I was a bit surprized to find the line which was delivered by the former Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman in December 5th Time magazine. It reads:

“In Fox News interview, Utahan tweaks the Donald, charges the real-estate mogul typifies "what is wrong with politics" and says "if he had any courage at all, he would be running for President." Huntsman: "I'm not going to kiss his ring and I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy."

If he said simply "I'm not going to kiss his ring,” he is simply saying “I’m not fawning him.” But by adding “I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy" I think it comes to have a smack of "pervertedness."

Maybe I’m taking his word wrong way or too serious in interpreting. But in our country, if our politician delivers literally translated words like "I'm not going to kiss his (say, his opponent’s) ring and I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy," in TV, he’ll be frowned by audience, particularly by sensitive women, or it can lead to losing his seat in the worst case.

Is this kind of “anatomy related” rhetoric used by dignitaries just casually, or day-to-day in public and granted as a matter of course in United State?

If I said "I'm not going to kiss your ring and I'm not going to kiss any other part of your anatomy” to my boss, say, president of the company, what would be his reaction? Does he just chuckle, or fire me?

  • depends on your boss
    – Muad'Dib
    Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 23:09
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    @FumbleFingers: What? 'Kiss my ring' is metaphorical, like Gnawme states, like kissing someone's hand as a sign of respect. Any other meaning is very rare. You're misleading Yoichi by giving the impression that anybody would interpret it as anything else.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 3:54
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    @FumbleFingers: I feel that most Americans would interpret the latter half of the statement as an attempt at politely rephrasing: "I won't kiss his ass". Given that, it seems unlikely that he meant the first part as you describe, because it would be redundant. "I won't kiss his ass, and I won't kiss his ass either!" Seems more likely he meant it as "kiss the Pope's ring" as Gnawme said, said "other" referring to the ring finger. Either way it's still crude.
    – Lynn
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 3:16
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    @FumbleFingers I can't recall ever hearing ring used in American speech to mean anus, other than perhaps in a medically anatomical sense. As Lynn and others have said, the ring-kissing comment almost certainly meant in the Pope's ring_sense. I think the _any other part of his anatomy bit was just an incorrect usage. And, as others have said, ues, he meant he wasn't going to kiss Trump's ass, but I thought it was a slightly clever way of using that popular idiom without using the offensive word.
    – sarah
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 8:38
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    @sarah, et al: To repeat my first comment - I don't think Huntsman meant what he said. But he did conjoin ring with or any other part of his anatomy. Logically, grammatically, and quite possibly in Huntsman's subconscious, that implies an "anatomical" ring. If he could go back and rephrase, I'm sure Huntsman would either amend it to ring finger, or just not say it at all. It's not my fault that I understand the words he said, as well as the words he meant. Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 17:42

4 Answers 4


My boss would probably just laugh, and say, "Have another drink."

The "kiss his ring" portion of Huntsman's statement, of course, evokes kissing the Pope's ring as a sign of respect.

The "kiss any other part of his anatomy" is just Huntsman's polite way of saying that he's not going to brownnose.

As Muad'Dib notes, your boss's reaction will really depend 1) on your boss, and 2) the context in which you make such a statement.

Edit: This kind of frankness and bluntness is rare in a politician, and is but one of the characteristics that makes Huntsman an outsider among potential Republican presidential candidates. In other public arenas (entertainment or business, for example), these sorts of statements are more common, but not an everyday occurrence, especially among those who are conscious of managing their image.

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    I agree he meant "kiss his ring" as a reference to kissing the Pope's ring. Huntsman misspoke when he said "other" as he did not mean "ring" to refer to an anatomical part. He meant to say "and I'm not going to kiss any part of his anatomy" but he fell back to a common phrasal pattern while concentrating on not saying "and I'm not going to kiss his ass," which would be the most common (but vulgar) way to say he is not going to brownnose. It's common when speaking for a grammatical error to creep into one part of a sentence when you are fighting against habit in another part.
    – Old Pro
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 6:03

I didn't even think of connecting "ring" to anus... I was assuming he was borrowing the term from that tradition of kissing the King's ring as a sign of homage. (King, Godfather, Pope).

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    Beth. I wish to think so. But Huntsman elaborately followed it with “I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy." That’s bothers me. It was unnecessary remark to me. Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 3:01
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    @YoichiOishi: Donald Trump is the sort of person who surrounds himself with sycophants, i.e. ass-kissers. Huntsman was just stating that he doesn't plan to be one of them.
    – Gnawme
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 4:57
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    @YoichiOishi: No, he just meant "I'm not going to kiss his ring or kiss his ass". Strictly speaking he should have said "or any part of his anatomy", not "any other part of his anatomy", since he wasn't thinking of "ring" as a part of his anatomy, but one is not always thinking clearly. Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 2:01

I'm going to assume he didn't know where his sentences would end when he started. Otherwise, I'm sure he would have employed a more appropriate neither/nor structure.

My boss would not respond until he'd had a conversation with his lawyer. Then, he would draft a document for me to sign, certifying that he had not requested any of the kissing propositions implied in my statement of rejection.


Refusing to kiss a ring implies that you do not feel that subservient to the ringholder. As pointed out by other posted answers, it is a reference to a time when people were subject to receiving and obeying commands from their superiors (kings, popes, etc.)

Refusing to kiss other parts implies that maybe you are subservient to someone, but you refuse to engage in demeaning or distasteful actions just to please that person.

I do not know you boss, so I have no idea what sort of response it might elicit, but for me, I would play it safe and leave these words in my mouth.

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