Sunday, August 24, 2008

Soap Opera Sunday: First Kiss

Growing up in a small Southern state meant traveling up to an hour sometimes to get to another ward. Seeing your friends in those far flung little towns? A very big deal. If you had a boyfried in one of those wards, every stake dance or sports tournament or youth conference was An Event because in those pre-email and texting days, phone calls kind of cost a lot and letters crept slowly back and forth. The boys rocked their Drakkar Noir and Girbaud jeans and the girls wielded their Aquanet fiercely. I couldn't wait to turn fourteen and join my other girlfriends in the Boy Hunt at dances and activities. When you grow up in a ward that changes very little from year to year, the guys quit looking like options somewhere around first grade. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.

Enter Don. An old-fashioned name even then. The only son of a wealthy older couple, he engaged in exotic and strange behaviors like foreign travel and attending private school. He was tall, good-looking, and sent word through a friend: totally into me. Why not? I was cute and new on the block. He staked first claim. But did I mention he was cute? I would have gotten around to him eventually, anyway.

Our flirtation bloomed over a few months through letters, phone calls (he could afford the long distance charges), and the way too infrequent stake activities that came up. But at some point, we must have verbalized that we were now "going out" because when the October volleyball tournament approached...

I was a wreck. Mainly because the stupid shorts we had to wear for the church tournament were so hideous and who wanted to be seen in them? Oh, and also, I might be getting my First Kiss, Ever. Breathe, breathe, be cool.

Scene of the crime: Broadmoor Middle School. I spent the morning alternately hiding from and flirting with Don, nerves out of control. When was he going to do it? How was he going to do it? We both had braces. What if....? Yikes.

As the afternoon wore on and The Kiss loomed with greater menace, I began to freak out. What if he could tell I didn't know what I was doing? Because you know, fourteen year old guys are perceptive like that. (Ha). What if I didn't do it right and I made an idiot of myself and he told all his friends? What if it felt weird? Oh man...oh man....oh man. Breathe.

Finally, he cornered me and patiently invited me for a walk. He was so calm. Why was he so calm? The walk lead to an under utilized side entrance to the gymnasium's stage. A remarkably empty, chaperone free set of stairs. We sat, we talked. Er, I babbled, he listened, looking amused. I stopped to draw a breath and he leaned in and...kissed me. And I thought, "Wow! I'm totally kissing right now! What am I supposed to do with the gum in my mouth? I'm totally kissing right now!"

I have a sad wealth of kissing experience. Hindsight tells me it wasn't bad as first kisses go. We worked on that little skill in stolen moments for another month or three. Then...I forget what happened. We lost touch. I moved to California.

We reconnected at BYU and I discovered the truth: I was his first kiss, too. That's quite a bond. We spent a couple more years perfecting our technique with each other, and lots of others, but eventually other things just got in the way. Maybe the lots of others. Probably.

But even after all these years, as I pulled up that memory to dust it off, I think, "I can't believe I was chewing gum."

If I ever have a daughter (because I am so tired of being outnumbered in my house right now), I'll have some profound wisdom to offer. "Don't kiss boys. And if you do kiss a boy, don't chew gum."

This first kiss is also posted at Twas Brillig's blog as part of Soap Opera Sunday.


MommasWorld said...

I was thinking the same thing. She was chewing gum while kissing? I had braces too so I also thought "how could she be chewing gum with braces?" Glad to hear your baces didn't lock together. That was a fear of mine too. ha!

Brillig said...

HAHA! Melanie, this is SO GREAT! You are clearly a writer. You just word things in such a clever way that make me WISH I'd thought to say it, but of course I'm not nearly smart enough. HAHAHA. You kill me. Great first kiss story! I'm so honored that you decided to play soap opera sunday this week!

Jordan said...

How fun to have you playing SOS! I especially loved your reminiscing over the Girbaud jeans and the Aquanet. Too funny! And then that you reconnected again at BYU is perfect!

Oh, BTW, your comment on my blog last week totally made my day! Thanks!

Kimberly said...

Hee hee...brilliantly told!

I didn't have gum but my teeth felt all fuzzy from nursing a huge mug of sprite for two hours before the kiss finally happened. Yeurgh.

Shellie said...

You must be pretty coordinated to wear braces, chew gum, and kiss all at the same time. Great first kiss!

charrette said...

Okay, this is so embarrassing...

That comment #3 from Jordan? Was mine.
I didn't realize my daughter had logged on to check her email, and I was blogging through her account. Oops!

So I'm back. And clearly lost the hang of blogging already...

Alison Wonderland said...

first kiss at 14, you little hussy. Good for you.

Melanie's Smoking Hot Husband Who Kisses Better Then Anymore Else In The World said...

Whatever!!! Never happened!!! And if it did, he wasn't a hundredth part as good a kisser as yours truly!!!

That boy's kiss was "School Lunch Salisbury Steak" to my "Ruth's Chris Filet Mignon"!

Right, sweetheart?


Don said...

Since I only have daughters, I'll pass that bit of advice on for you.

Um, later.

MUCH later.

Donelle said...

Well written article.