slobbering)
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The Independent Online

You must remember this: a kiss is just a kiss. But the way that you kiss reveals a great deal about the kind of person you are.

According to research into how people relate to each other, the social minefield that is cheek-to-cheek kissing is about to become even more explosive.

Researchers studied hundreds of volunteers, and observed many more kissing in public places, and found that the way they kissed was a marker of certain personality traits. Some 80 per cent of men and women, whether left- or right-handed, turned their heads to the right when moving in on their target. But left-leaning kissers could end up with more than just bumped noses: apparently, these 20 per cent are much "less emotional" than their right-thinking counterparts, according to the study, due to be published next month in the scientific journal Laterality.

"One theory that has been put forward is that by turning their head to the right, the individual reveals their left cheek which is controlled by the emotive right cerebral hemisphere," says Dr Julian Greenwood of Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

Ever since the first kiss was recorded in Vedic scriptures in 1500BC, the dilemma of how, when and whom to kiss has vexed the minds of nervous socialisers. From AD14-37, the Emperor Tiberius banned kissing to try to stop the spread of the disfiguring disease mentagra.

As the etiquette expert on ITV's Ladette to Lady, Liz Brewer knows a thing or two about social kissing. "It is very yucky when you meet somebody for the first time and they insist on doing that," she says. She adds that the best way to kiss is "heart to heart" - which, of course, means turning the head to the right. "And of course unless you know somebody well I cannot see there is a necessity to touch skin."

Some argue that all this kissing is doing us good. Last year, German psychologists announced that people who kiss their spouse each morning will live five years longer than those who don't. Kissers also have fewer car accidents, fewer sick days and earn 20 to 30 per cent more.

Additional reporting by Roger Dobson

The air kiss

Want to appear friendly but don't want the germs? Wave your face generously in your victim's direction. Now repeat loudly: "Mwah, mwah, dahling."

The bloke kiss

Come on guys, this does not make you gay. Or French. Remember Nelson and Hardy? Just add a hearty slap on the back to stress how manly you are.

The friends kiss

Now we are all modern Europeans we don't worry about swapping saliva with friends. Girls may like to share a cuddle, too, as long as no boys are watching.

The ex kiss

A tricky one: when you have already shared bodily fluids it is pointless kissing the air. It is still considered bad form to stick a tongue in, however.

The 'I secretly hate you' kiss

We've all been there. The eyes narrow, the shoulders hunch and the lips pucker for the poisonous but socially obligatory smacker. Be sure to wear lots of lip gloss.