What happens when two strangers kiss for the first time when they have only just met?
Words by Thu Ha Dao
There’s a popular saying, “In the West you kiss in public and pee in private, in Vietnam it’s the opposite”. Yes. Here in Hanoi it’s much more common to see someone pissing than kissing on the street in broad day light.
Inspired by First Kiss (a viral video which was a slick marketing campaign in disguise), a team of university students created their own Hanoi First kiss version free of promotional agenda. The purpose is simply to celebrate the many-splendored awkwardness of young love and normalise public display of affection.
The process was straightforward, after reading the information about the event on Facebook, participants sent their application, and then 20 chosen girls and guys gathered in a small studio to kiss and be filmed. Unlike the original video, these folks have little experience in acting and in smooching. But that’s what helps to spice things up! People reacted in a myriad of ways, which are all fun to watch – some walked out the door with an indifferent shrug, some managed not to screw up their faces, and some plunged into some sort of hysteria.
Even though it’s not always the case that kissing is a magical uniter of two bodies, it is in fact strangely capable of connecting people. The participants who were total strangers at first ended up hugging, giggling and sharing contacts at the end of the event. I’m not much of a romanticist, but even I believe in the power of the kiss now.
In the Words of the Kissers
When was your first kiss?
Linh: “I had my first kiss in 12th grade. I don’t remember anything actually, it left no impression.”
Hằng: “My first kiss was two or three years ago. I liked it.”
Hải: “It was when I was 16. It was alright.”
Xoăn: “I had my first kiss with a stranger, about four years ago. I didn’t feel much, because it was the first time and with a stranger. I just let him lead me and take me where he wanted to go.”
Hoa: “I had my first kiss in 12th grade. It’s not like now…I was childish, so the feelings weren’t ripe and my skills were not good.”
Trang: “My first kiss? Today. I used to have a boyfriend but never touched a boy’s lips, because it was a long-distance relationship.”
Hà: “My first kiss was during my military training at university. I thought it was a cool thing to do so I gave it a shot. After the kiss, the girl said “my turn”, then kissed me back.
Thành: “I had my first kiss at the age of 18, with my girlfriend, after gallons of effort. After that I felt happy like a winner.”
Lê Trọng: “My first kiss happened during my last year at university. We were in a park, quite romantic. I was trembling before the kiss, and bursting with joy after it.”
Post kiss reactions..
Linh: “It’s been a long time since I last kissed someone. I was taken by surprise, I didn’t think that two strangers could kiss like that, like a real kiss. I guess it was a French kiss, at first I thought it’d be just lips touching…”
Linh: “I felt shy.”
Hải: “I didn’t feel anything.”
&: “You think it went too quickly?”
Hai: “No… actually I would have preferred it to go even quicker.”
Thảo: “I felt good. Positive. Probably he likes me. But the guy started too fast, I wasn’t prepared enough.”
Giang: “It was nothing special. I didn’t feel shy even though it was with a boy.”
Thanh: “It was sweet. I am only waiting here to ask for her contact.”