University of Bristol Students Kissing On Camera For the First Time is Both Awkward and Real

If students are willing to hook up with random people on any given Friday or Saturday night, they might as well be comfortable kissing a stranger on camera. That's the hypothesis tested in a recent video brought to you by the UBTV station at the University of Bristol, which features 18 students kissing on camera for the first time. Having never met before, the students are allowed a few moments of brief conversation before getting down to business. The result is an awkward, oftentimes hilarious, and ultimately heartwarming display of vulnerability.

In the project, director Gemma Wilson pays homage to an original concept by L.A.-based filmmaker Tatia Pilieva, whose viral "First Kiss" video also showed 20 adult strangers kissing on camera. Although the strangers in the original video are a little less awkward and a little more connected than the students at the University of Bristol, both videos demonstrate the uncomfortable, yet visceral experience that is a first kiss. The varying reactions of the participants also display the individualized nature of human connections, where some people may be comfortable getting intimate with a stranger, while others may not. Some University of Bristol students, for instance, seemed disenchanted with the idea both before and after the kissing experience.

In contrast, other students seemed to form real connections:

Whether students actually became invested in the kissing or not, however, it's important to note that none of them were entirely comfortable with the situation. Although the cameras may have had something to do with this, the video still goes to show that even college students have reservations about intimacy with a stranger.

This idea lies in stark contrast to exposés of hookup culture featured in countless media sources, including The New York Times and Elite Daily. This is not to say that hookup culture is not prevalent on college campuses, but rather that it is not as natural as it's often presumed to be. In an article for The Washington Post, for instance, hookup culture expert Donna Freitas argues that students are actually against hooking up, but feel pressured to do so based on the college environment. Witnessing the discomfort of the University of Bristol students is a testament to the fact that people this age might still prefer to get to know a person first.

Still, this doesn't mean that real connections can't be formed between strangers, but it's quite clear from the video that these connections are purely physical. If the kissing in the video is both human and vulnerable, therefore, one can only imagine how human and vulnerable the interactions might be between those who have previously established a much deeper connection.

Images: The Daily Mail