Kiss Me, You Fool!
(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)
I recently wrote a post about TLC's "The Virgin Diaries," and while the truth is that I love a good trainwreck, I've realized that my horrified fascination with this particular spectacle goes deeper than that. It's not (just) that I love seeing people behave in cringe-worthy ways. It's not (just) that I'm fascinated by the psychology behind life choices different than my own.
No. See, I've realized that the primary reason I'm unable to turn away from this particular show is that I take kissing very seriously. Really! I view kissing as one of the singular pleasures of this mortal life.
[And I’m not using “kissing” as a euphemism, here. I have similar feelings about, er, more intimate activities as well. But I feel particularly strongly about kissing because 1) it’s fairly harmless, even if you decide to engage in it casually, 2) it’s okay for most everyone (excepting some of the folks on that TV show), even not-quite-adults, to share with a romantic interest, and 3) it’s just plain happy-making. For most people, anyway.]
Watching people kiss so awkwardly in "The Virgin Diaries" was sort of like watching a horror film and hearing the ingenue say, "I'll be right back…" while everyone in the theatre screams, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!" at the screen. You see the horror that's about to unfold and you are powerless to stop it, even though it's completely avoidable. As in: people in horror movies should never split off and go somewhere alone. And as in: people should never reach adulthood utterly unable to lock lips with someone in a way that is enjoyable rather than scary.
Let's face it: nobody really knows how to kiss, before they've done it. You kind of know. You've maybe surreptitiously practiced on your pillow or your hand or your poster of Sting (okay, that last one might've just been me). But the moment comes, and if you're lucky, you just… figure it out. Together. Trial and error can be a beautiful thing, provided that both participants are enjoying themselves.
So I realized that I cannot remember my very first kiss. Isn't that sad?? I mean, I know who it was with. But what I do remember was my very first French kiss. Who doesn't? I'd have to say that I don't know a single woman who doesn't remember that first jolt of "OH GOD THERE IS A TONGUE IN MY MOUTH." Because it's weird and foreign and maybe jarring, the first time. It's the kind of thing that makes a mark on your memory, and later—preferably much later, when you're all grown up and recalling something from teenagerhood—you find yourself swapping these retellings at a cocktail party, while everyone involved laughs the knowing laugh.
I was 14. We were already boyfriend and girlfriend, though up to that point those titles had mostly involved holding hands as often as possible and a rather chaste good-night peck after our dates. But that day, we'd gone to the movies. Nothing good was playing, and we ended up at "101 Dalmatians," which I'd never seen. He couldn't believe I'd never seen it, but it was true. We watched for a good ten or fifteen minutes, holding hands and kind of jokingly poking at each other over who knows what before he kissed me on the cheek. And I kissed him on his cheek in response. And then he kissed me on the lips. And then suddenly there was an extra tongue in my mouth.
He didn't know what he was doing, either, of course. But, um, we pretty much figured it out by the end of the movie (though I pretty much still hadn't seen it after that particular "viewing"). That was following by a lot more kissing, with that same boy, and then later, other boys. I feel fortunate that I got it all out of the way pretty early in life.
My very favorite story of a first French kiss comes from Joshilyn Jackson, and I think you'll like it too, if you want to check it out.
I don't know, I think the bottom line for me is that figuring out how to kiss is part of growing up, not something to be saved until adulthood and then nervously tested in front of your entire family. I respect the choice to wait, I guess (though I'll admit I find waiting to even kiss a little… extreme), but for me that first awkward kiss happened exactly the way I think it should: In the dark, when I was young, and early enough that it was later just a fond—rather than embarrassing—memory.
Will you tell me about your first kiss? Or what you hope it will be like, if it hasn't happened yet?
(read more Mir here)