Alderwood Mall was the scene of much determined kissing this past Valentine's Day as 11 couples vied for a trip to Hawaii in the third annual KLSY Lip Lock Marathon. The heady scent of nearby franchises Garden Botanika and Aveda perfumed the air of the irrefutably romantic Center Court as kissers—hemmed in with a border of pink, red, and white balloons—stood with their lips resolutely pressed together.
Passersby seemed nonplussed by the spectacle and the accompanying broadcast of "Today's Hits, Yesterday's Favorites," although Seattle Weekly editorial assistant (and mole) Jenn Wynne and her girlfriend Caroline Williams attracted notice as the only same-sex couple. "We felt like zoo animals," Wynne stated. "People were pointing and cheering. They were supportive overall, though some teenage guys were like, 'Look, girls kissing!'"
Fittingly, KLSY DJs gave away the Rapid White Tooth Whitening System, tubes of lip balm, and small teddy bears clad in tiny KLSY T-shirts to a crowd that waxed and waned with the diurnal rhythms of the mall. Some ate pretzels as they stopped to watch; others were unwitting voyeurs. "It looks boring," quoth three teenage mallgoers from Marysville in eerie synchronicity. "We're just resting."
Some couples with height variances brought platforms to equalize lip distance from the ground; all were dressed in casual attire for what can only be described as a surreal and ultimately grueling test of stamina and the power of amour. No breaks, beverages, cell phones, or "undergarments considered a diaper or bladder control undergarment" were permitted. Three of the 11 men eventually fainted (one due to the dreaded locking of the knees), while the women generally stood strong, though one was reduced to the bitter tears of defeat.
The osculatory victors, after 11 hours, 7 minutes, were Vince and Linda Rhoades, third-year winners who, a tipster said, were given an edge by their practice of yoga. They have promised to retire, so the field will be wide-open next year. Wynne and Williams earned an Aveda gift certificate for placing third.
"It was completely worth it because it was funny, but I'm never doing it again," summarized Wynne. "Never, ever."
BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT