Has the ‘Midnight Kiss’ Survived the Pandemic and Other Dangers?

Bradley Haworth, a barista in Los Angeles, takes the opposite view. He said the tradition of a New Year’s kiss is something he’s always taken part in, even when it’s required putting aside his COVID-19 caution over the past two years.

“It’s an age-old tradition, isn’t it?” Haworth, 29, said. “It’s like a thing where you’re kind of born and you know that’s what you’re supposed to do when the clock strikes 12.”

Visitors from Spain kiss as they party in Times Square in New York just after midnight on January 1, 2022.

Visitors from Spain kiss as they party in Times Square in New York just after midnight on January 1, 2022.Credit:AP

But impromptu kisses run the risk of sending mixed signals if feelings aren’t reciprocated. A few years ago, while living in Seattle, Haworth and friends threw a New Year’s Eve party where he ended up kissing a man who had a crush on him. He said he didn’t feel that way, which became a “problem” for the rest of the night.

Ron Turner, 38, who has been a Los Angeles DJ for about 15 years, said the midnight kiss isn’t particularly popular with singles. One possible explanation: the lack of slow dance and love songs played in clubs.

“It’s like physical romance has gone down overall when it comes to parties,” he said.

He also pointed to an increased awareness of sexual harassment and assault.


“I think a lot of men play it safe,” Turner said, adding that many “won’t even try” without express consent.

As for Carter, who hosts the web series Hopeless Romantic Society, which features street interviews where he talks to passers-by about their love lives, he believes social media makes it difficult to be spontaneous when there’s a chance you’ll be picked up. The dating app culture has also fueled a sense of dread of approaching a stranger in person for many users as they have grown accustomed to the idea of ​​connecting with a potential partner without having to leave their homes.

“So it can be a little more difficult to be there in person and open up to opportunities like that,” Carter said.

A kiss at midnight is of course preferably a personal activity. An earlier recorded reference to this tradition was in an 1863 article in The New York Times about New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city, especially among German immigrants, some of whom “threw themselves into each other’s arms” and exchanged “hearty kisses”.

By the mid-20th century, the tradition had merged with pop culture and became common in films and television shows. Despite its popularity, it has not always been adopted. In a 1970 essay in new York Magazine, Jane O’Reilly comically recalled a party where she witnessed the end of “at least three marriages.”

“The sudden realization that they should kiss and wish their obnoxious buddies a sincere happy new year was too much for people,” she wrote.

George Adjei-Piasare, 18, said he got his first New Year’s kiss at a party last year, something he’d wanted ever since he found out about the tradition via Disney Channel. He hopes it will happen again this year.

“We just talked all night, and then New Year’s Eve came,” he said. Because people were already paired before midnight, “it just happened.”

Turner, the DJ who wanted to throw his own party in Hollywood, said he doesn’t really take the New Year’s Kiss tradition into account when creating a setlist, but he plans to play a few slow jams in the last few minutes of the night to set the mood to determine.

A couple kiss while attending a concert during New Year celebrations in Bucharest, Romania, December 31, 2021.

A couple kiss while attending a concert during New Year celebrations in Bucharest, Romania, December 31, 2021.Credit:AP

“I feel like because there’s so much alcohol involved and everyone wants to start the year off right, I’ve seen quite a few singles actually connect before the end of the night” and then have a kiss at that point, he said. “But it doesn’t always happen at midnight.”

Haworth planned to celebrate at a house party with his roommates in Los Angeles. He said he expects many people to attend the tradition to ensure a good year ahead.

“It’s like Christmas without presents,” he said. “I can’t imagine a new year coming without that being burned into tradition.”

The New York Times

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/has-the-midnight-kiss-survived-the-pandemic-and-other-dangers-20230101-p5c9pv.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Has the ‘Midnight Kiss’ Survived the Pandemic and Other Dangers?

Callan Tansill

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