Thursday, April 11, 2013

World Building A to Z: Kissing and Social Gestures

This month, I'm sharing my observations of world building and setting in stories. 

Kissing: Is kissing a public or private affair? In the movie Avatar, Jake and the Na'vi princess kiss when they are alone. Here, we have an awww....we-might-be-different-but-we-are-really-the-same kind of moment. Still, I'd been hoping she would pull away and say, "Here on Pandora, we bite at each other's noses when we're into someone." 

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Social Gestures: What are the social gestures- either in body language or behavior- of a world, and what do they mean? In THE HUNGER GAMES, District 12 folk bring their three inside fingers to their lips and then hold out their hand as a way to show thanks, admiration, and/or to say good-bye. In Alexandre Dumas' THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, Edmond, disguised as the Count, refuses food when he attends a society function at his enemy's house. The Count doesn't publicly call out his enemy for framing him for treason and announce he is plotting revenge- an outburst like this could end up in Page Six. But refusing the food is the Count's quiet way of expressing that he is no friend of the host. 

Should locking lips be the universal gesture for romantic affection in all worlds?

Can you think of other social gestures you've seen in stories?

17 comments:

Nick Wilford said...

Well there is the Vulcan symbol for "Live long and prosper". This is something else that I genuinely hadn't considered, but seems like it would be very useful in world building.

Melanie Schulz said...

It is the most relatable, but I agree with you, if the story could/should support a different way, then go there.

S.P. Bowers said...

Hmmm, it might be interesting if there were other forms of showing affection, but kissing is very relatable. Plus a good kissing scene is really fun.

Lynn Proctor said...

i am not too comfortable with pda's---hmmmm i can't really think of other ways i have seen this in movies---now i will be trying to :)

Pat Hatt said...

Sure I've seen some weird ways on stuff like stargate and such, but yeah kissing is the most relatable.

John Wiswell said...

I also thought it was pretty weird that the big blue cat people kissed as affection, but the producers didn't put much work into making them a non-human culture. I'd go for just one species that showed its affection for you by not being the least bit annoying in public.

from John at The Bathroom Monologues

Julie Luek said...

Kissing is such a sure way to resonate with viewers. Who doesn't remember that first kiss and all the butterfly feelings it induced? The locked eyes-- the first touch of lips-- it has the power to bring people into a feeling in a way no other contrived alternative form of affection could, I think.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Movies like Demolition Man and Barbarella showed other ways to 'get it on,' but kissing is still the best way to start.

Elise Fallson said...

Coming up with different social gestures when developing a new world can be fun but also difficult. I've been trying to come up with a different welcoming gesture in one of my wips. I want it to be a simple gesture that transmits emotion and a message, but it hasn't been easy.

Ghadeer said...

I wish the media (books and television) would stop squeezing kissing scenes at every possible opportunity. It just makes them less special.

Sherry Ellis said...

I like hugs for a universal gesture of affection. I don't think I'd want to lock lips with just anyone!

Karen Tamara said...

I remember in the Dark Tower series, the main guy would tap his throat three times to show respect for his elders. I always thought that was cool. I think societal gestures like that add authenticity to a story.

Joyce Lansky said...

Not movies--real life. It is customary for dogs to sniff butts. :p

http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

DL Hammons said...

If you want to make the gesture relatable...then the kiss is the way to go. :)

Jay Noel said...

I can't remember what movie it was, but holding hands was how the aliens "got it on."

Kathy said...

Interesting and thought provoking post!

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Cynthia said...

Thanks for the comments!

Post a Comment