In various media, characters kissing someone's hand is used sometimes for romance, and other times to show humility. Sometimes, though, it's not the hand they kiss, but they aim much lower ...no, they don't stop there! Get your mind out of the gutter!
They kiss the foot.
While kissing hands can mean romance or humility, kissing feet can mean many different things. It often means an even greater humility than hand-kissing, or can be used to show submission ("now you have to kiss my feet!") or devotion. Less often, it is used romantically. In period settings, kissing the hem of a woman's gown is a common substitution.
Even when it's not meant to be... romantic, some people see it that way. Not to be confused with It Tastes Like Feet, although Ross Geller might claim that there's some overlap.
Given the rather blatant religious symbolism in that series, the aforementioned massage can be interpreted in a number of ways.
Akio in Revolutionary Girl Utena is a master of foot kissing, and memorably does it to Mrs. Ohtori. Of course, the entire thing is a mind game, so the whole "submissive" thing is more or less reversed.
In Kunihiko Ikuhara's other series Mawaru-Penguindrum, the second OP has a scene where Yuri swings her foot and it looks she'll get this from Tabuki. There's a subversion, though. we see him kiss a little girl's foot instead of Yuri's. (Said little girl is Momoka, Tabuki and Yuri's deceased childhood friend/love)
Since he has a foot fetish (among many others), Hideo Aiba from Sundome kisses KurumiSahana's feet several times.
A bratty student in Great Teacher Onizuka has a teacher waiting on her hand and foot, but when she tries to blackmail Onizuka into licking her toes as well he just responds by removing one of his (incredibly stinky) socks and telling her to do it first.
In Maria†Holic, Mariya has Shizu kiss his foot because of a technicality of Kanokon discovering Shizu's gender and Mariya trying to use that to his advantage.
Used in Anatolia Story, when Urhi and Nakia use Rusafa to kidnap Yuri. Rusafa has a not-so-secret love for Yuri, and then Urhi leaves, saying Rusafa can finally do whatever he wants to her. Instead of doing something one might expect after everything else so far in the series, Rusafa just kisses Yuri's feet over and over.
In Episode 2 of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Beatrice demands that Kanon and later Battler kiss her feet to signify their surrender and total submission to her.
In chapter 91 of Code:Breaker, the main character Ogami defeats his self-proclaimed nemesis Haruto the Mercenary. After knocking him to the floor, Ogami steps on his face and says that he is "purchasing him", and demands that he lick and kiss his shoes and feet. Though he later reveals that it was all an act, to try and get Haruto to repent.
Used when X-Men member Chamber is forced to kiss the boot of a bully at the school where he was operating under cover. Having no mouth, Chamber instead spent the time down there tying the bully's shoes together.
The cover of a Superman issue has him being forced to kiss her feet.
The titular heroine in Great Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) tickle-tortures Peter O'Toole's character (who is tied up at her feet) with her toes, and then makes him kiss her bare foot.
The Butler in Mr. Deeds.
The producer in Barton Fink tries to make his assistant kiss Fink's feet, but when the confused assistant fails to do so, he does it himself. Which makes the Downer Ending even more of a downer.
Used sort of in Batman (1989). While being forced up the steps of Gotham Cathedral by the Joker, Vicki Vale falls and loses one of her shoes. The Joker then picks the shoe up, kisses it suggestively, and throws it over the side of the bannister.
Used in the indian movie Mohabbatein: Raj points out that touching someone's feet should be done out of respect, but most students in the school do this to the principal out of fear. Then at the end of the movie, when the principal announces that he's going to step down and leave Raj in charge of the school, Raj does touch his feet. It's all very dramatic.
Most Bollywood movies have an example of this since touching your elder's feet is a traditional sign of respect in India.
An instance between Kirill and Nikolai occurs very briefly in Eastern Promises. It's because Kirill's ridiculously drunk, though, and crushing on him to boot. Given how uncoordinated he is, it's more like falling on his shoes, too.
In Baazigar, Villain Protagonist Ajay kisses the feet of girlfriend Seema, the daughter of his nemesis Chopra before pushing her to her death.
In Local Hero Danny Olsen meets Marina on the beach - during some tenuous flirtation he starts to kiss her foot (as she's in a full-body wetsuit, it's about the only exposed skin) and discovers with some surprise that she has webbed toes.
In Howard Stern's autobiographical film/book "Private Parts," Howard kisses his co-host, Robin Quivers' foot as part of an attempt to get her back on his radio show.
From Russia with Love - Red Grant is enough of a psycho sadist that merely killing Bond wouldn't be enough:
The first shot won't kill you. Neither will the second, nor the third...not until you crawl over here and kiss my foot!
In The Lion King, when Pumbaa finds out that Simba is the king, he starts groveling in this manner, trying to kiss Simba's paws.
In Malcolm X, Malcolm makes his white girlfriend do this, showing that he has some measure of control over her.
After undergoing the Ludovich technique, Alex from A Clockwork Orange is forced on stage into a series of humiliating situations to prove that he's been "reformed" — the first of which ends with him licking a bully's shoes in an attempt to stop him from further beating him up, since he can't fight back without becoming nauseous.
In the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum, Igor describes the Old Count as "a gentleman, whose boots I was not fit to lick clean", before adding that, nonetheless, he did.
In A Song of Ice and Fire: There are numerous mentions of bare feet in many, many chapters (including males, but especially Sansa, Arya, and Daenerys). Daenerys in particular ends up getting her bare feet kissed numerous times, often while astride a horse.
