11 Random Facts About Kissing

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iStock

July 6 is International Kissing Day, and whether you kiss the ones you love or kiss token for good luck, here are 11 facts you might not know about that peck from your lips.

1. KISSING IS GOOD FOR YOU.

A few of its benefits: it can help reduce dermatitis and blemishes. It can also help fight tooth decay because the extra saliva it produces cleans out your mouth. Kissing for a minute can burn up to 26 calories. And when practiced regularly, kissing may even add a few years to your life. One study claimed that men who kiss their wives every morning before leaving for work live five years longer than those who don't.

2. ON THE OTHER HAND, KISSING CAN SPREAD GERMS.

One peck can contain up to 80 million new bacteria, and frequent kissing can change your microbiome. But emerging research suggests that sharing microbes could offer some healthy benefits.

3. WE SPEND TWO WEEKS OF OUR LIVES KISSING.

On average, people spend about 336 hours snogging—that’s a lot of lip service.

4. THE LONGEST MOVIE KISS LASTED MORE THAN THREE MINUTES.

Actresses Necar Zadegan and Traci Dinwiddie locked lips for a record-setting three minutes and 23 seconds in the 2010 film Elena Undone. (Actors Gregory Smith and Stephanie Sherrin’s smooch lasted for six minutes in the 2005 low-budget comedy Kids in America, but it took place during the closing credits.)

5. THE LONGEST REAL-WORLD KISS LASTED A LOT LONGER.

In 2013, Thai couple Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat smashed their previous world record of 46 hours, 24 minutes and 9 seconds, set in 2011. They kissed without a break for an incredible 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, which beat the existing record (held by another Thai couple) by almost eight hours.

6. ARCANE LAWS ABOUT KISSING ARE STILL ON THE BOOKS.

In Indiana it is illegal for men with mustaches "to habitually kiss human beings." Presumably, any other species is fair game. In Colorado’s Logan County, a man is forbidden to kiss a woman while she’s asleep. And in Hartford, Connecticut, men are apparently prohibited from kissing their wives on Sundays.

7. KISSING THE BLARNEY STONE IS OK, THOUGH.

According to legend, the builder of Ireland’s Blarney Castle, one Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, was involved in a lawsuit and appealed to the Irish goddess Clíodna for help. She told him to kiss the first rock he found on his way to court. As a result, he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. MacCarthy then laid the lucky stone into the parapet of his castle.

8. LIPS ARE LIKE SNOWFLAKES.

As with frosty crystals and human fingerprints, no two lip impressions are the same.

9. A KISS HAS MARKED THE SPOT SINCE THE MIDDLE AGES.

Back in medieval times, before most people could read or write, they signed their name with an x, then kissed the mark to show their sincere intent.

10. FRENCH KISSES ARE IN THE DICTIONARY.

The term "French kiss” has been around since Victorian times, and first appeared in print in a WWI-era book called Private Lindner’s Letters: Censored and Uncensored. The thought was that the French were experts in passionate romance. In France, they call it baiser amoureux (love kiss) or baiser avec la langue (kiss with the tongue). The word galocher, the verb for “to kiss with tongues,” was added to French dictionaries in 2014.

11. A KISS WENT WHERE NO KISS HAD GONE BEFORE.

The first interracial kiss on television was featured in a 1966 episode of Star Trek. Originally, the script called for Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) to lock lips, but according to Nichols, "Bill Shatner said, 'Oh no! If anyone is going to get to kiss Nichelle, it’s going to be me!' And so they rewrote it and we all laughed about it." Fan mail was overwhelmingly positive, and one particular fan stands out for Nichols. "[Dr. Martin Luther King told me] that I was one of the most important people in his family," she said, "[and] that they watched Star Trek and that I was a role model and their hero."

A version of this article ran in 2016.

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This $49 Video Game Design Course Will Teach You Everything From Coding to Digital Art Skills

EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images
EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images

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Earn money doing what you love with an education from the School of Game Design’s lifetime membership, currently discounted at $49.

 

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11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Chesnot/Getty Images News

They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.