Yorkshire Pudding confessed to me the other day that his childhood experiences had influenced his later career as a lothario and it seems that this date may be the root cause of his philandering for today is Kissing Friday. Apparently there is an old Yorkshire tradition that two days after Ash Wednesday, boys are allowed to kiss any girl they choose without fear of a slap round the head or knee in the groin.
Traditionally, no girl could refuse such amorous advances, but the boys had to catch them first, a sort of kiss-catch, and girls would be allowed to leave school early to avoid pursuit. No-one is entirely sure when or why the custom started, but it appears to have died out some time in the middle of the last century which suggests that Mr Pudding might be older than he is letting on.
A similar custom operated in the village of Sileby in Leicestershire, but was altogether more physical. Known as Nippy Hug Day, the man or boy was allowed to pinch the bottom of any female who spurned his offer of a kiss and some boys strung ropes across the street to create a makeshift ‘toll’ point, where they collected kisses.
Meanwhile, in the Eden Valley in Cumbria, it was known as Nippy Lug Day in which anyone could nip someone’s ear without reproach.
In case you think I’m making this up (as if I would), see this article on the BBC website, so pucker up ladies!