... particularly when it is a stage kiss.
My husband, in our 11 years of marriage, has had to witness me kissing at minimum 8 other men. Which is actually fairly low, for an actress of my age, but I am not exactly the ingenue type.
When we first got married he needed to know ALL the details of any kissing in a play. I would have to outline every move so that he would know what to expect. I learned this, and respected it. I tried to be completely upfront with him about EVERYTHING, so there would be no surprises when he came to see the show.
I ran into problems with this in our second year of marriage. I did a show where in one scene I had to take off a fair amount of my clothes, as well as a fair amount of my partner's clothes (in great kudos to the costume designer and the director they dressed us and directed us in such a way that a lot of clothes ended up on the floor and yet we were still quite decent) push him onto a bed, kiss all the way up his stomach and on to his lips (while describing a lawsuit our characters were working on). I described this scene to my husband in painstaking detail. Yet after the show he was upset with me. But, as he told it, not about that scene. No, he was upset about another scene where our characters appeared in flashback. We were playing ourselves at 8, and I was wearing overalls and my hair was in pigtails. I pecked my partner quickly on the lips and SKIPPED offstage. My husband was ANGRY that I left that kiss out when I told him about the play.
At first I was bewildered. Was he really bothered by that peck and skip? And what I realized was that no, he was not. He was bothered by the other scene. But, because I had told him about it, he could not openly be upset with me about it. I had forgotten all about the peck and skip, because it seemed so irrelevant. Yet because I had failed to warn him, he could be upset about it.
I honestly can't imagine what it would be like to watch him kiss another woman. He's not an actor, so I will never be put in that position. And I think, because I am an actress, that if he were an actor I would see it for what it is - playing a part - and not worry about it. But it still must be really weird. So once I realized what was behind the anger at the peck and skip, I simply apologized and let it go.
My husband has relaxed about the stage kisses I have quite a bit over the years, although there was one show where he came opening night and then again at our closing 6 weeks later. When I asked him how the show had changed and grown his only comment was "You guys kissed a lot more." Which, when I thought about it, was true. As we as actors got more comfortable with each other we became more playful on stage.
But a stage kiss is truly JUST that... a stage kiss. When you're working in a small theatre, or in interactive theatre where you are sharing a dance floor with the audience, you have to actually KISS the other person. No hand over the mouth as you dip them back nonsense they teach you in high school. The first time it has to be done is rehearsal is usually terribly awkward, since you often don't know the other person very well. You feel a really strange pressure to both really impress, but not impress TOO much so that they think YOU are kissing them and not your character. You worry about whether the director thinks it is believable or not. Is there "chemistry"?
I did a commercial that had me lying in bed with another man, both of us looking miserable from our colds. More people asked me if my husband was bothered by this. I laughed at them. Laying in bed in flannel pajamas next to another man was one of the most innocent things I've had to do in my acting career. And what the viewer doesn't see are the 20 technicians in the room with us and the camera on a crane hovering over our heads. It was not a romantic moment to say the least, particularly since it was an ad for cold medicine and not, say, K-Y Jelly.
But this weekend will be a first for both of us. My first stage kiss with a girl. He seemed completely unconcerned when I told him (in the long learned spirit of full disclosure). To be honest, it's a real STAGE kiss, in that we don't actually kiss. It's not quite the hand over the mouth trick, but it is a bit of hide and seek. And for me, honestly, it's not a big deal. First of all, I have no problems with women kissing each other, even if it's not MY orientation. Secondly, I'm an actress. If I can kiss a man I don't love on stage, what is any different about kissing a woman? Nothing. Except the fact that we were the ONLY two women in the cast willing to do it. And now my fellow actress is convinced the director thinks we are lesbians. Which I disagree with COMPLETELY, but even if he does, so what?
One of the joys of any kiss on the stage is that I get to relive that sort of giddy first kiss moment, or play out a romance that is just not part of my real life. And, if my husband is like the media likes to portray most men, perhaps this will play out a bit of his own fantasy. At the very least, I feel certain he won't be angry about it this time around.