Write about your first kiss.
Having been an avid YA reader as a kid and also having a tendency to romanticize and exaggerate any and all situations in which I found myself, I should have had my first kiss much sooner than I actually did. This is also a very tough subject because I find myself having difficultly defining what counts as a "real" kiss. Did it count when Mike Horne and I dared each other to touch lips for One-Mississippi in front of Charlie Bradley, Charlotte Mecham and Michael Clark? Did it count when I played a kissing game with a boy named Jeremy who was a grade behind me in school which essentially came down to my letting him chase me around the Big Playground at Wasatch Elementary during fifteen minute recess until I finally allowed him to "catch" me and press his dry, chapped lips against mine, thereafter throwing me down a shame spiral in which I would deny having ever participated in such an activity no matter how many people were also involved in the Big Playground Kissing Game and could easily corroborate Jeremy's story?
In seventh grade a boy named Matt Kenney bet me a quarter that he could kiss me without actually touching his lips to mine only to then kiss me and give me the quarter stating "whoops, I guess I lost" and walking away laughing with his friends. What about the light pecks I shared with my cousin Jay and best friend Farah while hiding in a closet at one of our homes, simply to prove that it wasn't a big deal?
By the time I reached Bryant Intermediate School it became apparent that there were many boys who seemed quite keen on kissing me, though for the life of me I could not figure out the reason. My friends accused me of playing coy and being a tease but I quickly developed a genuine fear of having an actual open-mouthed kiss where you didn't simply touch tongues, but you sucked on each other lips trying to see if it was fun, mundane or simply outright disgusting. I watched my best friend in 7th grade, Jill Beckstead kiss her summer boyfriend, Jared on the golf course behind her house in Rose Park where we would meet up with the boys from her neighborhood and remembering that there was NO WAY I was going to kiss Jared's friend simply because he and I were standing there watching Jill and Jared. I was also intensely distracted by the fact that Jill had a thick, dark mustache that was obvious to anybody within 5 feet of her. Did Jared not care? Was he so overwhelmed with the need to kiss a girl that a mustache was not going to get in his way? Did Jill not notice her mustache or was she just confident enough not to care? All I knew was that it made me sick to my stomach to watch her get ice cream stuck in her mustache then have all the confidence in the world to go kiss Jared and then a string of boys after him, one of whom being Michael May who was my crush. Incidentally she had no interest in him until I told her of my feelings, then she more or less told me I wouldn't know what to do with him so I should just leave it up to her.
By High School all I knew was that I was way behind and had some definite catching up to do. The problem was, I was petrified of actually performing the act and would disguise that fact with such a shocking sense of bravado, I look back through my 32-year-old lenses and am shocked at the kinds of jokes I was making involving sex when I honestly had no idea what sex actually entailed and am surprised I didn't get myself in a lot more trouble than I did.
My first "real" kiss came when I was 14-years-old and my boyfriend, Nate Dee, brought me flowers on Valentine's day and when I accepted them on my front porch and reached out to hug him, his gave me an extremely awkward closed-mouthed peck that was slightly off center and embarrassed me so much that I ended up not speaking to him for two weeks afterwards, causing him to break up with me at a late night "hang out" at Shellie Scott's house. I later learned that he and Laura Beesley started having heavy make-out sessions the night after Nate and I called it quits, which made me cry but was quickly brushed off by our mutual friends Dana and Shellie who basically told me that she was willing to give it to him, so why did it matter that he had moved on?
My senior year of High School came around and Anthony Catanzaro convinced me to ditch class with him to go watch television at my house as both of my parents were at work and I had a car. We drove to my house, both knowing what was going to happen and when he open-mouth kissed me I couldn't stop thinking about how weird his tongue felt and that our teeth were clashing and I was very uncomfortable with the way we were sitting. When he tried to sweep his hand across my chest, I pulled away and said I had to get back to school for 4th period. We drove back to school in silence and for the few remaining weeks of the school year he would wave to me from down the hall and his ex-girlfriend Laurie Ann convinced all the other senior girls I was a slut for moving in on him when they were not broken up as far as she was concerned, however none of this was Anthony's fault. I was the Hester Prynne who had lured him into my trap as only an experienced succubus such as myself could possibly be capable.
Once college came around I learned to love kissing. It has become one of my favorite ways of expressing affection. I had some terrible experiences where boys forced themselves on me and again tried to grope my breasts without any finesse, but I also had some wonderful romantic moments; kissing in cemeteries, walking around campus at night and hiding in corners in the basement of OSH.
Kissing remains one of my favorite things. I have been lucky to have experienced many first kisses in my adult life and can quite confidently say that I know the difference between a good kiss and a bad kiss. In my adult relationships I've tried to keep kissing special as opposed to a physical punctuation mark between you and your significant other, although there is something comforting about having a history with a person. There are many variations of kisses; passionate, hungry, polite, uninterested, forced -- the list goes on. I will say, in my personal experience the worst kiss I have ever received was from a man who got the idea somewhere that stabbing his tongue in and out of of my mouth forcefully, sometimes trying to sweep it around my teeth left me with the most disgusting feeling ever and I feel I can genuinely say I have experienced a truthfully horrible kiss. At the time I wondered why no woman before me had ever told him not to do that because there was nothing enjoyable about it, I had to stop and realize that I neglected to say anything as well, thus leaving him out there to stab his next victim. Perhaps someday someone will care enough about him to make it worth it to teach him something that seems simple; though I suppose everybody has some character defect they are unaware of that is glaringly obvious to those around them. I just pray I have people in my life to make me aware of my equivalent of a penetrating kiss so I can work on such a defect. In the meantime, I plan to keep up the kiss.