First Kiss, was Yours as Awkward as Mine? Happy Valentines Day From Production Inc.

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.

valentinesMy first kiss came during my 16th year. There can only be one first kiss, I just wish there had been a do-over.

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.

Sweet 16 was the holiest of grail when it came to puberty (today I think it is age 11). It may have been okay in those days to not have yet rounded the bases, but it was totally unacceptable to have reached your sweet 16th year and never been kissed.

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.

It happened.

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

Daniel Frisch Head of Production

Daniel Frisch
Head of Production

32 responses to “First Kiss, was Yours as Awkward as Mine? Happy Valentines Day From Production Inc.”

  1. Sandy McCoy says:

    Oh Danny!! too funny! the angst! I can only think of Suzanne Sorrel & Katie Wennechuck!? Right or wrong?? Love the memory, thanks. BTw, what was your question for good ole Mr gangsted? can I send my 2 boy’s sex questions to you for help?:). single mom needs all the help I can get! have a great valentine’s night! take care


    • Sandy, My G-d, are you kidding me?? I didn’t think for a second I would have to change the names to protect the innocent! Shame on me!! That said, I cannot confirm or deny who I am speaking about (just in case they are innocent 🙂 I have so many stories from our collective traumatized youth (isn’t everyone traumatized by their adolescence)?– my EP is going to kill me as I was supposed to blog about our expansion into Amsterdam, instead I am caught up in the holiday. Thankfully, it will take 99 more “What was your question” before I am obliged to answer it, tall order and thankfully I do not anticipate having to answer it because it is EMBARRASSING. Happy Valentines Day and weekend!

  2. Katie (Wennechuk) Thomas says:

    I’m so glad I happened to see this.

    Truth be told I was a base rounder and kissed all the cute boys. #lusty

    • Amy Weisfeld Bailie says:

      With 1100 of us in our year alone, you didn’t stand a chance in identity protection or in avoiding the Gangsted question…fun to go down memory lane. Of course most of us knew you had 2 older ( protective) sisters b/c most ( if not all) of us had a crush on YOU!!!

      • Ha, too funny! Thank you for the crush remark, but I seriously doubt that! I may have to require that everyone let’s on about their Gangsted question, level the playing field a bit. BTW, we may be doing a horror film in Arizona in April, will let you know (I will definitely fly in for part of it), and we’ll get together for sure– (was David in Gangsted’s class too)?

        • Amy Weisfeld Bailie says:

          It seems to be a shame that most of us are turning 50 this year and are only know learning so much about high school! David’s memory isn’t as sharp as yours so he doesn’t recall his own question but he, too, wants yours revealed ! Sad you didn’t know about all of the girls crushing on you cause we would now have had more of your material to read!!!! Let us know about your visit so we can see you!

          • Will do for sure. Regarding David, I don’t believe him– he can tell me his question in private and I’ll agree to keep it that way… until next Valentine’s day at least 🙂

  3. Katie (Wennechuk) Thomas says:

    Oh yeah all the girls had a crush on Danny. #tigerbeat

  4. Scary…2 Katie ‘s with the same last name…but I graduated a year after you and Katie W. Your blog is hilarious, and brought back the memory of my first kiss! Unlike your situation, I really liked this guy…umm…until he kissed me! CARWASH has always been the term I’ve used to describe it (one really shouldn’t have to wipe their mouth off after being kissed right)?! Ugh! (Luckily he went to another high school so you all can quit right now trying to figure out who it was)! Let’s just say I was as traumatized by the prospect of my second kiss as you were by your first! It took several months before my PTSD over that first kiss diminished! I just assumed that all kisses were that way…..I didn’t have a Mr.Gangsted to ask! Thank Goodness my second kiss was very different…otherwise I’d probably be a Nun now! So btw what WAS your question?!

  5. David Jackson says:

    Hey Dan,

    Since we were the last class graduating class of NCHS as a 3 year school, was it Junior or Senior prom?

  6. All right, I must be completely blind, but who is this “most popular” girl in school? I never even really thought about that from a NCHS standpoint. Maybe it was the group I ran around with. There were lots of people that were popular for a variety of reasons. I assume you mean the hottest girl. For me the hottest girl at any time was the one who would give me the time of day. I remember a cheerleader Lori Coons? in one of my classes and seemed like a lot of guys thought she was hot and she sat across from me in a class I would sit and stare right past her at this girl named molly who sat behind her and the sight of molly would just make me melt (never spoke a single word to molly my entire HS life…still bumbed about it). I am more baffled that it took you 16 years to kiss a girl Danny. You seemed to be pretty “popular” in sunday school. My guess is that you were a very respectful young man when it came to women then and that is honorable. Me, I was shy beyond compare, but I still made out with a 28 y/o women when I was 15 (used to cut her lawn, she didn’t have the 20 bucks that day….i’m not kidding). Next girl I kissed though, I was probably around 15, a freshman.

    boy…I need to write that up…that whole lawn cutting thing

    • WOW,now we no longer have to wonder how the cheetah evolved! Pretty impressive indeed. I used to cut lawns as well (in Pickwick), the good news they paid (and paid well), the bad news is the closest I ever came to being kissed in that line of work was a bee sting on the leg. Yes, Lori Coons was on the hot list, but she was shrouded in controversy (maybe a story for another Valentines Day). I remember those Sunday school days… but for some reason, remember our hockey days even more.

  7. Diana Mercer says:

    Louis Profeta, I MUST hear the lawnmower story! And Danny, I need to know the question for that poor teacher!

