"It started with a kiss, never thought it would come to this," sang Hot Chocolate in 1982 - and in the many subsequent years when they've presumably also performed this song. It is a distressingly rare occurrence for me to get to write an article whereby a selection of Hot Chocolate's lyrics present themselves as the most apt opening sentence, and, well, this may be the closest we will ever come.
However, if these lyrics instead read as, "It started with a(n ill-advised attempt at a kiss), never thought it would come to this (- i.e. becoming, without doubt, the most awkward seven seconds in the course of human history due to the fact that this attempted kiss was being broadcast as an audience cutaway during a New Year's programme on Dutch television)," then it would have been the phrase juste for beginning this article. Though I will admit that the scansion in this re-imagined version has been somewhat compromised, so perhaps it was right of Hot Chocolate to stick to their guns.
There are few things more harrowing to be imagined in this world than the thought of leaning in to kiss someone and them not reciprocating. Imagine it now, spending minutes trying to muster up the courage, as you glance at their lips, to throw caution to the wind and allow, at least for a moment, your heart to rule over your head - then, when you eventually do lean in, for them to then shy away in evident horror and repulsion. You are aware that you have deeply, deeply misjudged the situation. You are awash with shame and embarrassment.
Also imagine this happening on Dutch television on a New Year's Eve themed show.
That's the situation we're dealing with here. It may be, and I won't shy away from saying this, the most heinous seven seconds of footage to have ever been committed to film in the history of this increasingly, god-foresaken planet.
I hope your 2019 starts off better than this guy's pic.twitter.com/iDB7Cr0b7W
— Rex (@ThatRexGuy) December 31, 2018
The sheer look of abject horror on the girl's face when she realises what is happening. The over-riding anxiety as she realises that this man, who had been standing quite glumly and evidently mute beside her and who she may or may not know, is suddenly leaning in to kiss her, is breath-takingly harrowing. The look of mocking disbelief on her face as he leans in, as if she can't quite believe how or why it is happening. It is the same tragically patronising look that someone might give to an elderly dog they see barking at its own farts - a look that acknowledges the lunacy of the situation but can't quite understand why things have gone this way.
When the man, eventually pulls away, shame visibly radiating from within his deliberately unbuttoned shirt, the lingering look they give one another is imbued with such an agonisingly dense quantity of awkwardness it makes you want to find the nearest ledge to hurl yourself off.
If your New Year perhaps isn't panning out as you'd hoped, let this prove your consolation. May it be a comfort to know that you were neither of these people attempting to kiss/ avoid being kissed, on live Dutch television, on New Year's Eve.