The science behind a VE Day Kiss

The science behind a VE Day Kiss

To recreate the extraordinary celebratory spirit of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) 70 years ago, The Royal British Legion is asking the nation to #KissforVEDay. A whole host of famous faces have already got involved, proffering thier lips to mark the unique generation who gave so much. 

But what's behind all this kissing? The Legion have asked Judi James, one of the UK’s leading body language experts, to explain why the kiss played such an important part in the euphoric atmosphere of VE Day on May 8th 1945.

"The celebratory kiss was performed en-masse on VE Day as a spontaneous response to good news" says Judi. "This kind of reaction is  something we still see performed today, for example by footballers in particular when they have scored a goal."

"During the celebratory kiss, the huge rush of adrenalin causes us to drop certain social barriers and immerse ourselves in group thinking or group behaviour" says Judi."This burst of confidence also prompts the ‘lip-kiss’ – which is by far the most un-British. Our social reserve vanishes because we know at that moment everyone is thinking the same and everyone is happy."

So what about if you're planning on or find yourself puckering up on the big anniversary day? Judi has some top tips for that too:

  •  If you plan to #KissforVEDay, the cheek-kiss could be the easiest to use as your ‘base kiss’. The celebrities who got involved in the event including Darcey Bussell, Hermione Norris, Susanna Reid, Charley Boorman and Bear Grylls all used this for their #KissforVEDay
  • Always go in with an ‘Announcement Gesture’. So subtly offer your cheek from a distance of about two feet or more and hold your hands up lightly in the air at just below shoulder height, and parted to about shoulder width. If the other person freezes or turns away then turn the hand gesture into an ‘Empty Embrace’, miming the hug before dropping your hands and smiling.
  • If your cheek kiss offer has been accepted, use your hands to lightly touch the other person on the shoulders. They should do the same thing. You won't actually be touching each other so you can lean the tops of your torsos into the ‘hug’. If you know the person well you can go for the full body hug but this might be a bit too strong for social acquaintances or even strangers.
  • You should kiss right cheek to right cheek first. Brush the cheek with your face if you want, but actual pressing together is only really for more intimate relationships. The same goes for actually pressing your lips against their cheek. Then do left cheek to left cheek, pull your faces back a bit and use eye contact and smile or even laugh before you drop your hands and part.

You can join in the fun by sharing your photos of smooching on social media and tagging #KissforVEDay. All the #KissforVEDay pictures will feature on, which also contains recollections from the original day.

  • There's more news in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.