First Kiss

His name was Tim and he lived on a neighbouring farm. Our house and his family’s house shared a drive lane, so we’d see each other coming and going. We’d also see each other waiting for our respective school buses at the end of our road and occasionally while working together in an orchard or at market.

We were 13 and I had a big crush on Tim. He was very shy so we hardly ever spoke, so I don’t really know what he thought about me.

One evening a bunch of us were hanging around the back field – he and I and his siblings, my siblings, his friends and my friends. Egged on by his friends, he offered to take me for a ride on his dirt bike. Thrilled to bits, I went.

He stopped the bike in the middle of a peach orchard, out of ear and eye-shot of the gang back in the field. We got off the bike. “What now,” I thought. Before I could finish the thought, he grabbed me, and without further ado pushed his face onto mine and rammed his spit-slippery tongue down my throat.

Stunned, I pushed him off me so hard that he tripped and fell over his bike knocking both himself and his bike into the dirt.

“What the hell?” I yelled vigorously scrubbing my mouth with the back of my hand and spitting a couple of times. “Shit!” I added, and for good measure, kicked a clump of dirt in his direction. Then I stomped off toward home.

He ran after me, puzzled, apologetic. “I thought you liked me?”

So anyway, that was my first boy-girl kiss that wasn’t part of some spin-the-bottle type game where lips barely met. It also marked the end of my crush on Tim. We never kissed again, but we did become sort of neighbourly friends over the years and were able to laugh at what an ass he was that day.

The first kiss in any relationship is so memorable and important. It really can make or break a fragile, new coupling. It has to be timed right; pressure and saliva levels have to be just right; the length of the kiss has to be carefully coordinated – break off too soon and someone feels rejected…carry on too long and someone gets creeped out. And you have to figure out what to do with the rest of your body: Where do you put your hands? How close do you stand? Do genital areas touch? Which direction do the noses go? Tongues: yes or no? Eyes open or closed? Should teeth be involved? Have you eaten anything in the last 48 hours that could be passing on a revolting after-taste?

It’s a minefield, boy oh boy. How did we humans ever decide kissing was a romantic thing to do?

It’s not even a universal human thing to do. It’s not genetic. It’s really Western cultures that got into this whole romantic kissing thing – and only quite recently.

In Sub Saharan African, Asiatic, Polynesian, Native American and Australian cultures for example, kissing was unheard of in the romantic sense until European and Western colonization. As late as the Middle ages even in Western countries romantic kissing was considered mainly an act for the refined upper classes.

In many cultures, like in the animal world, sniffing each other was an indication of affection. Science has shown that we are most attracted to the smell of sweat from people whose immune system is most different from our own (So, with whom we are likely to produce the healthiest children). As well:

Kisses pass epigenetic pheromones that are important for human health and behavioral appetites. Kissing is implicated in the pathogenesis of sociopathy, mental illness, and autoimmune disease. The non-volatile skin surface and mucosal surface lipids that are passed in kissing have some of the greatest chemical complexity of any pheromone.

I don’t know exactly what all that means, but it’s mighty impressive so I wanted to include it. It also makes me wonder why kissing wasn’t part of our original genetic behaviour. Doesn’t it make you wonder that, too?

And speaking of amazing kissing facts, try and guess which language has the most words for kissing? To help you out, you should know that the Japanese apparently kiss less often than any other culture; with East Indians running a close second. Also 10% of the world’s population still place no importance on kissing at all. And,  the Glasgow Kiss is the least romantic kiss of all since it consists  of head butting.

Give up? If you guessed the French as having the most words for kissing you’d be close – they have words for 20 different types of kisses. But the big and astonishing winner is the Germans – with words for 30 different types of kisses!

The word, Nachkussen, for instance means a kiss to make up for kisses that have been forgotten or overlooked. It’s been said that “having a name for kisses that don’t exist is testament to German thoroughness”. Ja Deutschland!

PS: Eventually, I did manage to have an actual and nice first kiss with a nice boy I dated for over 2 years. We did an incredible amount of practicing and got pretty good at it. 

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26 responses to “First Kiss

  1. 13? THIRTEEN?!? I was kissing in daycare and maybe even before that. I don’t even remember my first kiss. First tongue kiss came way later, like maybe 5th grade. I guess I was in a hurry.
    I have a friend that won’t date a guy a second time if she did not like the way he kissed. I never had that problem because I think kissing is like dancing and I like to lead at that too.

  2. Alas my first kiss came in a game of Spin the Bottle and the girl who I had to kiss looked like she’d rather have a dirty hobo kiss her instead of me. I was happy as hell when she moved away later that year.

  3. i had a very romantic first kiss. i was in grade 6, the boy i was dating was in grade 7 (i think he was supposed to be in grade 8 or 9). it was raining outside, it was recess. he grabbed his coat, put it over our heads and kissed me.
    sigh. thanks for letting me relive that.

  4. I am sure I had a first kiss but I don’t remember it. I’m sure the girl I kissed remembered everything about it.

    I was far more interested in the mind and good conversation. I still am.

    And when I did kiss all I could think of is what flu or cold I was going to get. I am sooooo romantic!

    I still think a well timed kiss on the cheek is worth more than a million throat explorations.

    Eyeteaguy

  5. I don’t remember my first kiss… wait! yes, he was a drooler – put me off kissing for the longest time.

    And I can’t help but wonder who decided that it would be real cool to stick his – or her – tongue down someone’s throat.

