Essay: Changing the Signals of Passion

Humphrey Bogart was a brilliant smoker. He taught generations how to hold a cigarette, how to inhale, how to squint through the smoke. But as a kisser, Bogart was an awful example. His mouth addressed a woman's lips with the quivering nibble of a horse closing in on an apple. Better to study, say, the suave carnality of Gary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious.

Everyone learned how to kiss from the movies. It is difficult to imagine what people did before Edison for instruction in the subject. They blundered through, no doubt, across centuries of bruised lips and chipped teeth,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!