My seventeen journals are filled with testimony, friends, love and kissing commentary. I love being in love and, the natural precursor of love: kissing! Descriptions of kisses and hopes for kisses pad my pages. I had friend whose parents discouraged kissing by offering her a hundred dollar prize if she could delay kissing until she was eighteen years old. Emotional abuse! One hundred dollars wouldn’t be worth my teenager years devoid of the joy and experience of kissing. At the time I viewed kissing as fun and flirty, but what I didn’t realize was that a research project was unfolding.
I had the privilege of kissing 20 different boys before the 21st boy came along. Research subject #21 delivered the kiss which would convert me into everlasting monogamy. But, in the meantime, I was collecting data. There were pecks, slobbery kisses, French kisses, sweet and innocent kisses, kisses with a specific meaning, sympathy kisses, tearful kisses, passionate kisses, desperate kisses, kissing on a dare, kissing friends, kissing in the dark and other categories of kisses created. Each kiss was filed away in one or more of those categories. Ten years of experimenting cemented my likes and dislikes. Luckily, when I kissed the man that I knew I wanted to kiss for the rest of my life, my research was complete; his kiss obliterated the competition.
I have received and given hundreds of kisses, but I have had 21 first kisses. First kisses are unique. They are filled with excitement and curiosity. They can precipitate a romantic relationship, ruin a friendship, lead to immorality and/or convey a message that words can’t. Lips are dense with touch receptors. It’s a fact that kissing is stimulating, in a purely physical sense. But equal to the enjoyment of the physical touch is the invitation. Allowing someone to touch your lips is extremely intimate. To know that a man authorizes you to touch his lips with yours mean he finds the idea pleasurable.
I have kept a running tab of kisses since my very first kiss with Josh in the beginning of 6th grade. People may be skeptical that a sixth grade kiss could be authenticated as a “real” first kiss, just like I roll my eyes when people state that their first kiss was on the Kindergarten playground, but it was.
When imagining my first kiss, I imagined a good-looking boy (preferably a member of New Kids on the Block) who would put his hand on my cheek and gently and chastely press his lips to mine. But my first kiss could not have been more different. My first kiss was baptism by fire into the world of passion, a reluctant end of innocence.
Josh’s mother and my mother both worked at the same fire station across town. I knew Josh from attending fire station family functions over the years. Josh was tall with curly brown hair and a flashy personality. He was as much as a sixth-grade ladies’ man as you can be, flirting with anything with a double X and a training bra. This particular night we were both attending the Annual Family Spaghetti Dinner. He asked me to take a walk around the station. We ended up in a dark quiet area behind the station. He put his arms around me from the back and we were looking at the stars. Mentally, I was frantically preparing myself for my first kiss that I knew may be imminent. The thought of kissing was more appealing then kissing Josh, but I was determined to have virgin lips no more. The star-watching was starting to get corny. I knew he was going to kiss me and the anticipation was killing me so I thought to myself, I’m going to go for it! I snuck on some cherry lip gloss and turned around. But before I could even say a word his puckered lips had descended.
Oh, so very, very little did I know about kissing.
He completely ravaged my ignorant mouth and took no prisoners. I’m not sure if my mouth was open out of shock or forced open by his conquering tongue, but I was aghast. I felt like grabbing the fire hose, opening it up wide and blasting his offending mouth. When I look back on my first kiss, it’s not with sweet childhood innocence, lollipops and butterflies; it was with pure shock and disgust.
Later, I titled this first kiss, The Helicopter Kiss, because of a conversation that my mother relayed to me. Josh and his mother were chatting about kissing:
Josh’s mother: “What do you know about kissing?”
Josh: “It’s easy, you just put your tongue in her mouth and twirl it around like a helicopter.”
When my snickering mother was telling me this story, I was too embarrassed at the time to tell her that I had, in fact, been a recipient of one of those helicopter kisses.
Josh and I wound up at the same high school, where he was exalted to a High School Ladies Man, flirting with anything with a double X and spreading the disease of helicopter kisses to many innocent females. We really should’ve band together to create a support group. “Hello, my name is Ashley [hello, Ashley] and my lips have been assaulted by the helicopter kiss….”
Parke held my hand as we walked to his car. Although it was a warm summer night, I shuttered with anticipation. He put his arms around me and he looked at me…you know, that look. The golden carrot was dangling before me. There comes a point when the anticipation is so thick you hardly cut through it. My willpower had reached its limit. However, I bridled my anxious lips. I had always felt strongly that the man should initiate the first kiss. Afterwards, he feels empowered and I don’t feel too forward. So I was being patient and making myself seem irresistible in the meantime. The cherry lip gloss was burning a hole in pocket but I decided to hold off. He must had read the signals because his strong arm went around my waist and pulled my body to meet his. He expertly brushed the nape of my neck with one of his huge hands and pulled my face in to meet his. I caught a glimmer of those delicious teeth as his half-smile descended. Whereas his body was hard and chiseled, his lips were so soft. Under the stars, with his arms around me, I melted. That mouth was finally on mine. If there was a major at BYU: Kissing, he would be the professor. He was teaching me a thing or two. Our lips were compatible, our kissing style was compatible. I was in heaven; Lord have mercy! That kiss took my breath away and I’ll remember every detail until life takes my very last breath away.
My first kiss with Josh was so horribly shocking and confusing that I wanted my own kisses stamped with the pleasure stamp of approval, namely: soft, tasty lips, sweet breath and not too aggressive. I let the guy lead but throw in a couple of surprises to keep it interesting. Parke seemed to greatly enjoy it.
Although I can usually whip out a pretty good comment before a first kiss, afterward I’m speechless. Coherent speech is not compatible with the jumble of emotions inside me so I typically end my kisses by burying my head and huge smile in their chest. Parke’s kiss was no exception. I was suddenly shy. With remnants of electrical current running through my body, I knew the case was closed. I mentally checked the box termed “Physical Attraction” affirmative.