It’s every young girl’s dream. And it goes something like this: Their eyes meet across a crowded room (or junior high dance floor) and for a moment, time stands still. Somehow they’re standing in front of each other (magnetic pull of young love) and the lights dim on the dance floor (cafeteria) and he slowly, every so slowly lowers his lips to hers. And WOW! The earth quakes. The sparks fly. Lips are a-tingle with happiness.
It’s every girl’s dream, and, yes, it was once mine too. Was that how my first kiss happened? Not even close. Not even in the right ballpark.
Mine went a little something like this: There was a loud basketball game. There was a boy I kind of liked. He asked me to go for a walk. My friends nudged each other and giggled while my anticipation skyrocketed. Finally. My first kiss was about to happen. I walked with him down a long hallway towards the back of the school where the nursery (yep, I said nursery) was located. I know. It’s weird that a school would have a nursery when I was in ninth grade, but I went to a Christian school that doubled as the church, and THAT’S a subject for a whole different blog.
So, there we were. We knew what was expected, and we didn’t wait long. Whoever wrote about first kisses and said it’s impossible for braces to get stuck together clearly wasn’t in that nursery at that moment in time. When our braces weren’t trying to permanently fuse our teeth together, he was cramming his tongue down my throat like my esophagus was the Promised Land. I tried not to gag.
I think he moaned, and I wasn’t certain if it was due to passion or pain. I had to wonder if his gums felt like they were being ripped to ribbons. I remember looking over his shoulder at the clock on the wall and wondering how much longer I had to endure his exploration. How much longer my gums could. Finally it was over.
When we walked back down the hallway hand in hand, I saw my friends slide into the bathroom, and I told Sir Tongues A Lot that I’d see him later. As soon as I pushed my way through the door, they practically tackled me for the exciting information. And I…cried. Yes indeedy. I cried. They thought he’d backed out at the last minute, and I assured them that he hadn’t. They probably would have understood my words better if I weren’t flushing my bleeding gums with water from the school sink.
I read recently a quote from Leonardo di Caprio about his first kiss, and it made me feel much better. He said, “The first kiss I had was the most disgusting thing in my life. The girl injected about a pound of saliva into my mouth, and when I walked away I had to spit it out.” I guess that puts a whole new spin on swapping spit.
So, my first kiss? Not all it was supposed to be. But then again, I lay the blame for my disappointment on Harlequin’s doorstep. How could a junior high school boy ever measure up to the heroes in romance books? And should they?
Should we ask girls to lower their expectations? I say, “Hell to the no!” Keep your expectations high. No matter when the kiss happens that curls your toes and has you yelling, “Eureka!” girls deserve THAT experience. I’ve told my daughters my first kiss story, and we all laugh, but I have ulterior motives. I admit it. I don’t want my daughters to settle. I want them to expect the fireworks and the tingly feelings and the excitement of first love. I also want them to know that there are many chances at happiness, and they’re expected to find them many times over.
I also like to tell my daughters the story of when their dad kissed me for the first time. It was many, many years after my braces had been removed, and it didn’t take place in a nursery. We had been friends for a while, and I had just about given up on the idea of moving along from the friendship zone. We were walking out of a bar at the end of the night, and he just grabbed my arm, spun me around and kissed me. And, yes, it lived up to all my expectations. My mouth hurt the next day, but for a far better reason. We kissed for hours on the side of the street in the pouring down rain. And I never wanted to stop.
My kids love to hear that story. Yesterday was our twelfth anniversary, and I still don’t get tired of kissing my husband.
I love to write about first kisses, and I especially love to write about teens falling in love because I remember it so clearly. Every feeling, every emotion was so close to the surface. Even now, it doesn’t take much to reach inside and pull them out. I’m afraid I’ve plagiarized my own experiences in my books far too many times to count, but I smile every time. I’ve relived my first kiss in my mind repeatedly and I have to smile at the girl I was then. I wish I could go back to that hallway that night. Not to stop a disastrous kiss. No. I’d pull her aside afterwards and give her a hug and tell her to never stop believing in love and happy endings. I’d tell her to keep her expectations high and that one day, years in her future, someone would live up to them.
I’d like to end with a more inspiring quote than our dear Leonardo’s. This one is by Emil Ludwig: “The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.”What do you recall of your first kiss? Was it during spin the bottle? At a football game? In your gameroom while your parents played cards upstairs with his parents? Tell me, tell me! Was it magic or mayhem?