When you’re feeling down, there’s nothing like a kiss on the lips to lift your spirits, but not everyone has a consenting lip-lock partner nearby. According to one manga, though, you don’t even need another person, because there’s a trick that’ll let you make out with your own forearm.
But is this one-person romantic gesture a viable substitute for actual companionship, or more pervy manga snake oil? We decided to investigate.
Given that it’s written and drawn by a man, manga creator Torajiro Kishi, we’re not sure how true-to-life the currently running manga Otome no Teikoku (“Empire of the Maidens”) is in its depiction of same-sex romance at an all-girls high school. Still, the comic has attracted enough supporters to currently be in its sixth year of serialization, having moved from its original home in the pages of publisher Shueisha’s now-defunct Business Jump anthology to the company’s Grand Jump manga-hosting web site.
In a recent chapter of Otome no Teikoku, Nao, one of the members of the manga’s cast of sexually curious young ladies, told her classmates that they could simulate the feeling of a kiss by bunching up the skin on the inner side of their forearm and using the created folds in place of a lover’s mouth for a lip-to-lip kiss.
▼ Like so
This got the Japanese Internet buzzing in no time.
“He-hey, I’d never do something like that (smooch)!”
“You know, it does feel similar to a kiss. Similar to one.”
“Oh wow, now it’s got me thinking of my boyfriend and feeling all frisky.”
Of course, individual results may vary. Certain slender experimenters reported trouble producing sufficiently sized folds with their skin. For others, the problem was that the effect was too realistic, and males with hairy forearms found themselves suddenly in the awkward position of feeling like they were kissing a man with a mustache. And then there were those who found the whole proposition of making a romantic gesture to their forearm a little soul-draining.
“I want to give it a try, but I’m worried I’ll lose an important part of my humanity.”
“Okay, I’ve done it, and now I’m feeling depressed.”
Still, we figured we should test the technique out for ourselves, and my boss, a newlywed, volunteered to go first. Judging from his reaction, though, his wife doesn’t have to worry about him fooling around with his arm while he’s got it stretched around her back. Still, he held that the technique actually does produce something like the sensation as a kiss, saying, “It felt like a pair of dry lips!”
Wanting a second opinion, he asked me to try the experiment too (thankfully using my own arm, not his). Maybe we just have different qualities of skin, but in my case, a bigger issue than the dryness was the fact that the resulting “lips” on my forearm felt quite a bit firmer and thinner than what I’d expect from a real kiss.
But the biggest problem with Otome no Teikoku’s suggestion is that if you’ve recently showered, you’re liable to end up tasting soap, and while your pseudo-kiss will smell nice, it won’t necessarily taste very good. If you’re keen to try this at home, I’d recommend first basting your arm with some maple syrup or barbecue sauce, or maybe pre-treating the area with a rub of crumbled up cookies.
Or maybe, you know, just wait until you find an actual person to kiss.