It’s also true, of course, that if we look far enough back and we are completely honest, we, boys (I can’t speak for girls, obviously) may find that, like Hamlet in Hagar the Horrible, romance wasn’t always all that central to our way of thinking.
I asked Bonnie, and she figured it MIGHT have something to do with the fact that women are, commonly, shorter than men, but she had no real evidence that there was a relationship between that fact and the “foot pop,” as I have learned this is called. Since we couldn’t come up with ANY really plausible answer, I called on my “fancy, graduate school education,” and did some online “research,” starting, of course, with Wikipedia. Here’s the best discussion I found. (NOTE: I make absolutely NO claims regarding the scientific veracity of what I “discovered.”)
This Is Why Women Lift Their Leg When They Kiss
posted on bestlife.com
Updated November 16, 2018
It’s a trope as old as time—or at least rom-coms: That women, when kissed passionately, will subconsciously kick their leg back.
That movement has a name: the “foot pop.” And, at this point, it’s practically cemented into the collective public hive mind as a bona fide display of pure affection. In fact, this is what makes the topic a surprisingly contested one. Through popular culture, we’re taught to believe that, if one feels a certain way about a kiss, then a foot pop is inevitable.
But here’s the thing: it might not be legit—at all.
How did we get here?
Sure, the romantic comedies of the ’80s and ’90s may have popularized the foot pop. But it could be decades older than that. In fact, it might even date back to the iconic Times Square kiss photo from the end of World War II (which has since thought to have been staged…because of the foot pop), where a surprised woman somehow manages to slightly lift her leg in the middle of kissing a just-back-from-the-war soldier.
But, as Justin Garcia of the Kinsey Institute pointed out to Salon, though the science behind affection has been thoroughly studied, there is absolutely no definitive evidence or scientific research to suggest that either sex, let alone women, actually lift their leg in subconscious bliss mid-kiss.
“I don’t know of any data about why people (women?) raise their leg during a kiss in movies. I suspect it’s socially scripted—a way to express passion, like a toe curl. But, I don’t think anyone has ever looked at how well that body movement is documented, and if so in what gender, and also, if so, what kissing behaviors elicit it,” he said.
Further, when real women were asked whether or not they ever implemented this movie trope, most declared that they had never done it, though some shared a sense of guilt attributed to the feelings of passion that they felt they weren’t expressing without occasionally buying into said trope and lifting their leg in the name of tradition. And, as surprising as it is that this trope hasn’t been further investigated, it just goes to show that it’s a trend that seems to only stick on the silver screen. The foot pop, as it turns out, is merely a sign of the cinema—not a sign of the times.
(NOTE: I HAVE edited this article (slightly) to remove some video material (which I didn’t know how to include) and to try to clarify a couple of points for this context. I had no intention of altering the points of the original author and apologize if I may have done so. Dr. B)
For anyone who is unaware of it, “The Kinsey Institute” referred to is, officially, “The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction” founded in 1947 in Bloomington, Indiana, and now owned and operated by Indiana University. Quite an interesting place, I am told, but NOT readily open to casual visitors. I do understand, however, that one of my theatre design professors helped some of those working there in dating pornography by examining “costume” and “scenic” elements in photographs. He wouldn’t tell us about his experiences, though. He said that he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement for the job, which I’m quite sure was the truth!
Anyway, based on that article, it would appear, at least to the author of the article above, that any actual need for the “foot pop” to indicate passion is unfounded.
But, every year, at Valentine’s time, we (at least I think it’s true of most married, or “spoken for,” men) struggle to find some (manly) way of expressing our affection for their “better halves” which won’t be too embarrassing to our “he-man masculinity,” but will, hopefully, please “She Who Had Better Be Remembered!” This can lead to things like are shown in the Dustin comic trip below.
There are lots of ways to express affection, however. If one hunts a bit, there are MANY relatively small gifts one can find which are intended to indicate one’s feelings regarding “the most important person in their life.”
I have a suspicion that many, if not most, of my former students, who were almost certainly aware of the fact that I was rarely far from a cup of coffee in my office or the scene shop, would understand that the coffee mug shown below:
Well, I’ve probably fulfilled my duty to St. Valentine to a level sufficient for a Valentine’s Day blog post, so I think I’ll wrap this up.
Before stopping, however, I do wish to encourage any and all readers to be good to those you love, especially on Valentine’s Day. After all, they might be the only ones who love you!