So, I’m watching TV. (Shock, amazement, I know.) Anyway, I’ve seen this commercial from Dentyne about 12 bajillion times, and every single time, it drives me a little bit nuttier:
Wow, Dentyne – 20,000 minutes?! I didn’t even catch the rest of the commercial’s potentially problematic characterization of sexual safety, because my ears actually stopped working at 20,000! Good lord! That seems like a lot of minutes! What do you think my mouth is made of, Dentyne? Delicious? Which is to say Wrigley’s Spearmint, because my mouth is old school like that?
You know, Dentyne, it may seem like all I do with my face is suck face, but you’re wrong. I have hobbies. Interests. I talk with my mouth, and not infrequently eat and drink with it. I suppose if bourbon shooters constitute “kissing” I’ve maybe made out with Jack Daniels (rarely a Gentleman, but he’s my man) close to 20,000 minutes in my life . . .
Wait. Hang on a sec.
20,000 minutes is no time at all! Dentyne, you rat bastards – you totally played on my complete (completely American?) inability to quickly and effectively do simple math! Had I received a quality public school education, however, or were I a math savant, maybe I’d have realized sooner that:
20,000 minutes = 333.33 hours = 13.88 days
. . . of your ENTIRE LIFE. Putting the cold, hard math another way, it’s 60+ minutes a month for 333 months, or 27.75 years – that means if you started kissing at, say, 16 years old, and got an hour of kissing once a month, on average, you’d still be done before your 44th birthday. That’s not a stat, that’s a jack. And a depressing one to boot, given that the average American life expectancy is roughly 78 years. This means smooching is in worse shape than Social Security, for fuck’s sake. There’s no way Dentyne isn’t aware of this fact – if my ears had kept working, had visions of epic make-out sessions not been dancing in my head like so many tasty sugarplums, I might have heard the narrator mention something about having something for the other 40,000,000 minutes, or 76+ years. For the folks playing along at home, using Dentyne’s own figures, we’re talking an assertion that people, generally, spend one-twothousandeth of their lives kissing.
I find that seriously disturbing, and more than a little sad.
And if you consider how much time lots of folks spent kissing and kissing and rolling around on any semi-horizontal surface and kissing in high school and college, when it sometimes seemed that class was what you did when you didn’t have your tongue in someone’s mouth, or what is basically a front-loading of kissing in life, then it’s even more troubling. Though I realize the extent to which this behavior, this ecstatic, frantic making out, for good or ill, tends to change or evolve as folks discover a wonderful world of more frequently and/or directly orgasmic methodologies of sexual interaction . . . why? Sexual hierarchies? Must foreplay necessarily escalate, simply because intercourse is on the table, and kissing for its own sake go the way of all flesh?
My instinct is that the answer to that last question has to be “no,” despite the fact that, as a cultural matter, its not difficult to imagine why such an eventuality seems somehow normal – or at least normal enough to subtly premise an ad campaign. Just look at the baseball analogy. Not only is it socially ubiquitous (at least in the States, I suppose, so much so that I had several web comic options for the previous link), but it clearly sets up a goal, an “appropriately inevitable” destination for sexual interaction. The point of baseball is clearly to score runs (and obsess over stats?) – it’s how you win – not simply to get on base, or enjoy a casual stroll around the infield, and certainly not to go backwards.
So clearly there’s potentially an understanding of “normalcy” in this situation wherein life simply, in many ways, evolves past kissing, in all likelihood in favor of getting to fucking faster, and more the pity say I. On the other hand, it’s an equally distinct possibility that people just aren’t, in this author’s opinion, doing it right. When I searched for the video for this commercial, I stumbled on a number of other blog commentaries on Dentyne’s figures, many of which focused on the sort of calculator gymnastics found earlier in the post. The key difference is that, apparently, a number of bloggers think Dentyne is making perfect sense. To wit:
Couples often kiss each other several times per day . If we assume the average day consists of 30 seconds of kissing and the average persons spends 60 years in a relationship, then we can estimate the number of minutes spent kissing in a lifetime:
time kissing = (time kissing per day) · (days per year) · (years in relationships)
= (30 s per day) · (365 days per year) · (60 years in relationships)
= 11,000 minutes.
That’s an average of 11,000 minutes spent kissing in a lifetime. The commercial’s claim is well within what one might reasonably expect. Good job, Dentyne and “stub”.
 It’s [sic] can be a lot more if they make whoopee.
Wow. Ignoring, if possible, how the amount of kissing “can be a lot more if they make whoopee” [emphasis clearly added], just look at the figures the author cites, presumably for mouth-on-mouth kissing only (it’s even worse if we’re talking kissing, period). 30 seconds a day for 60 years. If I’m ever in any sort of relationship wherein I average a mere 30 seconds of kissing a day, you have my permission to shoot me. No, seriously. It’s in writing. And I’ll probably thank you for it, after I get over that whole being shot part, because I simply cannot imagine spending a month, much less a lifetime, with someone(s) I don’t want to kiss not only regularly, but frequently, prolongedly, and with as much skill and finesse and desire as one lil’ mouth can muster. I’m not saying that people who don’t spend hours a day kissing can’t have awesome and fulfilling relationships in which they are happy . . . but I’m betting the pucker up helps.
So does all this bother anyone else? Or am I just making mountains out of mouths?