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What the . . . Big Red Make-Out Gum?

September 14, 2012

Size matters when it comes to making out.

*What the…Friday? is a weekly Friday feature in which I resuscitate a video relic from the swampy pits of Pop Culture Wasteland.*

Today:  What the Big Red Make-Out Gum?

When I was a kid, I was scared of kissing.

So scared was I that I avoided it like the plague.

More like, avoided it like the mouth herpes.

Or like, avoided it like the peach-fuzz pubescent mustache lip.

In junior high, I actually broke up with three different boys upon learning they had plans to kiss me.  And I wanted none of that.  And don’t even get me started about hickies.

When I finally had my first kiss with a boy — in high school, yes, in high school — it was just as awful, just as slobbery, just as I-never-want-to-make-eye-contact-with-you-again as I imagined it would be.

Of course, it got better.  Because then I started chewing Big Red gum.

With Big Red gum, the kissing is better.  A lot less awkward.  A lot less slobbery.  And your chances of contracting mouth herpes actually decrease.  I think.

Anyway, that’s what I learned from this 1984 Big Red commercial.

76 Comments leave one →
  1. surroundedbyimbeciles permalink
    September 14, 2012 10:21 am

    Surprisingly, Big Red didn’t work like that for me.

    • September 24, 2012 4:38 pm

      Me neither, now that I think of it. We should file a class action lawsuit.

  2. September 14, 2012 10:33 am

    That elevator scene used to confuse me when I was a kid. I mean, who pops into an elevator THAT crowded? And WHO smiles and breathes right into your face when you squeeze yourself in there? NO ONE.

    • September 24, 2012 4:40 pm

      I think there should be a law that you can’t even face people on an elevator. Eyes straight ahead, no looking around, no making chitchat with strangers. I know Peg-o-leg’s got my back on this one.

  3. September 14, 2012 10:59 am

    Big Red never lasts that long! Within a few chews, all the flavor is gone!

    • September 24, 2012 4:41 pm

      This is true. As a general rule, never chew gum that, ten minutes later, makes your mouth taste actually worse than before you got started.

  4. September 14, 2012 11:10 am

    Theres a fine line in ads between what is considered intimacy and what is legally stalking me thinks.

    • September 24, 2012 4:42 pm

      Me thinks you’re correct. Wise words as always, with just the right stroke of wit.

  5. September 14, 2012 11:35 am

    Yeah, Big Red lost its flavor fast. What a liar! My firt real kiss was in the high school, too. It was the worst.

    • September 24, 2012 4:44 pm

      I think what occurred with my first kiss was the guy waited for me to close my eyes and then smashed a cold, raw piece of squid against my face. At least, that’s what it felt like.

  6. September 14, 2012 12:13 pm

    Big Red was like chewing pepper for me. I liked the milk man. I wonder if they still exist?

    • September 24, 2012 4:46 pm

      Yeah, now when you ask mothers if those are the “milkman’s kids” because they look nothing like their father, they look at you like they don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Actually, that’s exactly the same look they would’ve given you fifty years ago.

  7. September 14, 2012 1:11 pm

    As badly as Big Red burns, I imagine it does kill all kinds of germs. And maybe brain cells.

    I sang along with the commercial in my head. Judge me now. And I never understood the little cinnamon gum comparison. I have never in my life seen gum that looks like THAT. I swear, it was plastic.

    • September 24, 2012 4:48 pm

      Yeah, wasn’t that always odd? That little comparison gum in the beginning? That’s not a fair match-up! Might as well compare it to a Tic-tac.

      No judging, this song plays every day in my heart.

  8. September 14, 2012 1:20 pm

    I wouldn’t recommend kissing with the gum still in the mouth, though. Ooh, she has fresh breath what is this thing sliding down my throat OH MY GOD!

    • September 24, 2012 4:49 pm

      I do remember that happening to me before. Don’t know if I was the gift-giver or the gift-recipient. Either way, win-win.

  9. September 14, 2012 2:18 pm

    I was a Juicy Fruit man myself, which probably explains why my dates ended with handshakes. If only I could send a letter to High School Jean-François from the future.

    • September 24, 2012 4:53 pm

      With Juicy Fruit, a date ends with a handshake. With Big Red, it ends with a kiss. I can’t tell you what Double Mint ends with or I’ll be crossing the line of decency — but perhaps you remember the jingle?

      • September 25, 2012 7:58 am

        Poor gum choices – that’s why I’m where I am today, and not living it up with the Polaski twins in Milwaukee. (Obviously, I’m a little obsessed with Happy Days this week. Must be something I ate. At Arnold’s.)