    Of course Katie kissed all the boys! If I could go back in time, I would, too! although I did my share of running around before high school ended, to be sure. I’m pretty sure I can be credited with a few firsts for some shy Braingame types.

    My first kiss was gross…..and it breaks my heart to now know that it was right in front of Van Hostetler, who apparently had a big crush on me and I had the biggest, most long-standing crush on him. Apparently he didn’t have any idea how to “close the deal” (in a 1980 Indiana innocent way) so I ended up kissing one of his friends. #bitefist #doover #mulligan

    And back to Indiana for a sec…..when I tell people I didn’t sleep with my high school boyfriend, they can’t believe it. Of course, the reason I didn’t is that it turns out that he’s gay (and out, but that’s his story to tell, not mine). But I don’t think it would’ve been particularly weird even if he was straight….we were all pretty straight-laced by today’s standards, IMHO. Or am I fooling myself?

    Awesome blog! and thanks to Katie for forwarding it!

    • Well as far as my question, I think we are 4 down, 96 to go as Louis and David did not ask the question, thankfully. The hash-tags are hysterical. I remember the name Van Hostetler, probably because we had a teacher named Hostetler? Don’t sweat the gay high school boyfriend, where I live (Los Angeles) everyone is gay now (or lying about it)… hey, wait a minute…

  8. Katie Thomas says:

    I remember when I was 16 I thought 50 year old men were disgusting. My husband is 58 and he is so dreamy and married sex is sublime. As a young girl though there is something about kissing boys that is so special. Boys are amazing. #dreamy, #teenidol, #lashes, #rosycheeks

    And there was nothing better than getting a pair of worn jeans from a boy. They could break in some Levi’s.

  9. Linda Kerr Rosenthal says:

    Wow, great read Danny and I loved reading everyone’s comments and replys. If we could all only have a HS adolescent first kiss do over . Mine was less than desirable without any stretch of the imagination. I love to hear or 50 year old versions of stories… Would love to hear more….
    #sloppygross #traumatized #gagme50times.

    • Nice to hear I am not on an island as far as my experience, tho I have to assume there is someone who had a great first kiss (tho Dr. Profetta’s qualifies). Sounds like the “car wash” kiss is not alone as well. I haven’t joined the 50 club yet… #AARP #I remember when rock was young.

  10. Sally Partenheimer Claffey says:

    Fun read, Danny! My first kiss was with the brother of a friend and I only kissed him because they all were all laughing and making fun of me because I had never kissed a boy. Not very special. And even though I don’t normally hashtag…#firstkissfail

    BTW, now that Katie has sent this to everyone we ever went to high school with, you might as well just tell us what you asked Mr. Gangsted.

  11. Louis Profeta says:

    I’m trying to figure out where the lawn mower story fits into my next book on spirituality. Though come to think about it the word “god” was probably invoked. I think I might have to keep that one to myself though I do smile every time I drive on 79 the street. Katie kissed all the boys? How’d I miss out on that?

  12. Mary Begovich says:

    Ah, the memories!! Danny I do remember you as being a cutie but my heart belonged to Mike Head….who didn’t know I was alive! And then I met John and that turned out pretty well! 😉 Thanks for the fun read!

    • Karen Smith Grund says:

      Why was I thinking Suzanne Fitzgerald?!?!? LOL of course it was Sorrel! Such an awesome story Danny! So funny that you didn’t think to change the names to protect the innocent! LOL!!!…
      Katie remember prom dinner at Lynne’s!! Who did we kiss that night? Who drove? Chris?
      So it was Church camp for me…after eating a 3 musketeers bar! So we nicknamed kisses 3 musketeers!
      LOL yes Thanks Katie for the post and cheers to older men! Danny we all had a crush on you!

  13. Laurie Stevens O'Rourke says:

    What a blast from the past! Count me in as another for the question reveal. 🙂 It is pretty funny to look back and laugh at ourselves from all those years ago. My learning from this blog is to always protect the names of the innocent and/or guilty! HAHA!

  14. Katie (Wennechuk) Thomas says:

    For the record the first boy I ever kissed was Peter Gutman in the North Willow clubhouse after someone’s party…lying on the coats that were piled up on the floor. There was a girl I made out with before Peter who was actually my “real first kiss” but I will omit the name in case she doesn’t remember or would rather forget her homoerotic foray into spit swapping. #recreationallesbian

    • Diana Mercer says:

      Katie! I’d be a #recreationallesbian with you anyday!!! LOL. Kissing on the coats at one of those clubhouse parties–that would have been so tantalizing and fun! Nobody ever kisses on the coat pile at a party anymore. Sigh.

  15. Katie Thomas says:

    Diana….I hope that’s a promise 🙂

  16. Donna Sims says:

    Wow! How fun has this been? Great memories. Danny you can add me to the “crush list”! But, it was not meant to be! My first kiss, no one cares. But I have LOVED reading about everyone else’s! Fun memories from a crazy 3- year high school. Where did the time go?

  17. NCHS Secret Admirer Class of 1982 says:

    WOW! This 1982 Senior class year in N Indy reall did “make a scene!” All the commentary seems to coming from some very succesfull & popular folks at our prior school. I still reside in Indpls & things have changed quite a bit in town.We have lost a dozen or so classmates from te graduating class. I home we can all remain on this earth for many years to come. Where did the time go? As for the smooches I guess I missed out on alot of the loose lips from those commenting on here. Bye for now Panthers!

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