Is there any such thing as "Just a Kiss"?

It's Michele's annual "catching up with friends" week. One of my college girlfriends (we'll call her Elise) has been reading the blog. The first thing she said when she picked up the phone, "Have I got a BougieTale for you!" Ruh-Roh.

Elise has been married to Ben for thirteen years. They've quite honestly fallen in and out of love with each other a few times in this period of time. To their credit, they always stick it out through the "I can't stand you" times secure in the fact that the "I love you so much" times were coming back around. Accordingly to Elise, she thought they were finally leveling out, enjoying a period of steady contentment. Until she walked into a restaurant and saw her husband kissing another woman. Not a peck on the cheek, but a lingering lip lock bordering on inappropriate for public.

She confronted him instantly and they decided to go home and discuss rather than share this moment with 100 interested diners in a trendy Buckhead bistro. When they got home, he said this was a woman he met recently and at this point it was an "innocent flirtation". She sent him the inevitable side-eye and he responded, "It was just a kiss. It didn't mean anything. A kiss isn't cheating." She agreed at the moment. (I bit my tongue so she could finish.) But now she's wondering just what that kiss meant. She and Ben haven't discussed it since. She asked me what I thought.

I'm just old fashioned, I guess. Kisses always mean something as far as I'm concerned. They need context. A peck is a hello or goodbye. A heartfelt press and hold with lips closed is an affectionate expression. Slobbing with requisite bump-n-grind is a cue for cocoa.

But a real kiss? Slow, sweet and steamy like she described? That's emotional. I think a kiss is an intimate extraordinarily sexy thing (when done right). Want to know how someone really feels about you? Kiss them for five minutes straight with all your clothes on, just kissing. It's everything. It can totally shift the direction of a relationship from casual to serious. As a friend of mine used to say, "Some people you kiss with your lips, others you kiss with your soul." C'mon now, a kiss that's got heat and heart and soul and stamina? Whew. [Why do I feel like breaking into the final refrain of Purple Rain? "If you know what I'm singin' about up here, c'mon raise your hand." No? How 'bout Nelly - It's gettin' hot in herre... Never mind.]

Anyway... I told Elise, "A kiss is a gateway drug. And what would have happened had you not walked in at that very moment? Even if you don't worry about the kiss itself... what comes after?" And then I went on a 20 minute rant on the ways I felt the situation was completely jacked up. 

She decided that they probably needed to have more conversation about this. No. Doubt.

BougieLand, is a kiss ever just a kiss? If you walked in on your S.O. kissing someone else, what would you think? What would you do? Since when is kissing someone else not cheating? Do we really need to define cheating per level of intimate act? Can you forgive "just a kiss" as opposed to full cocoa? Thoughts, comments, insights?