      • October 6, 2012 11:40 am

        Hilarious. Your comments are like the toy in enclosed in a cereal box!

  10. September 14, 2012 4:50 pm

    If you start chewing Big Red in Jr. High School, the flavor will be gone by the time you start kissing in High School, all the freshmen know that!

    On a side note for Jean Francois, Juicy Fruit was one of the first to experience product placement in a significant movie, when The Chief thanked R.P. McMurphy for a stick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Fortunately the moment did not lead to any kissing.

    • September 24, 2012 4:55 pm

      I didn’t get the memo on that one. It must’ve been written on the stall I never used.

      Ooh! Great trivia bit! More please. What else do you know?

  11. September 14, 2012 5:51 pm

    “Kiss a little longer with Big Red.” What a slogan. Just how long, exactly, are people kissing? And at that point, is cinnamony breath the primary concern?

    “We’ve been at it for 3 hours. My jaw is aches, I’m bathed in sweat, I think my lips are bruised, I have no feeling below my nose, and I have so many hickies that I’m worried about throwing a clot. But, really, we need to talk about the diminishing levels of cinnamon going on here. No, I don’t care that you have other sticks of gum, the moment is broken. Get out.”

    • September 24, 2012 4:59 pm

      Yeah, it kinda boggles the mind that one could have that much, um, stamina. Seriously? Move on. Play a board game. Study for a test. After that long, I’d be yakking up a Big Red spitball.

  12. September 14, 2012 8:01 pm

    Gack, who the flip would want to stand up kissing all night? That seems so exhausting.

    • September 24, 2012 5:00 pm

      I don’t know if you can get lockjaw from kissing, but it seems possible after watching this.

  13. princesscarleyunderground permalink
    September 14, 2012 8:12 pm

    I’d kiss that cinnamin-y sexbomb all night long!

    • September 24, 2012 5:04 pm

      I wasn’t aware of any sexbombs in the clip. Really? 1985-sexy or 2012-sexy? There’s a huge difference there.

  14. September 14, 2012 8:34 pm

    I had my first make-out session when I was eight, and I sure as hell didn’t need any gum then. Of course, it took 14 years for me to kiss anyone again, so maybe these chewing gum companies know what they’re talking about. In fact, I think I’ll go out and buy myself some Big League Chew right now…

    • September 14, 2012 8:56 pm

      May I officially be the first woman to retch at that idea? Yes? Thank you. Blechaarharerachadcccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

      • September 14, 2012 9:08 pm

        Elyse, are you retching at the idea that I made out at age eight, or that I wanted to buy some Big League Chew to help with my current make-out deficiencies?

        And that is without a doubt the most graphically painful retching sound I’ve ever seen in print…

      • September 14, 2012 9:10 pm

        Thank you Todd, for your comment on my ability to retch in print. I am honored.

        The retch was brought about by the idea of anything with the word “Chew” in it. I do realize it is gum, but it is really “pre-chew” which to my snotty sensibilities makes it very vile indeed!

      • September 14, 2012 9:30 pm

        Elyse, you’ve inspired me to give up Big League Chew; instead, on my next visit to Safeway, I’ll be purchasing some Big League Snuff.

        And do you think Angie’s getting steamed that we’re concentrating on our own topic, and not hers?

      • September 14, 2012 9:49 pm

        Angie is a saint. She is always happy to have her blog hijacked to say, somewhere where manners are way less important than they are in the Midwest where she lives (or even Virginia where I live). Oh, that’s Northern Virginia, BTW, where snuff and chew and spitting in general is frowned upon.

      • September 14, 2012 10:01 pm

        I promise, if I’m ever passing through the Midwest or any of the Virginias, I will not spit out my Big League Chew, Bubs Daddy, Clark’s Teaberry, Bazooka, or Chiclets until I’m well beyond the state lines…

      • September 14, 2012 10:05 pm

        Teaberry, Bazooka and Chicklets are ok. The others, not so much. Chicklets and chew are not the same …

    • September 24, 2012 7:50 pm

      Eight years old, Todd?! Are you sure you aren’t confusing kissing with a tonsillectomy you received while playing doctor or something? When I was eight, I was still spraying cooties repellent on my clothes before school every day.

