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9 Kissing Customs From Around the World in Honor of International Kissing Day

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In North America and other westernized civilizations, we tend to put kissing on a puckered-up pedestal. As well we should: the practice, while strange if you think about it too much, burns calories; has been shown to help you live longer; helps people size up potential mates; and probably landed Titanic at least a few of its 11 Oscars. But while we’re celebrating the passionate mouth-to-mouth style we know and love (like, really love: research has found the average person spends approximately 20,160 minutes of his or her life kissing) on this International Kissing Day, elsewhere in the world, kissing looks and feels a whole lot different (if it’s practiced at all).

1. ESKIMO KISSES

There’s more to what is known as “Eskimo kissing” than meets the eye—or nose, in this case. In addition to the rubbing together of noses (a way to show affection in Arctic temperatures without exposing one’s mouth to the harsh elements, some say), the practice common among the Inuit tribes of Alaska and Canada also involves inhaling the scent of the other person’s face. Similar customs can be found in Maori tribes in New Zealand and around the Pacific.

2. FRENCH KISSING

Fans of enthusiastic make-out sessions have the French to thank for their passionate pastime. Tongue kissing is thought to have been brought back to the U.S. following World War I when returning soldiers greeted their girlfriends and wives with kisses like the ones they’d seen overseas between the less prudish Europeans. Despite France getting credit for the slobbery style, the French word for kissing with tongue, galocher, wasn’t officially added to their dictionaries until 2014.

3. KISSING ON THE CHEEKS

Depending on the region, a typical kiss on the cheek can come in sets of one, two, or three. In Switzerland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and elsewhere, a casual greeting involves three pecks on alternating cheeks (right, left, right). In Italy and France, friendly hellos involve only two kisses, one on each cheek. In some middle eastern countries, cheek kisses are limited to people of the same gender as men and women kissing in public is considered inappropriate.

4. KISSING AT MIDNIGHT

Getting a smooch at midnight is as much a part of New Year’s Eve as Champagne flutes and glittery cardboard crowns. The tradition is likely rooted in English and German folklore, according to USA Today. People believed the first person you came across in the new year could determine how the new year would go, so seeking out a lip-lock with someone you presumably already liked in the new year’s first moments soon seemed like a smart way to stack the deck in one’s favor.

5. NO KISSING

For all their fanfare in Spin the Bottle games and Nicholas Sparks movies, romantic mouth-on-mouth kisses are not actually the universal human expression of love many believe them to be. Anthropologists at the University of Nevada published research last year that found that more than half of the 168 diverse cultures they studied around the world did not take part in romantic kissing as a way of getting in the mood at all. Instead, other intimate gestures like sniffing each other’s cheeks and necks, passing open mouths past each other, and exchanging of breath are common in some sub-Saharan tribes and communities along the equator.

6. HAND KISSING

The rules when it comes to a proper hand kiss are a little complicated. The act can be traced to ancient Greece and Rome, and subsequently the Middle Ages, when a subordinate kissed his lord’s hand as a sign of respect. It then evolved into a display of gallantry between gentlemen and ladies, and though its popularity has seriously waned over the years, hand kissing remains an old school but in-use salutation in places like England and Germany. Etiquette dictates men are not to kiss a lady’s palm, or an unmarried girl’s hand, or the hand of a gloved woman.

7. KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE

When you take a step back and consider that mistletoe is actually a semi-parasitic plant that sucks the life and nutrients from other plants, the idea that we use it to prompt holiday kisses seems bizarre. But then again, the most common historic explanation for why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmastime is pretty bizarre, too. Scandinavian legend has it that Baldur, the god of spring and light, feared that bad dreams meant his life was in danger. So Baldur's mother, Frigg, circled the world asking each tree, stretch of sand, and animal not to hurt him.

Unfortunately for mother and son, she totally forgot to run it by the mistletoe plant and, what do you know, Baldur died after being pierced with mistletoe. Frigg would never underestimate mistletoe again—and neither would the thousands of uncomfortable coworkers who would find themselves under the hanging plant at their office Christmas party in the centuries to come. Frigg's tears became the berries on the plant, and her wish became that "mistletoe would never again be used as a weapon and that she would place a kiss on anyone who passed under it."

8. ODDLY ILLEGAL KISSING

Even in the U.S. where kissing is king, some parts of the country seem to have some strangely specific legalities when it comes to tonsil hockey. For instance, in Indiana, it’s technically illegal for a man to have a mustache if he "has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans." Kissing a sleeping woman is forbidden by law in Colorado, and in Alexandria, Minnesota, it's against the law for a man to get busy with his wife if his breath smells of onion, garlic, or sardines. Guess your mustache-having, soporific, bad-breathed friend is out of luck on his next road trip.

