The folks at Salon published a story this week on the professor of smoochology (ad-based access alert!), which, in their words, explains “how a nebbishy ex-academic who keeps changing his name wound up traveling around the country convincing total strangers to kiss onstage.” And while I knew him by one of those earlier names, I recognized the guy immediately.
William Cane, a.k.a. Michael Christian, and his book “The Art of Kissing” helped my mushy, melodramatic story of young love find a place in history.
It was 1994. Having not yet been entirely convinced by the big promise of this World Wide Web thing, I was still happily cruising around gopherspace and USENET back then. One day, I came across this post in alt.sex.wizards (don’t ask): an author was “conducting the first major Internet survey on kissing.” Of course I replied. And while the book’s contributors were to remain anonymous, I traded e-mails with the guy for a while. And when the book finally came out, with my little story included in one of the very first chapters, he sent me an autographed copy.
Thanks to Amazon’s wicked cool Search Inside the Book™ feature, you can even read it online without flipping a single page. Just log in, and search the book for the word “volcano.”
If you’re not even willing to do that, here’s the infamous passage: “A nineteen-year-old from Hawaii had his most romantic kiss on a live volcano. He took his girlfriend out to the shelf where lava rolled into the ocean, shrieking with steam and heat every time a wave came in, now and then surging and making deep low explosions underground. Bathed in an eerie orange glow, they stood on the edge of land no more than two weeks old. It was three A.M., but hot enough to be noon in the summer. The young man turned to his girlfriend and said, ‘I really would take you to the ends of the earth for even a single kiss.’ For the next ten minutes they smooched by the light of the sheer power of nature melting rocks.
Yeah, yeah, I know, cheesy to the max. What can I say, though… she married me, didn’t she?