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Anywhere but Their Lips
I'd like to be, not evil,
But a little worldly wise—
To be the kind of girl designed
To be kissed upon the eyes

Perhaps a kiss on the lips is too intimate (or not enough!) for the situation or maybe the writers just wanted to be unique. Regardless of the reason, there's one thing in common with these kisses — none are on the lips. See also I Kiss Your Hand and I Kiss Your Foot.

Some censors make this trope mandatory.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Sakura kissed Syaoran on the eye at one point (only natural, once you take CLAMP's eye fetish into account), and that's pretty much all they get as far as kisses go.
    • In CLAMP manga in general, it's actually far more common than not for couples/people with close relationships to express their affection in ways that are anything but kissing on the lips. 20+ manga series to their name and countless characters with pairings and potential pairings, and the number of times CLAMP has drawn a kiss scene totals to about 7. And notably, almost all of them have the scene obscured in some manner.
  • In Petite Princess Yucie, when Yucie first meets Arc, he kisses her on the forehead—not the best move, considering how self-conscious she is about it.
  • In one Ranma ˝ story in the manga, Ranma, Akane and Konatsu are taking care of Ukyo's food joint while she is ill. Customers are about to leave because, well, Akane is cooking, so Konatsu pulls a special ninja move and kisses all the customers so fast the cute kunoichi cannot be seen. Akane is appalled, since, well, Konatsu is a guy, but he reassures her: "Don't worry, I avoided any vital spots". And none of the customers has been kissed on the lips.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Dios kisses a young Utena on the eyes, kissing her tears away. Considering Dios is Akio, Akio's later full-on kiss becomes all the more significant.
  • Junichi Tachibana of Amagami has some... interesting ideas about exactly where to kiss first Haruka, then Kaoru. Though with Haruka it was a condition for getting the kiss at all.
  • Death Note: Misa kissed L on the cheek.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Underage cyborg girl Triela gives her older male handler Hilshire a peck on the cheek before taking part in the assault on the bell tower. Because he'd viewed their relationship as a (sometimes strained) surrogate father/daughter one, Hilshire is visibly surprised, unaware that she'd previously kissed him while he was passed out (on that occasion, the angle makes it unclear if she kissed her unconscious handler on the mouth or cheek).
  • Naruto employs this trope. Tsunade kisses Naruto on the forehead and as shown in the flashbacks, this is due to her doing the same thing to her litte brother and her boyfriend when they mention their dreams.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, this trope being employed causes the magical contracts to (mostly) fail, much to the dismay of characters who didn't want to kiss a 10 year old.
  • Vassalord plays this for major Fanservice, having Charley kiss and bite Johnny in all kinds of interesting places, but never on the lips. All the better to heighten the Ho Yay!
  • Hilariously done in Pandora Hearts. Oz is feeling down about recent events, so Alice kisses him on the cheek to cheer him up. Since she's only ever seen pictures of people kissing, she ends up biting him.
  • In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha the Hero kisses the Demon Queen in the forehead before leaving for the Demon Lands. She is dejected.
  • In Koi Kaze, Nanoka agrees to never meet Koshiro again - if he kisses her. He kisses her on the forehead, instead of the lips.

    Fan Works 
  • Followed perfectly straight despite two Almost Kiss moments in Relax, or at least initially, because the heroine feels that mouth kisses are too personal and intimate to be given to her clients. The story is a brief piece about a prostitute and a soldier whom regularly visits her. The trope is averted at the end after the protagonist's alloted time expires, meaning that he is no longer a client, and therefore they are spending time together as lovers. It also turns out to be his First Kiss. See for yourself.
  • In An Anthem For Sheltered Bays, after hearing Eren's singing, Levi ends up kissing and biting everywhere else on Eren's body, only for Eren to stop him when he tries to kiss him on the lips.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan's first kiss to Nomad is on her forehead.

