The curse of Britain’s oldest person has struck again. It seems that everyone who achieves this accolade passes on within a matter of months. So I was sad, but unsurprised, to read that 113 year-old Grace Jones died last week. And I’d advise the new possessor of this poisoned chalice, Ethel Lang, to keep her wits about her. Let’s not lose another one folks!
But with Grace we also lost the last UK citizen born in the 1800s (born 7th December 1899). There are now only five people on this planet, who first saw the light of day in the 19th Century (technically 1900 is part of that century, but we all know in our hearts that it doesn’t count). Which means there are dwindling opportunities to achieve something which I am halfway to doing.
The women on my mother’s side of the family live for a long time. My Grandma made it to 102 and at least two of her aunties also got the telegram from the Queen. My Great, Great Aunty Eva was born in the 1870s and I met her a few times. One occasion was particularly memorable.
I was about five and we went to her flat to celebrate her birthday. She was a feisty though unsurprisingly wrinkly and slightly hairy 90-something and I was understandably terrified when Eva grabbed my face, squeezed my cheeks and kissed me bang on the lips.
We were a peck on the cheek kind of family and whilst I understand that many people feel that lip to lip contact amongst relatives is perfectly acceptable, I am afraid that you are all wrong and also weirdo, incestuous perverts.
Of course, Eva was merely expressing
her love for the cute little ragamuffin, some ninety years her junior, who
would live to see things of which she could never dream. But that’s still a
Helluva first kiss.
And now I have got over the shock (just about) I realise that I have been kissed on the lips by someone from the 19th Century. She was kissing lips when Queen Victoria was still on the throne. Lips probably attached to a man in a top hat with an impressive handlebar moustache. What a baton has been passed to me.
I now see it as my duty to live until I am over 100 and to kiss some terrified young relation of mine square on the mouth, and thus straddle 200 years and three centuries with two kisses.
If you want to achieve a similar milestone and haven’t yet been kissed by someone from the 19th Century, then you'd better pull your finger out. And don't get complacent and think you can wait for the moment to present itself. You'll have to get proactive. If you wait any longer your only option might be to kiss a tortoise or a tree. And you don't want to look like a pervert.
I got my 19th Century person kissing in early and I'm glad. You aren't going to have half the choice I had and back in the seventies there were still a few 19th Century people who might even still be called sexy. You're going to just get the dregs now.
Before you think about getting all Burke and Hare on this, it only counts if the person is still alive.
Though if you can get an 113 year old to kiss a 5 year old now, they could span four centuries with two kisses, if that child kisses another 5 year old in 2101.
They’ll thank you when they’re old enough to understand. Almost certainly.