9. KISSING THE GROUND

Kissing the ground someone has walked on is seen as sign of respect in some places in the world, like Africa. And of course, there's the idea of being so happy to be somewhere—say, back home, or back on dry land—that you literally kiss the ground out of gratitude. The custom may seem a little gross, but then again, so is the other kind of kissing—a full-on tongue kiss has been shown to spread more than 80 million new bacteria from kisser to kissee. How romantic.

All images via Getty.

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Food
It's National Pizza Day! Here Are the Chains Offering the Best Deals
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Pizza comes about as close to perfection as food can get. Now, in honor of National Pizza Day—which is today, February 9—some fine purveyors of the cheesy delicacy have made it even more irresistible. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate this glorious holiday, these are the restaurants giving away their pizza at discounted costs or at no cost at all.

At Round Table Pizza, a pizza chain in the western U.S., getting a free cheese or pepperoni personal pizza all to yourself is easy. Just order a Pepsi beverage from one of their stores between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m on Friday. Pilot Flying J, a national truck stop chain that sells pizza, is giving away slices now through February 10 to any customer who downloads their myPilot app and redeems the digital coupon. Downloading the app from Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza will get you a buy-one-get-one-free pizza deal all the way up until February 13 when you use their digital code. Chuck E. Cheese's is also going the buy-one-get-one route: Buy any large pizza there and get a free large thin-crust pepperoni pizza at no additional charge.

While nothing beats free pizza, discounted pizza is also abundant on National Pizza Day. Pizza Hut, the largest pizza chain in the U.S., is reducing all menu-priced pizzas by 30 percent for Hut Rewards members. Their biggest competitor, Domino’s, is offering a special that lets customers buy any two items from a list of goodies like wings, pizza, and cheesy bread for $5.99 total. At Papa John’s, they're celebrating Pizza Day for an entire month: Through March 5, you can order their Dual Layer Pepperoni Pizza for $12.

And if you’re a pizza lover who prefers your local by-the-slice joint to national chains, you still have options. Slice, a delivery app that connects customers to local pizzerias, will take $5 off orders of $10 or more when you enter the code “PIZZADAY.” If you can’t find your favorite spot that way, you can always give them a call and ask if they’re doing anything special to mark the big day.

[h/t Today]

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Smart Shopping
25 Dapper Outfit Choices for Fashionable Pets
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Lavishing your furry friends with adorable attire is a benefit of pet ownership that they don't mention on the adoption forms. Whether you prefer practical clothing like sweaters and jackets or statement pieces like bow ties and tutus, these dapper duds are perfect for a howl-iday or "gotcha day" gift, or simply for saying, "Who's the cutest little pupper in pajamas? You are!"

1. CASHMERE DOG SWEATER; FROM $165

dog in sweater
Canine Styles

This classic cable-knit cashmere sweater is a sophisticated look for Fido or Finn. Get it from Canine Styles, a luxury dog emporium in New York City that has plenty of posh and preppy outfits.

Find It: Canine Styles

2. TOGGLE DOG COAT; $85

dog in coat
Canine Styles

This toggle coat (available in orange, navy, and tan) is as fashionable as it is warm. Made of Melton wool, it has Velcro closures to make getting dressed easy. It's great for long walks in the country.

Find It: Canine Styles

3. DOG TUXEDO; FROM $90

Dog in tuxedo
Etsy

This satin tuxedo is perfect for the canine members of your wedding party, though it will brighten up any other occasion as well. The custom, handmade outfit comes complete with a snappy bow tie.

Find It: Etsy

4. DOG BELLE DRESS; FROM $45

Dog Belle Dress
Etsy

The queen of your castle can feel like a Disney princess in her very own version of Belle's iconic yellow dress from Beauty and the Beast. This ball gown is made from yellow crepe satin with chiffon overlay on the bodice and features hand-painted gold detailing on the skirt. Enchanted rose not included.

Find It: Etsy

5. POODLE SKIRT OUTFIT FOR DOGS; $26

Rubies Pink Fifties Girl Pet Costume
Amazon

What if you could buy a 1950s poodle skirt for your poodle? This retro dress is comprised of a pink poodle skirt, striped bodice, and sequined belt, and comes with a bow headband.

Find It: Amazon

6. RIBBED CROCHET BUNNY SWEATER; $25

bunny in a sweater
Etsy

Your snuggle-bunny will look like a little fancy-pants in this ribbed crochet sweater. Choose from seven colors, including this dashing deep red.

Find It: Etsy

7. BESPOKE MONOGRAM DOG SWEATER; FROM $155

Dog in sweater
Ruby Rufus

Bespoke clothing isn't just for humans: British luxury dog clothing brand Ruby Rufus will make your pooch a custom monogram sweater made with 100 percent Italian cashmere. You can even order it in your dog's favorite color.

Find It: Ruby Rufus

8. HOT PINK DOG TUTU; $17

Dog in hot pink tutu
Etsy

Tutus look absolutely adorable on tiny humans and animals alike. If your pooch wants to get in touch with its inner ballerina, then grab this hot pink number from Etsy. Rave reviews are a sure thing.

