Tag Archives: Fluffy Flapper

Anyone Who Can Drive Safely While Kissing Is Simply Not Giving the Kiss the Attention It Deserves

Albert Einstein? Philippa? Fluffy Flapper? James Russell? Apocryphal? Anonymous?

kiss09Dear Quote Investigator: The modern traveler may encounter dangerous drivers who are texting while driving. But another risky behavior has been occurring on roadways for many decades: kissing while driving. The brilliant physicist Albert Einstein supposedly said:

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

I think this ascription is unlikely. Would you please examine the history of this saying?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Einstein wrote or spoke the statement above. It is listed within a section called “Probably Not By Einstein” in the comprehensive reference “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press. 1 Einstein died in 1955, and the phrase was implausible attributed to him many years later in a book called “More Sex Talk” in 2002. Details are given further below.

The earliest pertinent match known to QI appeared as a short item in multiple U.S. newspapers starting in 1923. The joke employed a dialog format, and its creator was unidentified. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 2 3

Dorcas—”Do you ever allow a man to kiss you when you’re out motoring with him?”

Philippa—”Never, if a man can drive safely while kissing me he’s not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Many thanks to top researcher Bonnie Taylor-Blake who located and shared several valuable citations via a message at the Snopes website.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 2010, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, Edited by Alice Calaprice, Section: Probably Not By Einstein, Quote Page 482, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Verified on paper)
  2. 1923 December 17, Hamilton Daily News, Smiles, Quote Page 15, Column 7, Hamilton, Ohio. (NewspaperArchive) 4 5 1924 January 17, The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Safety First (Freestanding filler item), Quote Page 13, Column 4, Davenport, Iowa. (Newspapers_com)
  3. 1924 January 23, Harrisburg Telegraph, Safety First (Freestanding filler item), Quote Page 8, Column 6, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)