Onomatopoeia representation of a cry of anguish!

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.

42 thoughts on “Onomatopoeia representation of a cry of anguish!

  1. I went to Paris a million years ago and couldn’t wait to go to Pere Lachaise either. I can’t remember now but I probably most wanted to see Jim Morrison. Or Chopin’s body (minus heart). But in general it is just the coolest cemetery ever! But it has been a long time, and now you have put me in the mood to go back! (ha ha, that was a joke, i.e., pretending like only NOW do I want to go back, as opposed to any time, all the time!)

  2. Oh, LAME. Well, as you say, not LAME, exactly, but disappointing. Why must we live in such a sterile world wherein we cannot hack off parts of the Acropolis for our personal souvenirs or kiss awesome authors’ graves? Woe to us.

    That said, I have a feeling people will just slather kisses all over the glass cover. Not quite the same, but I’m sure Wilde would appreciate the gesture, regardless.

    • It’s not like hacking off pieces of the Acropolis! I would never ever ever never hack of pieces of the Acropolis, I would never do that! But I would kiss Oscar Wilde’s grave though. They should post guidelines for what kind of lipstick to use and not use, and they should sell the appropriate kind of lipstick at the gift shop. I would buy it even if it was expensive, if that meant I could go kiss Oscar Wilde’s grave.

    • I suppose so, yeah. It’s not the same for ME. I wanted to go kiss the grave, I wanted to do that. I am just kicking myself now for not going to Paris the year I lived in England.

  3. I hate that thing we do where dead people kind of know what’s going on now on earth, especially around their graves. George Carlin has a good riff on it, about how they’re not always “smiling down from heaven.” Whether Oscar is smiling at Rupert or not, the better tribute is reading him and telling everyone how great his writing is. That’s the only part that really lives on.
    Besides, if you get to Paris, there are so many other good things to do in the livelier parts of the city!

    • Oh, I don’t necessarily believe that Oscar Wilde’s up in heaven. It’s just this bit I do where I imagine chatting with famous dead people once we’re all in heaven. In my imagination, I’m going to get to heaven and Oscar Wilde’s going to be all, Why’d they stop people from kissing my grave??, and I’m going to go track down Rupert Everett and be all, TOLD YA.

      With a lot of authors I’d agree with you that it’s the work that matters and lives on, but with Oscar Wilde, not so much. He said it himself: He put his talent into his work, and his genius into his life. I don’t love Oscar Wilde because of his writing (at least not primarily), I love him because his life was fascinating and because he was so much himself all the time. The grave-kissing thing felt so much like HIM, while also being indicative of progress in society, and that’s why I’m sad it’s gone.

      I know there are other things to do in Paris! But it’s sort of been bumped off my top five list of places to go now. :/

  4. There must be other remains of Oscar Wilde out there to be kissed. I agree the grave thing is a tremendous shame and to be deplored. But what’s done is done. You know more about Oscar than anyone I know, Jenny. Are there other places he lived, park benches he frequented, cafes he haunted (literally or figuratively) where you could commune with his spirit? You could lead the way forward for Oscar’s multitudinous fans to find new ways of giving the love. Seriously, this could be big for you. 🙂

    • Well, there ARE, and certainly I could go smooch his old house on Tite Street (it has a blue plaque!), or his house in Dublin where James Joyce met Nora. But I liked the communal aspect of the grave-kissing thing.

  5. I feel the exact same way. It’s like they’re trying to suck the fun out of our lives! And who knew Parisians would be such a bunch of sticks in the mud?! Seriously, that’s something I would expect from, like, the Swedish. But if you can’t express your love an artist by smacking your lips against their gravestone in PARIS, where else could you possibly do it? Answer: nowhere.

    I give that glass wall three months before it’s covered in graffiti.

  6. Okay, so now I’m suddenly really sad about there being no more kisses on Oscar Wilde’s grave. HIS GRAVE NEEDS KISSES. It’s just WRONG if there isn’t any there. 😦 Wrong and sad.

    I bet you anything someone’s going to start a “kiss Oscar Wilde’s grave virtually” website now. If there isn’t one already, anyway!

    • Yes! If they could do it in a regulated way that would be less awesomely exuberant but still acceptable. How do they manage with the Blarney Stone?

      Also, what? Stonehenge? You can go kiss Stonehenge? That’s a weird thing to want to do.

  7. I feel your pain! Was also shocked when i first heard because it’s been on my bucket list for ever! I’ve visited Paris several times and always postpone visiting that cemetery – my fault 😦

    Rupert Everett commented on how Wilde would not have liked it because for him “”kisses were not just signs of love, he associated them with danger, even death,”. But I’m with you, I think he would have loved the attention!

    • Yeah, that is the most nonsense thing Rupert Everett said altogether. Those are the words of a man who is trying to resolve cognitive dissonance. I’m just heartbroken I didn’t get to the grave before they put the glass. :(:(:(:(

  8. Lots of pilgrims to other places leave little cairns of stones they’ve brought. What about kissing a stone, and leaving it? Imagine cairns of passionately-smooched stones at the grave!

    Oh, and @Jeanne, honestly, if I considered WWOWD, I probably wouldn’t do it, other than the general principle of trying to be myself.

    • That would be a good compromise! I would totally do that! I hope they do that. I would feel absolutely fine about that as a compromise. I would scour the world for the perfect stone to bring.

  9. Yes. It would be really hard to try to live up to what would Oscar Wilde do. (I like it because it says WOW.)
    Still, it might be a better world if we all tried harder to be flamboyant and witty and interesting in a very public way. Heck, we’re already halfway there, in terms of trying to be interesting in a public way (being bloggers).

  10. Jenny being SUPER EARNEST is a wonderful thing. Thanks for making my world and thus the entire world a little better because you put yourself OUT THERE. Applause.

  11. That really is a shame! I hadn’t heard about it being closed off. I personally wouldn’t have kissed it (which is entirely because of my fear of germs), but people should be able to exuberantly express themselves in such a manner. It’s not hurting anyone (except maybe for the germ thing but that’s their choice) and the stone erosion could just be chalked up as part of the tribute to his popularity.

  12. Pingback: Monday, So Let’s Talk Mailbox « Care's Online Book Club

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