    Film 
  • In the movie Pretty Woman, Vivian's one rule is that she never kisses on the mouth because it makes it too personal. She does kiss Richard Gere on the mouth when she starts to fall in love with him.
  • Similarly, in Louis Malle's Murmur's of the Heart, the prostitute refuses to kiss Laurent because kisses are only for her fiance.
  • In Bollywood, it was, until recently, the law. Even now, in contemporary Bollywood films, couples will kiss and... move very suggestively, but virtually never touch lips.
  • Footloose. Ariel wants to kiss Ren, and Ren burns her with, "I get the feeling you've been kissed a lot. I'm afraid I'd suffer by comparison." But after dating for awhile, and after she gets smacked around by her dad and ex-boyfriend, Ren finally kisses her when she asks him, "Think you might ever kiss me?"
  • Subverted in Humpday - they decide not to kiss after kissing each other and then decide not to do anything at all.
  • The French film Amélie uses this, despite there being no censorship or Pretty Woman scenario involved: Amelie kisses her beau on the eye, on the neck, and on the corner of the lip, but not actually on the lips. He does the same for her. The scene's very intimate, even with the lack of lip locking.
    • They do appear to lock lips in the next shot in a silhouette seen from the point of view of a neighbor, which then cuts to a Sexy Discretion Shot.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White kisses the dwarfs on the forehead. Dopey, however, always puckers up hoping she'll kiss him on the lips.
  • The musical "Not on the Lips" is the one of the most most obvious uses of this trope. The whole premise of the movie is that a man will not kiss his wife on the lips because it disgusts him.
  • In the teaser trailer for The Princess and the Frog, Tiana is reluctant to kiss frog Naveen on the lips, insisting there was nothing in the original story about it.
    • Explained and expanded upon in the actual movie - Tiana finds frogs disgusting and doesn't want to kiss any part of one.
  • The Boondock Saints. After giving him a Cool Down Hug one of the McManus brothers covers Rocco's mouth with his gloved hand, then kisses the back of his own palm.
  • Thor. The first time Thor leaves Jane he kisses the back of Jane's hand. The second occasion there's an Almost Kiss moment before Thor kisses her hand again, so Jane just grabs him for The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Sherlock Holmes. Holmes gives Irene Adler a peck on the forehead moments after they have an Almost Kiss in their final scene together. This fits with someone who's trying to show his affection without making the mistake of getting too close to a Femme Fatale.
  • John and his future sister-in-law share a New Year's kiss in Holiday. He only kisses her cheek, but they both look like they want something more.
  • In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, Charlotte insists on getting a goodnight kiss from her daughter before she goes to bed. Lolita gives her a dutiful kiss on the cheek, then gives a more flirtatious kiss on the cheek to Humbert.

