Do you remember your first kiss? How old were you? Who was it? Was it good, bad, memorable?
My first kiss occurred in the seventh grade. A few girls approached me at lunch one day and told me that their friend wanted to kiss me. It seemed like a strange request to me; while I was interested in kissing, I didn't think that's how it worked. Still constrained by traditional gender roles, I thought it was my responsibility to make the first move. Though I didn't particularly like the girl who wanted to kiss me - I was far more attracted to a Jewish girl with a bad reputation who sat in front of me in woodshop - I liked the fact that she came to me. At twelve years old, I really needed the ego boost her interest provided.
We kissed in the schoolyard one day not long after, either at recess or lunchtime. A small crowd had gathered, not unlike the crowd that gathers when two boys fight after school. The kiss was okay, not particularly memorable save for the fact that it was my first. It was neither a long, slow, passionate kiss - we were twelve - nor was it a quick "Let's get this over with so we can say we did" kiss. It seemed to me at the time that we wanted the kiss to be more intense than it actually was, but we weren't about to tongue wrestle. Overall, I enjoyed the experience. It was a relief to finally kiss a girl.
Shortly afterwards, her friends asked me if I wanted to go steady with her. It's kind of weird that she was still having her entourage do the talking for her even after we kissed, but she was a shy and soft-spoken girl, so I can probably let that go. At any rate, back then I saw nothing strange about it; I wasn't familiar with dating protocol, for lack of a better term. I had enjoyed the kiss, and I wanted to kiss her again, more often, maybe even with tongue, but at twelve I was mature enough to know that I wasn't ready to be someone's boyfriend. How could I? I wanted to play Nintendo and watch cartoons. I had very little money and I obviously didn't drive; the extent of our dating relationship would likely have included going to the mall or the movies. In theory I could have walked her home, but she and I took different buses and the two of us lived pretty far away from one another. I wasn't about to drop a dollar on a bus ride to her house, walk her from the bus stop to her front door, and catch another bus home. Simply put, I wasn't ready. I liked kissing, but I still wanted to be a kid. So I told her friends that I didn't want to go steady because she was too short for me. It was the only thing I could think of.
I'm pretty sure she and I never talked after that. Now that I think of it, I don't think we ever talked prior to the kiss. We went to different high schools, and other than a bit of guilt over hurting her - something I chalk up to the same adolescent immaturity that precluded me from going steady with her in the first place - over the years I didn't give her the amount of thought one might give his or her first kiss. Then one day she added me as a friend on Facebook. I'm pretty sure we've never exchanged a word, never commented on the other's status, never posted a happy birthday message. I'm tempted to ask if she remembers what an asshole I was when I was twelve.
I had my first kiss when I was in the fifth grade. I must have been ten years old. I was attending a birthday party at the home of one of my classmates. The entire class had been invited. Sometime before the cake was served and presents were opened, we played Spin the Bottle. The person I had to kiss was a cute blond boy with blue eyes. The kiss itself wasn't really good or bad, it was just a quick, awkward peck on the lips. The only aspect that was memorable was the situation, at a party in front of our entire class. Under different circumstances such a lackluster kiss would have long been forgotten by now.
The entire experience was nervewracking, not just the kiss but the entire game. As the bottle spun, I was filled with anxiety as I wondered who it would land on. Would it be the gross boy in class? Would the boy I had to kiss make fun of me afterwards? Would my classmates point and laugh at the way I kissed? Would they tease me at school afterwards? I was so nervous, and I vividly remember having butterflies in my stomach. But the kiss was over quickly, and then it was the next person's turn to spin the bottle. None of the other kids focused on us for too long, if they even focused on us at all.
My first real kiss, outside the boundaries of a childhood game, happened when I was thirteen years old. I was at a party, slow dancing with a cute boy to Madonna's song "Crazy For You". In the middle of the song, while we were dancing, he leaned in close and kissed me. Compared to my previous kiss, this one was a lot more exciting. We even opened our mouths and moved them a little, although there was no tongue. I had butterflies in my stomach, but it was a completely different feeling than it was during the other kiss. That time, I had been consumed with anxiety and nervousness. This time, I was excited.
I liked this boy a lot. He had dark hair and dark eyes, the complete opposite of the guy I kissed in the fifth grade. That, more than anything, is my "type", to this day. After the dance, we talked on the phone a little, but nothing really came of it. Still, he was a nice guy, and we stayed friends. I never got the sense that he was using me, or that there was anything less than genuine about the kiss. As far as first real kisses go, it was as good as I could have hoped.