Your Run-of-the-Mill First Kiss Disaster

by Erik Swedlund

By the time I was fifteen and hadn't kissed a girl yet, I was sure I was doomed to a life of involuntary celibacy. I was sure that everyone else had begun their lives of lip-smacking pleasure sometime in the 6th grade, which made me three years too late, and, possibly, out of the running all together. Just look at Robbie and Stacy--they were an item throughout junior high. Here I was, in high school now, and still nothing to show for my years on the planet, romance-wise.

Surely you can see where this is leading: suddenly, the late bloomer leaps into the world of girls, and all those awkward years are a thing of the past. Confident now, he strides through the world with a determined pace and strong shoulders.


Instead, let us consider how this story might unfold if we compounded the following unpleasant situations:

  1. Painfully shy teen convinced of doomed status
  2. Prominent braces
  3. Acne
  4. Shy teen's large, strong friend who has a cute little sister
  5. Shy teen's large, strong friend's parent's house (specifically, the bathroom)
Perhaps now you can really see where this is leading. Under cover of the night, I slipped out of the guestroom to her room and roused her from sleep. Mind you, my visit was totally unannounced, not planned. I still have no idea why she went along with my (admittedly spur-of-the-moment) plan. She was an extremely cute fourteen-year-old, and by the nature of her previous flirtations with me, I guessed she was knowledgeable in the ways of kissing.

She kept her composure, even smiling as she removed the offending item from her mouth
Update: some more thoughts on the first kiss, and a sort of coda to the story at People: Kris.
That first kiss was the most spectacular of first kisses. It was soft with a gentle urgency, a pleasant pressure. Completely arousing, yet we kept it almost non-sexual, with no fumbling around or grabbing of naughty bits. There was even a little tongue--I couldn't imagine it. My first kiss of any kind, and already I had graduated to the French type.

Therein lay my downfall. In order to correct my terrible underbite, my orthodontist had outfitted my braces with rubber bands that connected my upper teeth to my lower. On one particularly wide stretching of the mouth, a rubber band snapped, shooting straight into her mouth. Ugh. Still, she kept her composure, even smiling as she removed the offending item from her mouth.

Slightly less awkward than the rubber band, yet thoroughly more terrifying, was the knocking at the locked bathroom door. I don't think we ever did adequately explain to her brother why we were locked into the bathroom together, but then, he never directly asked. I feel lucky to have lived through the encounter, let alone that he and I remained friends.

Of course, there was no chance of a relationship, however desperately much I wanted one (or however much I desperately pleaded, again and again, until I had absolutely no dignity left). She let me down gently, with a gracefulness I haven't seen again in the ten years since. It's been over seven years since I saw her last, and I have no idea of where she is now. I figure I wouldn't want to know where she is now, and she wouldn't want to know where I am. It would spoil the whole silly awkwardness of April 1989.

But I still can't get that musky perfume out of my head.

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