Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Kisses: Magic or Mayhem?

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? 


Jen said...

It was... neither? I mean, it was nice as kisses went. I was 18 and he was the friend of a friend. After talking most of the night, he leaned forward to kiss me and, having never been kissed before, I also leaned forward. He walked me to my dorm room and left like a gentlemen. He went to a college about an hour away, so we texted each other a few times, but as there wasn't any sort of a spark, neither of us tried to make it into something it wasn't. I remember it fondly, but it was hardly earth-shattering!

CareyCorp said...

I don't remember which of two boys in seventh grade was my first kiss. One was...nice. And one boy had chew in his mouth. *gag* So no fireworks until much later. ;)

Melissa Landers said...

Actually, my first kiss was amazing, but that's probably because it didn't happen until I was sixteen and the boy was a year older and had a wealth of experience. He was my first boyfriend and first love, and the kiss happened at the end of our first date, when he'd walked me home from the Oktoberfest (we lived in Munich then). Just the right combination of soft lips and a tiny flicker of tongue, nothing wet or sloppy. Sigh. :-)

Ginger Calem said...

My first kiss was horrifying. So, even though I'm sorry yours was too, Kim, it's nice to know I'm not alone! I've always wished I could go back in time and erase that first disappointing kiss and skip to my second kiss which was full of butterflies and tingling limbs. :)

I hope my children will have 2nd kisses as their 1st kisses.

Lorie Langdon said...

Kim - I *love* this post! Thank you for sharing, not only your embarrassing first kiss experience, but the redemption of that first kiss with your true love. It makes me smile.
My first kiss was not good. I was painfully naive for a sophomore, and when a popular senior boy asked me out I was beside myself with excitement. After our date (where I slumped over the whole night so it wouldn’t be so obvious that I was five inches taller than him!) we parked on a hill overlooking the middle school (Oh, so romantic!) and he leaned over, looked into my eyes…and shoved his tongue down my throat. I was so shocked, that I bit his tongue! Actually bit it!! I still cringe thinking about it.
Thankfully, I had better kisses after that horrendous first experience. When my husband kissed me for the first time, it was magic. So, I agree that it is well worth it to kiss a few frogs, to find your prince. :D

Kerri Carpenter said...

The expectations of my first kiss came via Guiding Light, which I had been watching with my mother since I was about 3 years old. In my mind, we would kiss, then he would be in some kind of massively bizarre accident and die. Then I would meet his identical twin brother, fall in love with him and kiss him. Then the original guy would return from the dead. Oh yeah, this would all happen while I wore a super glittery dress with shoulder pads.

Alas, soap operas might not be the best representation of real first kisses. Mine happened in the cafeteria during lunch. This kid, Jeremy, said he liked me and we should kiss. I said, fine, but it better be like Guiding Light. We kissed. I remember thinking it was an awkward sensation. Then I waited for him to die or his twin brother to show up. Didn't happen. ;-)

Kimberly said...

Thanks for stopping by. I, too, was ruined by Beth, Phillip and Lujack. Kisses on beaches while on horseback...pillow fights...yummy stuff for a young girl. LOL.
I never really wanted all that. But I did think I'd get a declaration of undying love and some fireworks exploding overhead. Oh, well.

Avery Flynn said...

Sixth grade. Jeremy Carr. The front porch swing. I was so scared my mom would come home at any moment and bust my butt. Oh, Jeremy you were the beginning in my lifelong love affair with making out. :)

Kim- Great post. My cheeks hurt from smiling so hard.

Kimberly said...

I'm with you. Disastrous first kisses only pave the way for the right ones. The boy who kissed me for the first time wasn't a frog...just an inexperienced and overzealous boy who tried a bit too hard. LOL.

And Ginger,
If you had it to do all over again, you probably wouldn't go back and erase it because that experience somehow shaped your perceptions of love and chemistry (it's not just a subject in school :-) and learning to fix the problem. I learned to pull back from an invading tongue in future kisses. LOL. It became a gift. :-)

Kimberly said...

I loved your book! And I can tell by reading it that you did indeed have a long love affair with making out...if your characters are any indication. Steamy stuff.
Your kiss was on a swing? Like the picture of Joey and Dawson? How cute. Wish mine would have been on a swing at least. It would have been easy to use the momentum of the swing to cut things short. LOL.
Thanks for stopping by!

RandomRanter said...

My first kiss wasn't bad, it happened walking back from a party . I assume I do not have to count the one on the playground in second grade when a kindergartener tackled me. (Blech.)

Kimberly said...

You're not allowed to comment with that story! :-)
That's so sweet though. Love the little bit of tongue and not big, sloppy St. Bernard kisses. That was the second guy I kissed. Not the St. Bernard but the sweet, slow and barely-there tongue. Kevin at Torpitt Lodge in Canada, how I thank you to this very day! He rescued me from the nightmare of kissing. How very yummy he was.....*super big sigh* Enough said.