The Death Eaters do this with Voldemort, specifically upon his return in the Little Hangleton Graveyard.
A variant in Andre Norton's historical novel Shadow Hawk: the hero Rahotep, at an audience with Pharaoh Kamose, was about to kiss the ground in front of the ruler's feet in accordance with protocol. But Kamose slid a foot forward, granting Rahotep the special honor of touching the royal person. Particularly impressive to the witnesses as the hero had just recently been under suspicion of treason.
You want to know why The Bible makes such a big deal about Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles? Just like the modern Arabs, Hebrews regarded feet as particularly loathsome, and foot-washing was the closest one could get to foot-kissing without debasing oneself. That Jesus would wash somebody else's feet was a mark of exceptional humility for someone claiming to be a Messianic Archetype and the rightful King of the Jews.
Mentioned several times in Lois Mcmaster Bujold's Chalion universe, especially in The Curse of Chalion. Normal respectful greetings involve kissing the back of a person's hands. When it's a high superiornote or someone you owe big one add their feet as well.
In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Percy kisses every step that his estranged wife has taken, showing that despite their problems, he is still desperately in love with her.
In the second Circle Opens book, Evvy kisses the foot of Lady Zenadia (the Big Bad of the book) after she's been kidnapped and taken to the lady's home, but it's only part of her act to fool the lady into thinking she's grateful to be living with and working for her.
Live Action TV
Devoted husband Mack in Clocking Off kisses his unfaithful wife Catherine's foot in one episode.
In Ugly Betty, Bradford Mead had a foot fetish, which is how Wilhemina got her hooks into him.
An especially ugly example in the Cold Case episode "Who's Your Daddy?", in which a sleazy construction foreman blackmailed the wives of his illegal immigrant workers into providing sexual favors for him in exchange for not turning them in to the INS. He'd make them start out by licking his boots, presumably before forcing them to move. . .upward.
Rome. Atia's slave kisses her feet in gratitude after she says she won't geld him for a screw-up, though only because eunuchs aren't fashionable at the moment.
In an episode of Saturday Night Live featuring actor Zac Efron, one skit involved Efron's character going to his "brother" (played by Jason Sudeikis) for advice on how to act during an intimate date. Sudeikis begins giving Efron advice on how to give a foot massage, and as it progresses into odder and odder territory, Sudeikis begins demonstrating on Efron's bare foot - at one point, Sudeikis decided to stick as much of Efron's foot as possible into his mouth. This moment was unscripted, making Efron's look of horror as Sudeikis sucks his toes a genuine reaction.
Skillet's "My Obsession" mentioning kissing one's feet, more specifically Jesus, while proclaiming the singer's love for Him.
Gahan Wilson once drew a cartoon for The New Yorker which depicts a psychiatrist kissing his (male) patient's foot, while the patient growls "Doctor, this is not helping my messiah complex!"
Early on in his tenure in the WWF in 1987, Ted Di Biase paid a fan $100 to kiss his foot in the ring, as a way of showing that "everyone has a price, for the Million Dollar Man". The fan grew up to become Rob Van Dam.
After winning the King of the Ring competition, WWE superstar Booker T became "King Booker", an arrogantHeel who made other wrestlers kiss his foot, sometimes by force.
Jerry "The King" Lawler initiated a match against then-rival Bret Hart at King of the Ring '95, where the loser had to kiss the winner's foot. Lawler lost the match, and it was not pleasant for him, to say the least.
That was mentioned during Lawler's feud with Michael Cole leading to another Kiss My Foot Match at Over The Limit 2011 and Cole's Humiliation Conga.
And then there's Vince McMahon's much, much cruder version, "The Kiss My Ass Club".
Occasionally put into use on the independent circuit, notably by Davey Richards (who then will follow up with spitting in his opponent's face and/or kicking them in the head).
The king's a bawcock, and a heart of gold, A lad of life, an imp of fame; Of parents good, of fist most valiant. I kiss his dirty shoe, and from heart-string I love the lovely bully.
In RENT, when Maureen is attempting to make up with Joanne over the phone, she offers total submission:
"I'll kiss your doc martens; let me kiss your doc martens; your every wish I will obey!"
This lasts about a month and a half before Maureen gets bored of playing that role and goes back to playing herself in full-on diva mode.
Azure Dreams: Selfi, one of the potential romantic interests in the game, at one point suggests that you kneel down and worship her beautiful body, starting by kissing her foot.
In Umineko no Naku Koro ni Beatrice demands Battler, once he loses the game, to take off his clothes, kneel down and kiss her feet - as a sign of humiliation and submission. And he evetually does it, though the scene itself is not drectly shown in the novel. She also forces Kanon to do this, though without getting naked.
The creator of 1977: The Comic freely admits this is the reason why draws his female characters barefoot and often focuses on their feet.
In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Blue Falcon is demoted to restroom attendant. When Harvey Birdman comes by, Blue Falcon starts groveling, kissing Birdman's feet. Then he insists on being kicked and spat on, and takes it as an insult that Birdman declined.
Animaniacs: The Goodfeathers, Bobby, Pesto, and Squitt, all kiss the godpigeon's feet every time he appears.
This is frequent in many children's cartoons.
In Batman: The Animated Series episode "Fear of Victory", Scarecrow mentions using his Fear Toxin to bring the people of Gotham to their knees and in his own words "...Kissing my feet!"
Referred to in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Him Diddle Riddle." Blossom is using an abacus to determine when two trains will collide with each other (one of Him's riddles). When Buttercup sputters "Can't you abacus any faster?", Blossom replies "Aba-kiss my foot!"