    Literature 
  • Rather famously in Keats' "La Belle Dame sans Merci":
    She took me to her elfin grot,
    And there she wept and sighed full sore,
    And there I shut her wild wild eyes
    With kisses four.
  • The majority of the kisses Edward gives Bella in the Twilight series are on the jaw and neck.
  • In The Catcher in the Rye, Jane lets Holden kiss her all over her face, but never on her lips.
  • There's a point in Wedge's Gamble where Leia Organa kisses Wedge Antilles on the cheek. They're Platonic Life Partners / Like Brother and Sister, apparently. That didn't stop them from holding hands, talking about Wedge having kids, and the line "Things may have changed, Wedge, but not us". ...Wedge and all three members of the Big Three are very, subtextily close in those few pages they share, but although Luke hugs him for a long time and Han hangs out and ruffles his hair, only Leia kisses him.
  • In Protector of the Small, this happens from time to time to Keladry of Mindelan. Cleon kissed her eyelids after two of her sparrows died. At the end of Lady Knight her former teacher Lord Wyldon, who kept Moving the Goalposts for her earlier on, kissed her forehead as part of the ultimate expression of respect.
    • It's mentioned in the Trickster duology of the same universe that noble girls are encouraged to not have any but their betrothed kiss them, and if then, only on the forehead or fingertips to keep them from thinking their fiancee is unchaste. It's mostly ignored in the modern age.
  • The men Sayuri had been with in Memoirs of a Geisha would rarely (if not never) kiss her on the lips. Which is why the First Kiss she had with the Chairman was so important to her.
  • In The Dead Tossed Waves after Catcher gets infected he refuses to kiss Gabry on the lips.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera, Christine gives Erik a benevolent kiss on the forehead. And even that is enough to kill the poor guy.
  • Sir Percy's and Marguerite's passionate kissing scenes in The Scarlet Pimpernel sequels are always described as this.
  • In Les Misérables, Marius kisses Eponine on the forehead after she dies. Justified because, as the narrator explains, it was not him being disloyal to Cosette but taking pity on Eponine and fulfilling her last request.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Jaime Lannister remembers Tyrion telling him that many whores will "fuck you blind" but will refuse to kiss.
  • When Lolita gets something in her eye, Humbert tells her of a technique Swiss peasants use to remove it, by licking the eyeball. He then proceeds to do so. On both eyes. The 1997 film adaptation had this as a Deleted Scene.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Devoted, after Chloe confesses she still loves him deeply under the effect of a love potion, at the end of the episode Clark kisses her on the cheek and tells her that sadly, he does not return her feelings...at least not now.
    • Abyss, Clark kisses an unconscious Chloe on her forehead before he wiped her memories of his secret.
  • Done very often in Doctor Who, as both Ship Tease or a Just Friends moment.
  • "Uncle Pete" kisses his wife on the forehead in Damages.
  • Potentially squicky example - Jayne, from Firefly. "That's why I never kiss 'em on the mouth."
    • "That" being the girl potentially using a knock-out drug in her lipstick, just like Saffron used on Mal.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Body" Xander kisses Willow on the forehead. It makes sense, given that Willow and Xander are close friends, the kiss is one of comfort, and their significant others are both present.
    • Ironically, Willow and Tara had just shared their first onscreen (lesbian) kiss a few minutes earlier.
    • Faith kissed Buffy on the forehead during one of their fights in Season Three. Originally, it was going to be a kiss on the lips.
    • Willow is working herself up to ask ex-girlfriend Tara out for coffee and lesbian love when she sees her greet-and-kiss another girl. From her viewpoint it's difficult to see how intimate the kiss was, but she runs off anyway. Willow tries to tell herself she overreacted ("I kiss my friends all the time.") Tara later informs Willow they were in fact Just Friends.
    • Angelus kisses Spike on the forehead in "Innocence".
  • Angel. Combined with Rule Of Threes in "A Hole in the World". Wesley twice kisses Winifred on the forehead; as she's infected with a lethal demonic pathogen, it's only sensible to avoid swapping body fluids. As Fred is dying in his arms however, Wesley kisses her fully on the mouth because he no longer cares what happens to him.
  • Battlestar Galactica. One of the Viper pilots (not Lee) drinks booze from Starbuck's belly button during a drunken revelry.
  • Hannah Montana is a bit schizophrenic on whether it's a no hugging/no kissing show or not (Miley kisses usually get shown, Oliver and Lilly's never do) but they had one intriguing use of this trope when a vegetarian girl Oliver was dating kisses him on a meat-stained cheek to show that she forgave him for eating meat, as long as he didn't lie to her about having done it.
