Kiss and Tell, a trail of kisses, first, best and all the ones inbetween….
Kiss and Tell, a trail of kisses
Recently, I was asked (full disclosure: it was actually an Internet writing prompt) about my most outstanding or soul-shattering kiss or to cut to the chase, what was my best kiss.
Kisses or great kisses can be too rare, few and far between and for that reason alone, they’re always an interesting subject. It certainly got me to thinking about my historic (modest but historic) trail of kisses. Luckily, I’ve had some memorable kisses which are not to brag but because each one, wonderful or less so, taught me something and so to me, they were memorable and catalogued in a rogues’ gallery of sweetness.
My first-ever kiss came from my first ‘official’ boyfriend, Jay, when we met at summer camp. I was fourteen(he was fifteen) and he kissed me at the traditional camp kissing spot: the mail-box that was the goodnight kiss point, aka the landmark between the male and female dormitories (no coed dorms in those days) at Vermont Music Camp. I was so callow and scared of that first kiss that I had a stomach day all day. The line between anticipation and illness was quite thin. I pressed my BFF to bolster me up in the hours that preceded it since I knew it was a done-deal on that particular night. I relied on her to push me into the experience and not bail as I threatened to. That ingénue kiss had a three week lead-up despite being a foregone conclusion between two innocents. To be truthful, I had just wanted a boyfriend, not the trimmings and reality that went with it. What can I say? I was 14. When Jay kissed me he simply pressed his lips on mine in a chaste way but with considerable pressure, sort of a 50’s film noir movie kiss. It wasn’t a great first kiss but it also wasn’t repeated too often and we never improved even when I decided I’d like to improve. He was such a nice guy however who went on to become a dentist in Long Island. Years later when I was divorced and he was going through his own divorce he sent me roses at a Toronto bookstore signing when I was promoting a new cookbook. In the end, I would say we were fond of each other but soulmates we were not.
Since that first kiss, I’ve had wet kisses and soft ones, emphatic bruising ones, intrusive, aggressive ones which no doubt some women might like but for me always came part and parcel with the aggressive nature of the kisser himself. Not surprising, that style of kiss came from men I was ambivalent about: men who rushed me, men who disparaged courtship (however brief) for the end game. I’m not even sure the end game was about me. It was about desire (not a bad thing) but also power or about proving some unspoken thing. Those kisses always had a swept away quality to them and left me stunned and confused. Without chemistry I have a hard time processing things or I suppose I get in my own head too much.Inasmuch as I was once a fan of the man’s man, those kisses didn’t feel romantic; I felt incidental and like a surreal spectator since they came without much preamble. I would think (as I catalogued those kisses in my memory): “This is nice I guess, I like kissing and this is flattering. Maybe I can make this work’. That’s not quite an organic or right response I suppose but it speaks to my affable side and passion for kisses and male attention.
I’ve been kissed by men, who disliked kissing and that was awkward, embarrassing and made me feel needy and like I was stealing something. I’ve been kissed pleasantly and tentatively by men who wanted more. During those kisses I would debate if I could segue my platonic feelings into amorous ones. It never happened. The kisses went from friendly to neutral before landing on frosty and then, predictably ceased. No words needed to be said and those men disappeared or I did.
I’ve had stolen kisses wherein they were swift and unwelcome and I could not, in a month of Sundays, ever reciprocate them. And I’ve had ill-advised kisses for one reason or another that were snuffed out quickly and with prudence.
But the best kiss was equally unexpected and yet inevitable. It came on a second date with a man I had known earlier in my life. The dinner date hadn’t gone well and by the time we left the restaurant we were barely speaking. I offered to drive my date home since I had a car and he came by subway. I was just being polite but he said yes. Once in the car, the conversation would come to an impasse no matter how trivial the subject matter. Still, surprisingly he asked me up to his place as I was letting him off. I hesitated because although there was a chill between us there was also the warmth of undeniable chemistry that begged exploring. I will never pass this way again, I thought. curiousity and ambivalence battling inside me.
When he first kissed me, the world turned liquid and then still. My lips buzzed with electricity and I felt the ambivalence melt into knowingness. He was both wooing and assured but he also became befuddled. Perhaps he was seeking that same end game and was fooled when I became specific. The truth is, you never know until you kiss someone what it will feel like, what is there, and if your heart and soul will jump into the fray or stay on the sidelines.
It’s been years since that kiss and I still remember it clearly. It was what an ultimate or fateful kiss could be. It was like reaching home and magic all at once and if I ever experience that sort of kiss again I will count myself twice blessed and cross my fingers that it’s a beginning of oh-so-many-more sorts of kisses with the one who bestowed it.