Basically there have been two longstanding reasons that I want to go to Paris and they are these:
1. The Louvre.
2. Slathering on dramatic lipstick and going to Pere Lachaise and smooching Oscar Wilde’s grave.
And you know, I’ve heard the Louvre is real great and all but when I imagine me in Paris, I imagine being at Oscar Wilde’s grave with a compact mirror applying dark red lipstick as I prepare to smooch his grave. People go to Oscar Wilde’s grave and they smooch it, and you know how when someone you love a very lot does something that’s just so them that your heart, like, spasms with love and it is almost too much love for one little human heart to feel? Like if you have a football coach who’s renowned for being crazy and unpredictable and in the middle of a big important game he bends down and eats grass off the ground and it turns out that’s just something he does, he just does that? Well, the grave-kissing business was like that. Oscar Wilde was Oscar Wilde and he was flashy and show-offy and he loved being adored, and of course people go kiss his grave. Of course they do.
But not anymore now. Now it is all cleaned off and surrounded by glass so you can’t get to it. Forever.
I get why they did it, because to preserve it and the oils in lipstick are bad for the stone, and what will happen if everyone keeps kissing it forever, and those are reasonable reasons, but I wish they had been able to find some compromise way that didn’t end up with nobody being able to kiss the grave anymore. The end of Oscar Wilde’s life was really sad. It was really, really sad. Every story you read about Oscar Wilde after 1895 is sad. The lines on the grave about “His mourners will be outcast men / And outcasts always mourn” are an exceptionally melancholy expression of (what was at the time) a melancholy truth. And when people put on bright lipstick and go kiss Oscar Wilde’s grave, it’s an exuberant expression of a joyful truth, which is that Oscar Wilde mattered and people love him again and the world is changing; and the outcast thing, we’re fixing that. That’s the thing. That’s what makes the smooches on Oscar Wilde’s grave awesome.
When I think of Oscar Wilde’s grave all covered in smooches, I feel really happy. Like when I think of people all over the world running to dance a goofy dance with a goofy dude, or the streets of New Orleans when the Saints won the Super Bowl, or flash mob water guns fights in Tehran. Like people love each other and joy is worth it. Kissing Oscar Wilde’s grave always felt like its own little It Gets Better campaign. I liked thinking of Oscar Wilde up in heaven being pleased at how things are Getting Better, and even pleaseder to have perpetual reminders that we love him. I wanted to go to Paris and tell him I love him too.