Kimberly said...

How in the world can you NOT remember which of the two guys was your first kiss? Jeez Louise, I still remember his full name...LOL. That's darn right pitiful. But maybe the chew messed things up in your head. :-)

Kimberly said...

Hardly earth shattering is actually a decent first kiss. Very few of them are. At least he was a gentleman and sweet about it. I cannot believe you were in college! That's amazing. Truly. I can't even COUNT the guys I kissed before I hit the campus...
I don't mean to make it sound bad, but I truly was on a mission throughout high school to perfect the art of kissing. Such a lost art....
But, that's all I did!!!! Kiss. Still love it.

Kimberly said...

No. You don't have to count your kindergarten tackler. If he didn't slide you the tongue and it didn't last past ten seconds, it shouldn't count.
I love the first kisses when you're walking back from somewhere. Unless you're walking away from a basketball game and towards a nursery. In that case, make a U-turn. :-)

Pintip said...

Love this post, Kim. Thank you for sharing both your stories, the first kiss and the first kiss with your husband. Both are wonderful in their own way. I'm definitely in the camp with the yucky first kisses.

Kimberly said...

Thanks, Pintip!
Yes, even lousy kisses are wonderful in their own way because when the good ones come along, you know it. :-)
Couldn't be more specific about your yucky first kiss? He probably wasn't chewing tobacco like Carey's or trying to fuse your teeth together like mine, so I'm sure it wasn't that bad....

Shea Berkley said...

Such a cute post, Kim!

I love talking about first kisses. They crack me up. The ones that really make me laugh are the hit and run kisses. One second you're talking about algebra and the next the guy's lips are plastered to yours. Frankly, I had no idea how exciting math was to guys until that moment. Neither did my mom. I got a new tutor pretty quickly after that.

Kimberly said...

Oh, Shea! That's priceless! You crack me up. Maybe I need to rethink my opposition to math. Hmmmm. Bet that spiced up the lesson.

Shelley Coriell said...

Fun post, Kim. Sorry your first kiss was so traumatic. Mine was sweet and wonderfully pain-free. I was fifteen, he was sixteen. Both first-timers. We were sitting on the sofa of my living room holding hands and talking for two hours. He finally said something like, I would like to kiss you. And I said something like, Yes, I'd like that. :-)

Lea Nolan said...

I loved this post, Kim! I was totally there with you, in the nursery, watching as you strained to unhitch from his grill! Yikes!

My first kiss was totally ho hum - a 7th grade spin the bottle game. But there were several boys in attendance, so at least there was *variety* LOL! Looking back I realize all those fumbly or flat-out bad kisses have a purpose - without them, we wouldn't appreciate the good ones! For me, it took a while to find a guy with just the right size mouth and lips, and perfect technique, but eventually I did, and nearly 22 years later, I still remember my magical first date with my husband!

Kimberly said...

That's just about the sweetest first kiss ever! I'm jealous. But then again, I completely appreciated Kevin, my second kisser, and maybe wouldn't have appreciated how truly great he was! :-)
But I think it was so sweet that he asked permission and that you had the forethought to give it. :-) How very civilized of you both. LOL.

Kimberly said...

Oh, man, I spun me some bottles in my day. LOL. The nice thing about spinning the bottle is the experimenting without committing. Then you could cross some boys off the Kiss List. Yes, I had a Kiss List and the boys were graded. I was a heartless kisser. But then again, I started off very disillusioned. LOL.

Katrina Snow said...

Your blog made me laugh, Kim. After those early years of chasing boys in elementary school I turned into a shy teen, with not only braces on my teeth, but a huge one for my back. Anyway, my first real kiss came during my first semester at college, and unfortunately it was sort of lackluster. Just a quick peck from a sweet guy that I wasn't really into. I've had some dismal, interesting and steamy first kisses since then and often do think about putting them into my books.

I remember one guy with a tongue that moved like a windshield wiper on double time. Way too fast and sort of aimless. :) I kept wondering what his objective was with that particular technique. I'm not sure he knew.

Kimberly said...

That just cracks me up! Love the windshield wiper technique. That's one I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing! But I've had the darter. The ones where you end up counting the times his tongue darts in and out your mouth. As I hate math or anything that involves counting, it wasn't my fondest kiss.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Aw, I love that first kiss story about you and your hubby. I'm sure it made up for the less-than-perfect first-ever kiss. Happy anniversary!

Apparently, my first kiss was at age six. He was my neighbour, also six. I have no recollection of this but my sisters do. I do remember playing spin the bottle seven years later. It was kind of magical in that I had to kiss the same guy every time he or I spun the bottle.

Kimberly said...

Check you out, you early bloomer. Six! Wow... :-)
Playing spin the bottle seems to be a memory for many of us. I spun me some bottles in my time! LOL