Quote Origin: The Kiss is a Wordless Articulation of Desires Whose Object Lies in the Future, and Somewhat To the South

Lance Morrow? Tomima Edmark? Anonymous?

Question for Quote Investigator: A kiss has been described as a “wordless articulation of desires whose object lies in the future.” Would you please help me to determine who made this statement?

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 1986 U.S. essayist and “Time” magazine journalist Lance Morrow published a piece about kissing which included the following passage. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1

Kissing is a promise that reserves the right of refusal. A kiss is mute and highly articulate. It involves a brief fusion of two heads, the head being the residence of mind and soul. The mouth is simultaneously the front office of language and of hunger.

The kiss is a wordless articulation of desires whose object lies in the future, and somewhat to the south.

What made the screen kiss stimulating in the old days was that the consummation was left to occur in the viewer’s imagination.

Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.

The Quote Investigator website has a webpage about a thematically related expression “Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire” which is available here.

Image Notes: Illustration of a couple about to kiss from Klara Kulikova at Unsplash. The image has been cropped and resized.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Mardy Grothe whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Some instances replace the original word “desires” with “desire”.

[1] 1986 January 19, The Sun-Herald, The kissing style of the great screen lovers … but now the stars are fearful by Lance Morrow, Quote Page 155, Column 2, Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia. (Newspapers_com)