Wednesday, December 08, 2004

This is the usual cornball, hopeless romantic stuff that you’ve come to expect from me. I have long since resigned from the Order of Hopeless Romantics, but every now and then I have to blow off a little steam.

Reflecting on My First Kiss

I may be off a week or so, but after 25 years, who cares. I checked the calendar, and it seems to me that this happened on a Saturday night not long after Thanksgiving when the holiday movies were in the theaters1.

I was 17, and experiencing a great deal of angst because I had still not experienced my first kiss. I had been dating Elsie (who was very stunning at our 20 year class reunion, by the way) up until the very night of my 17th birthday. After dating her for 6 months or so, I thought it was time to have a grown-up kiss. She was emphatic that it was not. I was humiliated and discouraged2. I took this as a sign that we should break up.

Linda and I were pals, so I had confided the situation to her. Lo and behold, we started dating a little while later (like the next week). More than anything, I’m guessing that she just wanted to help me past this problem. I was quite smitten with her. I had had a crush3 on her since freshman year when we rode the same bus. She wore braces at the time, and I often thought about what her smile would look like when they came off. I was a Yankee with a horrible complexion and Yankee clothes4. And absolutely no self-confidence. None. Nunca. Zip. Zero.

Perhaps a sense of humor.

Anyhow, we’d been dating for a couple of weeks. You know, going to the movies. That was the extent of my dating capabilities at that time. I really liked her. We would flirt with the idea of smooching. I was so pathetically frightened by the idea of screwing up that even though we would sit in my car in a secluded area, ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN. It was just a matter of time before she lost patience and pronounced me to be the loser that I, in fact, was.

But one night, after watching the classic Electric Horseman with Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and Willie Nelson (“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” was the title track) she issued me an ultimatum: Kiss me or kiss me good-bye.

When faced with difficult decisions, I’ve prided myself on making the correct choice. In no time at all, she brought me up to speed on the whole kissing issue5. As it turned out, my angst was misdirected, and it turns out that Elsie was the psycho, not me.

Now, after 25 years, I’d like to thank Linda for her patience and guidance. It remains a memorable experience for me6.

1 Actually, I’m sure she has little recollection of this event because she wasn’t nearly as screwed up as I was.

2 And yes, I am such a rat bastard that when I saw Elsie at the reunion and saw that she was 8 months pregnant with her 4th or 5th child, it took every ounce of my being not to quip, “I see you must finally be French Kissing”.

3 Okay, I had a crush on every girl, but that’s my problem.

4 I mean, come on…the platform shoes and the Starsky & Hutch sweater? You know, the oversized cardigan with the sash? I loved that sweater. I got beat up the first (and last) time I wore it to school.

5 Now, I realize her husband, Joe, is probably reading this, too. For the record, let me just say that I got my first kiss at seventeen, and lost my virginity7 at twenty-three8. I didn’t move forward from kissing until I was in college, and I had to travel several counties away to accomplish that.

6 And yes, I was a complete ass9 to break up with her. I was caving in to my jealous buddies. I was 17, remember?

7 And no, I won't post a detailed account of that event in February of 2010.

8 And if you thought my first kiss was angst-ridden, you should have seen me that night. Well, maybe not.

9 After careful reflection, I stand by my use of the word “ass”. Linda and I were not destined to grow old together, but she should have dumped me when she was good and ready.

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