      • September 24, 2012 8:19 pm

        No, I think it was just kissing. If I’d received a ‘tonsillectomy’ from her while ‘playing doctor’, I probably would’ve married her…

      • September 24, 2012 8:23 pm

        Thank you for this, Todd. Going places my blog has never gone before. Like in the toilet. Wait, I guess it’s gone there before. I did once write a post about eating my diaper.

      • September 24, 2012 8:54 pm

        I remember that post…which is why I assumed it was proper etiquette and wholeheartedly acceptable for me to venture into the nether regions of your blog. So, from this moment on, I will strive to be a perfect gentleman while commenting on your site.


  15. September 14, 2012 8:58 pm

    Angie, I think we need to patent your brain. A memory like this falling into the wrong hands might be lethal.

    And please note, that my above comment to Todd actually colored outside of the lines. I am delighted!

    • September 24, 2012 7:56 pm

      You might not be surprised to know that politicians are especially terrified of my brain falling in the wrong hands. I’m happy to recall for you a slew of failed campaign promises dating back to ’92.

      You know you are always welcome around my blog and post-hijacking is perfectly acceptable in my neck of the woods. Which by the way has been changed to “Midwest” in your comment — because my husband likes to remind me that we’re in the witness relocation program.

      • September 24, 2012 7:59 pm

        My husband is like that too. He thinks the gun crazies are comin’ after me any day now… hence no pictures. Which just so happens to suit my fancy, too.

      • September 24, 2012 8:03 pm

        Maybe I should switch out my avatar photo since it looks Exactly Like Me. Cowlick, dazed expression, drool hanging off my chin. You could pick me out of a crowd.

      • September 24, 2012 8:23 pm

        You MAY NOT/ switch that photo. That is what brought me to you.

  16. addercatter permalink
    September 14, 2012 10:50 pm

    Big Red makes my taste buds swell! I’m so happy my first experience with kissing, or with Big Red, had nothing to do with each other! Thanks for making me laugh and get an image of a teenage-swollen-tastebud-kiss in my mind. Cat ^..^

    • September 24, 2012 7:57 pm

      Big Red makes taste buds swell — really? This is starting to make sense now. I bet you’re on to something here.

  17. September 15, 2012 7:06 am

    Bravo, Angie! BRAVO! You’ve shared your deepest first-kiss-in-high-school secret with your readers! Up next, a post about sex?! Hmmmm….? If I can do it, anyone can, c’mon, it’d be a hoot!

    Is it bad that my first date with a boy, I asked offered him ABC gum? And it was an old stick of Dentyne that I had stolen from the bottom of my mom’s purse?

    • September 24, 2012 8:00 pm

      I completely forgot about ABC gum! Congratulations on digging that one out of the way-way-back file. Or more like off the way-way-back bedpost. Because that’s where I always left my ABC gum.

      Notice how I completely dodged the first part of your comment? Good. I’d hoped you wouldn’t.

  18. Emily permalink
    September 15, 2012 9:24 pm

    I was wondering about the milkman too. Did they really still have those in 1984? I was born that year, and, throughout my conscious memory, I’ve never actually seen a milkman in real life–I’ve only ever seen people buy milk at the store. Maybe milkmen were on their way out of this world, as I was on my way in. Can anyone here who was born before 1984 elucidate me on that?

    • September 24, 2012 8:05 pm

      Hmmm. Not sure about that. I can recall my favorite Sesame Street video in the early ’80s was a milkman running milk out to a crying baby’s house. I want to say it was staged but it seemed so real. And everything that happens on television must be real.

  19. Emily permalink
    September 15, 2012 9:25 pm

    P.S., Back to the main point of the blog, I did used to like Big Red gum, but later switched to the Trident cinnamon flavour (or Dentyne Fire), because Big Red had sugar that hurt my teeth.

    • September 24, 2012 8:06 pm

      Ooh, I always got that sugar-pain when I ate Snickers bars. Youch.

  20. September 16, 2012 5:50 pm

    First kiss in high school…. ‘check’. Grossed out factor due to slobber…. ‘check’. Avoided kisser rest of the summer …. ‘check’ and done. Thank goodness we were NOT chewing Big Red. I’d hate to think it would have gone on forever. *shudder*

    • September 24, 2012 8:08 pm

      Ha! Very good point, Lenore. You and I must’ve had much in common back then — although that common ground stops right about where your bolo tie begins.

  21. September 17, 2012 4:54 am

    I guess having breath that hints at an addiction to cinnamon donuts could be seen as an attractive trait …

    • September 24, 2012 8:09 pm

      Or breath that makes people wonder what other addiction you’re trying to cover up. Cigarettes? Onion rings? Cat food?

