Do you remember when I told you–my faithful readers–that every pivotal moment in my life has always turned out to be not what I had expected?
My first kiss was no exception.
I was twelve at the time. It was the summer of 1976. I graduated from having a butchered, short, wiry head of hair into a shag haircut like Carol Brady. I also discovered Loves Baby Soft perfume and wore it religiously along with washing my hair in Prell while throwing in some Sun-In on days I would bake in the sun to help escalate my chances in getting skin cancer.
Not that I even knew there was the potential for skin cancer at the time.
I was also allowed to wear–with permission from my Italian mother–mascara and blush with Lip Smackers lip gloss. It was only when I entered high school that I was allowed to wear any sort of make-up. And, when I mean “any sort of make-up” that would be relegated to foundation and eye shadow.
We didn’t know anything about eye liner, eye-brow pencil (not that I needed eye-brow pencil), or fake eyelashes. I’m laughing just imagining myself trying to master the art of applying eye-brow pencil. I would either have a huge uni-brow or look something like Bozo the clown.
I didn’t even pluck my eye-brows until I was seventeen. This is evidenced by my eighth grade graduation photo:
As most twelve-year old’s, you become curious about the opposite sex. There were a group of boys in my neighborhood–two of them who lived directly across the street from me–who would always hang out on their driveway with their friends who were really cute. When my girlfriends would come over, we would gather in the middle of the street (neutral area), and start the dance.
“The Dance,” as I call it, is the ritual of trying to get to know someone of the opposite sex without letting them know you are interested. You don’t want them to know you are interested because, well, you don’t know them well enough to figure out if you’re interested enough in them.
The boys would typically sit on their bikes while the girls would mull around, laugh, and play with our hair.
There was one boy in the group named Louie. I liked him because he was funny and cute. He was also Italian, and my mother would approve if we had decided to get married and have children.
This is what I thought when I was twelve. I liked to plan ahead.
After some dancing for a few weeks, Louie and his friends ended up on my driveway at the end of the night. I had to go in because my curfew was at 9 pm. As all of his friends were sitting on their bikes a few feet away, Louie asked if he could kiss me.
At twelve years of age, the kisses that I was familiar with were from my mom and dad and relatives that you see only during funerals and weddings. A peck on the cheek, or a little smooch on the lips.
No biggie, I thought. Sure, why not? He could kiss me–that would be nice.
But then something strange happened and I didn’t know if it was supposed to be this way. My thought was, Do only Italian boys do this? Do I have to reciprocate because it feels odd if I don’t.
Instead of his pursed lips onto mine, he opened up his mouth and shoved his tongue down my throat.
It was like discovering the prize at the bottom of the cereal box (when cereal boxes had prizes). You’d stick your hand way down into the box and finally touch the piece of plastic that led to your own pencil eraser in the shape of Cap’n Crunch.
My tongue met his tongue.
My tongue never touched another tongue before. I seriously didn’t know what to think except that I’d better stick my tongue down his throat too. I mean, he’s doing it, so I guess I’d better do it so I know what the hell I’m doing.
The only thing I was thinking at the time was, Jesus, I hope I don’t choke.
It wasn’t unpleasant until I couldn’t figure out how to breathe. The other problem–and this was the only guy I had ever had this problem with–was drooling.
Louie wouldn’t break free. I was hoping he would sprain his tongue or need a tank of oxygen. It felt like we were tongue locked for about ten minutes because I do believe–and correct me if I’m mistaken–that in the non-existent book of French Kissing it states that about ten minutes into the process, drool begins to dribble from the corners of your mouth and down your chin.
As drool was happening, I’m thinking to myself that if it’s always going to be this messy, I’d rather join a convent.
Perhaps I should be better prepared next time and wear a bib.
When he finally broke away from my face, I felt like I needed to wipe the whole thing with anti-bacterial wipes and apply a thick coat of chap-stick on my lips as well as my chin.
That was my first kiss. Nice, huh? I was expecting fireworks, a brass band, light and billowy hearts filling the air…
No. I got drool instead.
I would later discover that what happened to me was called a French Kiss. I had watched movies and television where people would kiss and there was never a moment when drool would play a part in any kissing scene.
I don’t believe Louie and I kissed again like that after the drooling episode. If he tried, I made a run for it.
I kissed him on the cheek, shook his hand and said that I left my oxygen tank and bib at home.
As I grew older, my skill in French kissing obviously got better because I had guys who kissed better and were more sanitary. As they say, “Practice makes perfect.”
I also was the recipient of some “tricks” that guys would do like bite your lips.
Here’s the thing about biting lips: I didn’t mind the play biting, but if you go all “Mike Tyson” on me, I’m going to look like “Franken-Lip-Stein,” And, there ain’t no cosmetic surgeon that can cure a chunk of missing lip. I’ve also had guys who liked to lick my lips with their tongue before and/or during a kiss.
Why is this necessary? Are their pieces of food on my lips that I had no knowledge of? Are you that hungry that you need to scrape–or lick–my lips for tiny bits of food?
What is this–The Hunger Games? Jesus, have dinner before you start that shit with me.
Speaking of dinner…
While I was learning the fine art of kissing, so were my counterparts. They didn’t give a thought about eating a bag of Doritos before they shoved their tongue down my throat. I could also tell what kind of soda they were drinking, and if they had any licorice.
If I was hungry before I kissed a boy back then, I wasn’t afterwards. However, I can assure you it wasn’t a well-balanced meal based on the food pyramid.
As you can see, there were some sacrifices that had to be made in order to learn the art of French kissing. Let’s face it: your parents aren’t going to teach you how to french kiss because that’s just wrong on every level. No one teaches you this craft because the ones who would probably teach you would also be breaking the law in most states.
That leaves you on your own.
Or watching porn.
At twelve years of age, I didn’t even know what pornography was. I was into Pong, skateboarding, and cheer leading. Left to my own devices, I eventually figured it out and realized that drool was definitely not part of the kissing process.
Thank God I didn’t have to join the convent because I would have made a terrible nun.
I’d be a nun on the run because I just wanted to have fun.