Yall, how did I not know about this? I saw this picture shared on Facebook
And went to do research, etc to make sure it was legit and, yup, it sure is. Many years after the fact when the photo got famous, they found the two subjects and interviewed them. Greta’s interview can be found here. She is very sweet and seemingly not too bothered by it, although it is very clear that this was an unwanted kiss that she could not escape from with quotes like,
“Greta Friedman: It wasn’t my choice to be kissed...”
“Interviewer: Did he say anything to you when he kissed you?
Greta Friedman:: No, it was an act of silence.”
Greta also talks about how one of the first things her husband mentioned when he saw the photo was that he could tell she was super tense and uncomfortable. She also talks about when she and George, the sailor, were asked to re-enact the kiss during the 1980s and how she vehemently did not want to re-enact the pose, since it was a kiss she didn’t even want in the 40s and she certainly didn’t want it now. There’s more on George’s side of the story here, and is full of more excellent gems - for instance, George was so drunk that he doesn’t remember it happening at all. And you get some good standard misogynist nonsense from the author of a book tracking down the two
Back then, it was just one of those things: “Obviously, to do that today — it’s not such a good idea,” says Lawrence Verria, co-author of “The Kissing Sailor.” “But in Times Square, 1945, they hear the war’s over — it’s not such a bad idea.”
So please note everyone, you can add “the war just got over” to your list of acceptable times it’s fine to assault women.
So long story short, these aren’t romantic lovers reuniting after war. Just a drunk guy being a dick to a girl on the street. HISTORY RUINED, GOODBYE.
P.S. Also - the whole sailor kissing nurse deal? Greta wasn’t even a nurse! She worked in a dentist’s office which required her to wear the similar white clothing.