    • Lampshaded in the series finale, when, each time Miley & her boyfriend, and Lilly & Oliver lean in to kiss, something obscures each couple from the lean-in to the lean-back.
  • In the season 9 premiere of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, after Goren is fired, he and Eames are saying goodbye as partners for the last time. They full-on embrace for the first time in the series, and Goren presses a rather intense kiss to her cheek for several seconds.
  • The X-Files was a repeat offender of this trope: over nine seasons, there were only four on-screen kisses between Mulder and Scully, and one of them wasn't real. They do, however, share many kisses on the forehead, the neck, the cheek, and the hand.
  • Once Brian and Justin get together in Queer as Folk, they lay down some groundrules to be able to keep sleeping around without hurting one another - not kissing anyone else on the lips is one of these.
  • The Space: Above and Beyond episode "R&R", the virginal Cooper goes to a prostitute, who invokes this trope:
    COOPER: Why?
    SUZY: Gotta save something for the man I fall in love with.
  • "Heartland" (a 1990's Australian series staring Ernie Dingo as an Aboriginal cop). The white female lead character finds that everyone in the hometown of Dingo's character assumes she's his girlfriend and says quietly, "If you wanted me to play a role — like your lover — you just had to ask." Dingo's respond is to gently kiss her wrist.
  • Pushing Daisies: In the pilot, Ned is deciding where to touch Chuck to bring her back from the dead. The narration says, "On the lips? No, too forward." (He decides on her cheek.)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. T'Pol gives Trip Tucker a kiss on the cheek as she leaves to take part in her Arranged Marriage to another Vulcan.
  • This is prevalent with the Official Couple in the Korean Series Pasta.
  • Typhoid Mary insisted on this in her episode of Brimstone, for good reason.
  • When Barbara Havers (of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), the titular Inspector Lynley's partner, is held hostage at gunpoint on her first case back after being shot in the stomach the previous episode, she first tries to use the perp as a punching bag and then falls apart and sobs hysterically into Lynley's chest - and he very, very plainly kisses the top of her head as he holds her close. Obviously, it's one of the first scenes fans point to when they make their case for the fact that Barbara and Lynley are clearly in love with each other, even if they haven't acknowledged it.
  • The Addams Family: Gomez frequently does this to Morticia, even kissing her hair at one point.
  • Inverted in one case on Friends where Ross's aunt only kisses him on the lips, much to his horror and disgust.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Emma inadvertently breaks her son Henry's sleeping curse (as well as the town's larger curse) by kissing him on the forehead, which worked as a True Love's Kiss.
  • Game of Thrones. Margaery Tyrell sneaks into the bedroom of Tommen Lannister soon to be made king after King Joffrey is assassinated. Given that Tommen is still in his early teens, an overtly seductive approach might well backfire. So when it's time to leave she leans forward to kiss Tommen on the lips, but decides that a sisterly one on the forehead will work better.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Made into a joke during one of Paige's Dream Sequences in Foxtrot. As it turns out, the "kisses" are wherever she's being nibbled by Jason's pet iguana.

    Theater 
  • In The Fantasticks, Luisa sings about wishing to be the kind of girl designed to be kissed upon the eyes.
  • Shakespeare 4 Kidz' production of Romeo and Juliet had to be heavily Bowdlerised, one of the symptoms of which was this trope. Even more so when you realize that other companies often include a sex scene.
  • In Dead End, Francey implores Martin not to kiss her on the lips for his own good, because she has a sore.

     Video Games 
  • Heavy Rain has one moment where Lauren (a prostitute) says "I don't kiss, and I don't do any weird shit". Presumably she's referring to this trope, making it more significant when she kisses Shelby.
  • Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros. has kissed Mario on the cheek, nose, forehead, and ear, but never on the lips.

    Web Comics 
  • Bob from Emergency Exit turns into a demon when kissed by a girl on the lips. His girlfriend encourages him to get creative.
  • Sabrina Online: When giving ZigZag a promised kiss, Sabrina refuses to smooch her on the lips.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • People with severe food intolerances, particularly a life-threatening peanut allergy, put their health (or in some cases, lives) at risk when they kiss people who have been consuming the food they are intolerant/allergic to. Hence, they have to avoid kissing on the lips and aim for a part of the face that did not come into contact with the food.

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