      • September 25, 2012 5:13 am

        Haha. I sense a chain of events similar the old lady who swallowed a fly. “She chewed the gum, to smother the smokers breath, to hide the onion rings, to distract from the cat food. I don’t why she swallowed the cat food…”

  22. September 17, 2012 2:52 pm

    I’m not sure I can be friends with someone that turned down 3 boys in middle school. Whatever happened to all of our ‘awkward kid photo’ bonding? Here I am, it’s 7th grade and I’m still at The Geek Table, pre-braces, and you’re off playing hard to get. Wow, Nnng. I thought I knew you.

    • September 24, 2012 8:13 pm

      Yes, they were all fantastic catches, Jules, believe me. I think one of them had a lazy eye, one wore tinted Clearasil across his cheeks like warpaint, and the other was sent home from school for head lice. The End.

  23. September 17, 2012 3:07 pm

    I use to love Big Red…. maybe that was why. :D

    • September 24, 2012 8:15 pm

      I think Freud would say this commercial is probably buried deep in your subconscious. And that Big Red kills mouth herpes.

  24. September 17, 2012 11:42 pm

    Why would anyone want to kiss that long? I can’t dedicate so much time to kissing one girl; I’d rather get it over with quickly so I can concentrate on finding a new girl to kiss.

    • September 24, 2012 8:17 pm

      To keep kissing the same person is really a disservice to evolution anyway. Our race will never survive if we continue to cast our nets that narrow.

  25. September 18, 2012 2:42 am

    But here’s the whining part. Today’s gums don’t have the flavor kick of the old gum. The old Big Red would burn your tongue for an hour, hence the numbing and ability to kiss until lips turned purple. They’ve probably reduced the flavor to save our lips from paralysis.

    • September 24, 2012 8:25 pm

      Barb, you’ve just scientifically explained Big Red and its kissability in a way that even Mr. Wizard himself (using dioramas or baking soda and vinegar) could not. I thank you for that.

  26. September 18, 2012 4:13 pm

    Junior high. Spin the bottle. Randy Strohman. Came at me like a slobbery, heat-seaking French-kissing missile, mouth wide open. I should have been wearing a bib for all the slobber! All I could think of was “I wasted all those hours honing my technique through self-arm kissing for THIS?”

    That’s just my hazy recollection of my first kiss. Do you think some Big Red would have helped matters?

    • September 24, 2012 8:31 pm

      The back of my hand and my Seventeen magazine cover story on Keanu Reeves. Two best kissers of my adolescent life.

  27. September 21, 2012 3:35 pm

    LOL – yes yes, I to believe the cinnamon in Big Red killed ALL bacteria (herpes) … my first gum of choice during the first kiss awkard, please dont spit in my mouth, periods of my life :-)

    • September 24, 2012 8:34 pm

      Perfect! Another vote for Big Red’s herpes-killing properties. I’m really surprised they don’t hand it out with condoms at the free clinics.

  28. October 23, 2012 9:00 am

    Big Red gum and Skoal. Two tastes that go together in my memory (it’s what all the boys tasted like down here). They’d spit out the chaw, and pop in some gum to “freshen up.” Blech!!

    • October 28, 2012 8:33 pm

      Aw, I forgot about Skoal. I remember seeing a can of that junk on far too many pickup dashboards while I was in high school. Blech is right.

  29. October 28, 2012 4:06 pm

    Ick! There was also that Crispy Crunch ad of yore that featured some couple chiseling out fossilized bits of chocolate from their partner’s molars with their tongues. (Or was it Crunchie bar?) No matter. Thanks to ads like those, junior high and high school are just traumatized blurs for me…

    • October 28, 2012 8:29 pm

      Crispy Crunch, whaaaaa? Is that a Canadian candy bar, Dana? Either way, I can be grateful that I didn’t watch it as, like you, I was already confused enough by the Big Red ad.

      • October 28, 2012 8:52 pm

        Ah, yes! I forgot that Americans might not have Crispy Crunches… and that you guys call them “candy bars” instead of “chocolate bars”. :) The run down: Crispy Crunches are a lot like Butterfingers– a flaky, toffee-type confection slathered in milk chocolate. Terrible for health. Notorious for getting caught in the teeth, too. Those ads scarred me for life!

      • October 28, 2012 9:37 pm

        Oh, yeah. I remember the kids on You Can’t Do That On Television called them chocolate bars. Seriously, why do we call them candy bars? We stoopid.

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