  6. Dave – Well I guess it could be if there’s tongue involved.

    Geewits – Yes, I guess I was a late bloomer. You southern girls have always been a lot further advanced that us anyway. I think since we spend at least half the year bundled up in layers and layers of clothing, our sexual development is on hold for those 6 months.

    Dr. Monkey – I think I’d much rather kiss a monkey than a dirty hobo, but everyone has their own kinks, I guess.

    Meanie – You’re welcome. Nice way to warm up on a cold day. And yes, that was a very romantic first kiss.

    Jazz – That’s a puzzler all right. I suspect it wasn’t the French. Bonobo monkeys do it so maybe someone decided to copy them

    Eyeteaguy – Really? You don’t remember the first girl you kissed? Do you remember the first girl you… you know….?

  7. I think I remember my first kiss, but I’m not sure. I guess it wasn’t all that dramatic.
    Or maybe it’s because I’m a guy and guys, well, remember other “firsts”… if you get my drift…

  8. We walked together, talked together, played facebook games together but never ever touched for months. Then she was leaving for two weeks and I leaned over to kiss her cheek to say good bye. We ended up locked in a 2 hour embrace on her front verandah and have been joined at the hip ever since.

  9. Wow. I haven’t talked to you in AGES. Do you remember me?

    Hm. I used to be linked on your blog when it was over at Blogger. I never did add ta link to you on my site. Going to do that now, though..

  10. XUP said, “Do you remember the first girl you… you know….?”

    Hugged?

    Yes, and then I married her.

  11. My first kiss was at camp on the first night I was there. It was the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. It was in another state and I felt terribly alone and out of place so far away from my parents for the first time. I found a group of friendly new kids including a boy who developed a little crush on me. We all ducked out of the counselors’ sites and played a game of “truth or dare”. He dared me to kiss him. It was horrible. Our faces mashed together in an awkward wet mess. There were no tongues involved. (That came later in another game of truth or dare in fifth grade.) I instantly disliked him after that and avoided him the for the rest of camp.

  12. “Kisses pass epigenetic pheromones that are important for human health and behavioral appetites. Kissing is implicated in the pathogenesis of sociopathy, mental illness, and autoimmune disease. The non-volatile skin surface and mucosal surface lipids that are passed in kissing have some of the greatest chemical complexity of any pheromone.”

    Gosh, put this way, I am surprised I’ve not seen this sentiment expressed in a Hallmark card! 😉

    I really REALLY enjoy kissing. It’s one of my favourite activities. I can do it for hours, given the chance. And there’s the catch, I’m afraid. I’ve never met someone with the same passion for kissing… who’d also want to kiss me.

    Just my luck!

  13. You weren’t a late bloomer – I was…grade 10.(shocker!) That’s what an all-girls Catholic high school did for my love life. I do remember my first kiss though…it was perfect.

  14. Trashy – Who do you think guys remember more – the first girl they had sex with or the first girl they fell in love with?

    Skylark – Aw, shucks. That DOES sound like a pretty good kiss – except her front porch is pretty small…you stayed out there the whole 2 hours?

    Nathan – Sure! You’re Nathan…the guy with the black and white cat, right?

    Eyeteaguy – Now I can’t decide whether you or Skylark are the most romantic guys ever.

    Zoom – Most memorable up until then, or most memorable ever – as in he’s never been able to surpass himself?

    Apryl – Dang, you people start a-courtin’ mighty early down there in the South of the U. S. of A. When I was in the 3rd grade, boys were just cooty receptacles and we girl-types stayed as far away from them as possible. Thanks for not letting me be the only one with a horrible first kiss.

    Daniel – Well, that’s a shame, Daniel. I will put out a general call right here and now for any single women who would like to spend hours and hours kissing with you. Respond here or by email one and all. Non-smokers only. Kosher preferred. (How’s that?)

    MM- Should I ask if it was with someone from your all-girls Catholic high school?

  15. My first kiss was during a grade 9 dance. Well actually it was at the party after the dance. The next day the girl wouldn’t talk to me and I’ve never been able to figure out why – none of my friends could figure it out either.

  16. very cute story, kissing for the first time is incredibly horrid and awkward. even as an adult, which i thought would change after i “grew up”. those are interesting facts about kissing, stuff i didn’t know.

    a kiss can certainly make or break a whole deal so i guess that’s why it’s so important.

    i forget how old i was when i got my first kiss, maybe around 13 or 14 and his name was michael warren. we kissed at the skating rink. he was a nice boy.

  17. Sean – Did you slobber on her? Ram your tongue down her throat? Grab her anywhere you shouldn’t have? If you were nice about your kissing then either she was embarrassed that she’d kissed you and wished it had never happened. Or, she was embarrassed that she kissed you and was waiting for you to indicate somehow that she was now your girlfriend.

    Susan – Who knew you were such a sucker for a mushy tale?

    Nat – Ya, you look like a huggy, kissy type. It’s good that you’re well matched.

    Leah – There seem to be a lot more warm and fuzzy first kiss stories than yucky and awkward first kiss stories, so that’s good, right? I asked my daughter about her first kiss and she couldn’t remember!! And she’s only 17. Can you imagine? Kids these days…

  18. Pauline – Your first kiss doesn’t need to be with the greatest guy in the universe, as long as your marriage is, right?

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