Let's get this on the table straight out: my family is not the kissing type. Growing up, my parents didn't kiss me on the lips; instead, they hugged for greetings, thank-yous, and congratulations. Today, the closest I ever get to kissing a family member is when my elderly grandmother aims for a kiss when we say goodbye, and even then I do a subtle head turn so it lands on my cheek. I get anxious when hanging out with European friends and family, because I know they're going to greet me with a cheek kiss and I never know which way to turn first.
Outside of my relationship with my fiancé, I'm not a physically affectionate person, probably because my highly functional divorced family simply didn't emphasize physical affection when I was a kid. So when I see the debate about whether parents kissing their kids on the lips is inappropriate or if it's a healthy expression of familial love, it's all a foreign argument to me.
But with several controversies surrounding celebrity parents kissing their children trending online lately, it's become an inescapable topic of conversation. I've been asked my opinion on the matter by several friends and colleagues, and what it boils down to is . . .
I Don't Give a Sh*t If You Kiss Your Kids
Shocker: I couldn't care less whether a parent wants to kiss their child on the lips. Physical affection doesn't come naturally to me, but that doesn't mean I'll comment any criticism on Hilary Duff's photo sharing a kiss with her son. When Victoria Beckham uploads an Instagram kissing her daughter, my instinct isn't outrage; it's to say "Aww, how cute!" When I'm hanging out with a friend and her 4-year-old daughter comes in for a goodnight kiss, I won't grimace in disgust when she pecks her on the lips — I'll say goodnight and go back to my glass of wine.
Quite frankly, whether families kiss on the lips is none of my damn business . . . or yours.
It's not that complicated, people: just because something isn't for me, doesn't mean that it's wrong for somebody else. The vitriol surrounding the kissing argument is astounding and leaves me baffled every time it (oh so frequently) gets bubbled up on social media.
Quite frankly, whether families kiss on the lips is none of my damn business . . . or yours. When random online commenters sexualize an innocent act between mother and child, my inclination is not that there's something wrong with their parenting; it's that there's something severely wrong with society.
My parents might not have taught me to kiss as a symbol of my platonic love for someone, but they did teach me something else: to say "no, thank you" and move on when presented with something that isn't quite my taste. That same lesson has followed me into adulthood, but it seems like many people missed the memo. Maybe instead of tainting a sweet family moment with their unwarranted opinions, more people should focus on learning another important childhood lesson: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
Can we move on now?