My first kiss? Hmmm… I looked mine up in the dictionary and saw the word, “awkward.”
Suzanne was far and away the most popular girl in school. How popular was she? She was so popular, it was a curse if you were the boy she liked and the feeling was not mutual. The curse meant no other girl on the planet would dare look at you. Not only did Suzanne like me, she liked me for three years, beginning when we were age 13. Do you know how long three years is to a thirteen year old? Truth is, no one could believe I had no interest in the most popular girl in school (and this was a big school, our class was over 1,000 students), but it had less to do with Suzanne, and more to do with my maturation—I was still in cootie shots. So, I was cursed twice. First, I had no eyes for Suzanne and second, even if I did, I wouldn’t know what to do with them.
At age thirteen I am not going to tell you what Jimmy was doing sexually or even Darren—(Darren was rounding the bases with girls in the classroom!)… I was sooo far behind. One thing I remember at age 13 was Mr. Gangsted’s sex education class. It had more do with anatomy than anything else. Sure, my parents would slip material under my door to help fill in the blanks, but these books rarely answered what we really wanted to know. But, one day, Mr. Gangsted’s class did. He came up with a brilliant idea. He asked that we write down on a piece of paper any question we wanted to know, anonymously, and he would answer the questions to the class. Now, If 100+ people reply to this blog with, “I want to know your question,” then I will tell you my question, and the answer. I can guarantee it’s not one that many people, if any, would ask or know the answer.
So, for three years, anything and everything social—cotillion, proms, Friday night football games, etc., I was always under Suzanne’s curse. It wasn’t that Suzanne wasn’t attractive, she was. But sometimes in life there is a difference between what boys see as attractive in a girl, and what girls see as attractive in a girl. And to all of the girls in my Jr. High school, Suzanne was the prettiest—the Sophia Loren, the Isabella Rossellini (and to most of the boys too), I just didn’t get the memo. What I did see was Suzanne pitching a shutout, meaning first base (that first kiss), was only going to happen through her. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Darren and others were rounding the bases like the world was ending tomorrow.
And, I was ok with that, for now, because I was too afraid to kiss anyone, anyway. And, with Suzanne in my corner, I was given a hall pass. I had street cred. I was popular by association. But, it came with a price. With the exception of the one rogue girl, Katie (who I liked, but was too afraid to do anything about it), no other girl would even look at me for fear of incurring Suzanne’s wrath.
But then came that sweet 16th year. You can run up to that point in life, but you can no longer hide.
And as fate would have it, Suzanne’s sweet 16th birthday coincided with our prom, and of course I was her date. Now, to this day I scratch my head wondering, how the entire school knew that Suzanne had never been kissed, yet assumed I had. I guess it came with my hall pass to popularity—the assumption being I had at least made it to first base. But I hadn’t. How could I have? I was under Suzanne’s curse. Sure, there was Katie, who batted eyes at me because she didn’t care what people thought of her, but Katie had a reputation for rounding bases (turned out to be gossip) which scared me even more!
So, my sweet 16 should have been about going to the prom with the most popular girl in school—every guy’s dream, right? But no, to the entire school, (hell, it seemed like to the entire world), my prom night was about one thing, and one thing only, Suzanne’s very first kiss.
So, you would think I was asking myself, “why me? Why do I have to be the one to deliver her first kiss? What about my first kiss?” But it wasn’t about that anymore—that ship had sailed. Now don’t get me wrong, ordinarily I wouldn’t have mind going to the prom with Suzanne– she was pretty, she was popular, and we got on like the best of friends. But, none of that mattered on prom night. The only thing that mattered was Suzanne had never been kissed. So the question I kept asking myself, wasn’t “Why me?” but rather, “How???” Why did everyone assume I knew how to kiss Suzanne?? I had never kissed anyone on the lips before, (except for my Hungarian grandmother who kissed everyone on the lips)—this was stressing me out big time. My entire class held me responsible for Suzanne’s first kiss, yet they took for granted it was mine as well. I wondered how everybody else got through their first kiss? I had two older sisters, I wanted to ask them, but they would have laughed and used it against me. I literally practiced on my pillow. I had two demons to battle. How do you kiss a girl for the first time? And, how do you kiss a girl for the first time when you are not attracted to her in that way—it would be like kissing your own sister–Ugh!
So, off to the prom we go—tuxedo and boutonniere, gown and corsage in tow. It was a double date with my best friend and his girlfriend– big mistake. The problem with double dating on that night was there was no escaping destiny. We had witnesses. An answer to the question, “did Suzanne finally get her very first kiss?” OMG, kill me now. At least if we had gone by ourselves, we could have kept it quiet, let people assume all was right in the world. Certainly, I would not have said anything if Suzanne didn’t. But, no sense in dealing with the hypothetical, what’s done is done. Anyway, on this prom night I received more high fives, than LeBron James after he won his first NBA title. And for what?—I hadn’t done anything yet! Everyone was congratulating me in advance, knowing this was the night Suzanne was going to be kissed for the very first time.
So, the prom ended (why did it have to end?), and our dates drive us to Suzanne’s home. I get two final high fives from my friend and his girlfriend… and off Suzanne and I go to her front door. The stoop could not have been lit any brighter (not even by a 20K light). It was so bright, the entire world could see us. So bright, we could be seen from outer space. So bright even her parents could see us through the wooden doors.
And so, there it went. For the entire world to see. Suzanne’s (and my) first kiss. I am clueless, I am nervous, and I am begging for it to be at least surreal in order to take away some of the sting…
I leaned in… I focused on those waiting lips…
And, that’s that.
Our very first kiss.
It was so innocent, so brief… and so outrageously mediocre.
How could it not be? two newbies.
No do-over, no encore, but at least we did it and now the rest of the world could finally go on about its business.
A funny thing happened that night, thinking back.
Suzanne’s curse finally lifted. Instead of continuing to be the prince in her eyes, I think I may have in fact turned into the toad. But at least I was freed. Freed to live another day. Freed to face a different pitcher. Freed to round the bases like a normal adolescent. Freed to have my questions answered by someone other than Mr. Gangsted. Freed to be kissed by Katie…
And to learn, no matter the kiss, a kiss is always better than no one to kiss at all.
Happy Valentines Day from Production Inc