Find It: Etsy

9. PINK DOG POLO SHIRT; $35

Dog Pink Polo Shirt
Canine Styles

This pink polo shirt is perfect for your preppy fur baby. It features not one but a veritable multitude of crocodiles. They'll be the most dapper dog at the country club.

Find It: Canine Styles

10. DOG BARN COAT WITH BROWN CORDUROY COLLAR; $85

Dog in barn coat
Canine Styles

When it's time for a walk, your dog will look effortlessly chic in this fancy barn coat. It comes in navy, cranberry, orange, hot pink, and loden and features convenient pockets for anyone with opposable thumbs.

Find It: Canine Styles

11. WHITE PET NECK RUFF; $26

Pet Neck Ruff
Etsy

Your canine or kitty will look like their painting belongs in London's National Portrait Gallery with this Elizabethan neck ruff.

Find It: Etsy

12. CHICKEN SWEATER; $25

chicken wearing sweater
Etsy

Chickens can get cold when they're strutting around outside. A sweater (well, more like sweater vest) for your bird can also help prevent feather picking during molting season. Or, it can simply keep them warm while they stare pensively across a snowy landscape.

Find It: Etsy

13. PET CIRCLE SCARF; $15

dog in scarf
Etsy

An infinity scarf is a perfect burst of color on a dreary early morning walk. The proprietor of Mitten Made on Etsy originally designed this wool snood for her miniature Dachshund to help keep her warm during the long, cold winters in Michigan.

Find It: Etsy

14. FAB DOG TRAVEL RAINCOAT; FROM $18

Fab Dog Travel Raincoat
Chewy

This timeless yellow rain slicker will look great on any puppy when it's raining cats and dogs. It's made of 100 percent waterproof nylon shell that keeps fur dry. Bonus: It's perfect for an It Halloween costume.

Find It: Chewy

15. LACE CAT OR DOG COLLAR; FROM $10

cat in lace collar
Etsy

This handmade, white lace collar is a must-have for fancy felines. It's also embellished with a large rhinestone.

Find It: Etsy

16. FITWARM PENGUIN PAJAMAS FOR DOGS; FROM $10

Fitwarm Cute Penguin Xmas Dog Pajamas
Amazon

Keep your pupper warm on cold winter nights with these penguin PJs. They're great for doggie sleepovers or lazy weekends on the couch watching Netflix.

Find It: Amazon

17. PLAID CASHMERE DOG COAT; FROM $225

dog in plaid coat
Canine Styles

Your dog will look like a proper gentleman in this smart plaid peacoat. This fine garment is made of cashmere with a faux fur lining and leather buttons, and is a perfect shield against chill and fog.

Find It: Canine Styles

18. SATIN PET BOW TIE; FROM $8

Satin Bow Tie for Dog
Etsy

This satin doggie bow tie is perfect for any occasion. It comes in several colors and features a Velcro fastener that makes it easy to attach to a collar. Plus, 10 percent of every sale goes to charity: specifically to SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

Find It: Etsy

19. RED DOG DRESS; FROM $34

dog in dress
Etsy

Your good boy or girl will look red carpet-ready in this elegant gown. The voluminous tulle skirt is to die for, and each bow is embellished with beads. Custom orders are also available.

Find It: Etsy

20. DOG TIE; FROM $13

Dog tie
Etsy

Your pooch will be ready to stun at any black tie event. This tie is designed like a collar, making it easy to dress your four-legged friend. This Etsy store gives back: 10 perfect of all sales are donated to an animal protection association.

Find It: Etsy

21. NAUTICAL DOG DRESS WITH MATCHING LEASH; $20

Dog sailor dress
BaxterBoo

Perfect for a day on the town or setting sail in a schooner, this is the sailor outfit you never knew your best furry friend needed. This vintage throwback also comes with a matching leash.

Find It: BaxterBoo

22. TARTAN FLANNEL PET BOW TIE; $5.50

tartan pet bow tie
Etsy

Your dog or cat will turn heads in this flannel tartan bow tie. It has a convenient elastic loop that slides over your pup's collar.

Find It: Etsy

23. PUCCI DOG SHIRT; $23

dog in Pucci dog shirt
Etsy

Only the fanciest dogs wear, err, Pucci. Grab this punny "designer" t-shirt for your pup. This high-quality cotton statement piece is perfect for small breeds.

Find It: Etsy

24. PINK POLKA DOT AND LACE DOG HARNESS DRESS; $20

Pink Polka Dot and Lace Designer Dog Harness Dress
BaxterBoo

This feminine pink polka dot dress is simply adorable. It features a convenient built-in harness and comes with a matching leash.

Find It: BaxterBoo

25. PET SWEATER VEST; $6

pet sweater vest
Amazon

Your dog or cat will look like an erudite Oxford professor in this sweater vest. Note that the button on the pocket is shaped like a bone.

Find It: Amazon

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