Thursday, February 11, 2010
In yesterday's blog I said, "...and kissed me properly. The way I deserve to be kissed." And it made me start reminiscing about the last kiss I had, at the airport. The best kiss I've ever had. The first kiss I ever had. All I've been doing since then is thinking about kissing; how much I love it, how it's pretty much the greatest thing ever, how I won't be kissed for another two weeks. So I thought, "Ah ha! That's what I'll blog about, since I don't want to blog about what's really bothering me today."

The first kiss I remember was when I was three years old. I don't count this, since he was still in diapers. He's my best friend's little brother. He's a year and a half younger than me. I remember the day very plainly. It was one of those rare, early summer days in Arizona. The gutters were full of warm water and perfect for splashing in. We were playing in the rain, splashing and running, and I was carrying a little red umbrella. We sat down on the curb, our toes squishing the muck in the gutter, and we kissed. Someone ran inside and grabbed a camera. That picture was passed around both families. I wonder if it's on facebook yet...

What I would love to consider my first kiss happened in first grade. When I was in preschool, there were two Jeffs in my class. I had a crush on blond Jeff. I don't really remember not-blond Jeff. I was four. Blond Jeff's mom was our teacher, and halfway through the school year, they moved away to Hawaii. I believe it was because his dad was in the Navy. Regardless, blond Jeff became Pineapple Jeff in my mind. Well into my first grade school year, Pineapple Jeff moved back to Arizona. I still remember which house was his on Pepper street. While he was away in Hawaii, Jeff had managed to skip a grade, and was a second grader. I remember he came over to me one day on the uneven bars, and waited for me to finish my turns. He asked if I wanted to go to the swings. At my school, that meant a boy liked you. Especially since he asked me while I was on the bars. The swings were on the other side of the playground, so we walked all the way across the field together. The next day, we met up at lunch recess and played together again. This continued for a week or two, and soon all of our classmates were teasing us. We argued that we weren't boyfriend and girlfriend, but playground politics dictated that we were. One day, while I was playing on the slide, he came over to me with a very determined look on his face. He grabbed me by the wrist and we ran across the football field. He dragged me behind one of the second grade portables, placed his hands firmly on my shoulders, and pressed me against the wall. He kissed me quickly the first time. When I didn't run away, he puckered up his lips again, and put them against mine. I didn't know what to do, but I had seen plenty of movies. So I just held my lips there against his, my eyes clenched and lips pursed, and didn't move. When he pulled away, he looked surprised. He stood there for a moment, then sprinted away. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the week. When he finally did play with me again after lunch on Monday, he told me he was moving away again. I don't know where Pineapple Jeff is now, but I sometimes remember my first cinematic moment, and wonder if he's still as pretty as he was in elementary school. Probably not. If I could remember his last name, I'd track him down, and give him an earful. He would be a lot easier to find on facebook if his name was actually Pineapple Jeff. He helped create my social retardation, making me expect everything to be whimsical and perfect, like my first kiss there against the wall. Damn that little second grade Casanova.
There are mushrooms growing on his cargo pants. What a tool.

The kiss I should probably consider my first happened early in my tween years. I don't remember the poor kid's name, but I remember the circumstances. He was the youngest of three kids. His mother was dating my trashy, trailer-parky cousin, Little Tony. I kid you not. I am Italian, and one of my trashy cousins answers to 'Little Tony'. Har, har. My grandmother and Aunt had just built a swimming pool in their backyard. In Arizona, that was pretty much the best scenario for us kids during the summer. All the swimming we wanted, with normal levels of chlorine and far less urine. Little Tony brought his super sweet but skanky girlfriend and her three kids over a few times that summer, and I noticed that the youngest was starting to get sweet on me. I didn't like him at all, and did my best to discourage him. One day while we were swimming, he challenged me to a breath holding contest. I had just learned how to keep my nose plugged under water without pinching it with my fingers (it took me a while to learn the trick after I had my tonsils out) and so readily participated. We agreed that we would keep our eyes open so that we could make sure the other wasn't cheating. Almost as soon as we got underwater, he put his hands on my shoulders (a running theme, I notice) and tried to plant a kiss on me. I started to swim up, but he was holding me under pretty tightly, and he ended up kissing the corner of my mouth and my cheek instead. I reflexively panicked, and got water up my nose. We both surfaced, sputtering and coughing. The coughing was all me, actually. He didn't say anything for a moment, didn't even ask if I was all right, but as soon as I was sure I was not going to drown, I turned and looked at him. His facial expression was a mix of concern and fear. It should have been. I punched him in the nose.

Luckily, his siblings didn't see this, and all of the adults were inside. He wailed, grabbed his face, and scrambled out of the pool. He didn't even bother to shout a rhetoric, 'What was that for?' He knew. I was nervous about going inside after that, but knew it would look suspicious if I didn't. I grabbed a towel and headed inside. He was sitting at the kitchen table, a wad of paper towels soaked in bright red blood held to his face. I'd broken his nose. We exchanged looks again, and I was sure I was about to get grounded for the rest of my natural life. Both his mother and mine were standing next to him. My mom asked me what happened, and I just kind of stammered and looked back at Broken Nose Boy (I want to say Justin, but I know that's not right.) He pulled the paper towels away from his face and said, "I was swimming with my eyes closed and swam into the wall." I made an excuse to get out of the kitchen, practically ran to the bathroom, and burst into tears. I instantly felt terrible, and guilty, and foolish. I think this is the moment that boys stopped being put into one of three categories (family, crushes, and grossness), and became just as individualized in my eyes as the girls in my little ten year old social circle. Not only had this guy felt the sting of rejection, but he lied to both of our moms, possibly risking being reprimanded for his recklessness, to keep me from getting in trouble. Either this was the nicest guy ever, or he really had a crush on me. I haven't punched anyone since.
The kiss that was my first real kiss, as it was post-pubescent and intentional, happened when I was seventeen. I had graduated High School a year before, I had been in college since January, and I had a tattoo. All of this, and I had never been kissed. I hated myself for it. I was finally beginning to feel the pangs of my social retardation. I was 'courting' a guy from my college classes. We hung out two or three nights every weekend, flirted constantly and teased each other with our words, our body language, and sometimes even our bodies. I was seventeen. He was twenty-seven. We had a party at our timeshare, since my parents had to use the time at the hotel or lose it. I had invited quite a few friends, and we all hung out. That night, however, the old man was running cold. It pissed me off. (On a side note, he was one year older than my boyfriend is right now, and I was sevenfreakingteen. Gross. What was I thinking?) A few people outside of my core group of friends had come over for the party as well. Including my best friend's older sister and younger brother. You remember him. The little boy in the rain. He was now the sometimes drummer for the band I was in, and he was notorious for his man-sluttiness. He had tried to get my cousin (and bass player) to make out with him only a few weeks ago. The older sister, my gay best friend (this was pre-gay-outing for him), me, and Drummerboy all stayed the night at the hotel. It wasn't planned that way, it just happened. As I was sandwiched between a friend I thought was straight (but wasn't) and a friend I thought would never want to do anything with me (he did), trying to fall asleep, I felt a hand on my hip. I opened my eyes to see that Drummerboy was uncomfortably close. Then he did the douchiest, lamest thing possible for a 15 year old boy to do. He made a kissy face, puckering his lips, pecking the air between us a few times and closing his eyes lazily. I'm sure he thought he was being suave. I thought he was acting like an idiot. But he was a boy, and he was willing to kiss me. I thought, "What the hell? Might as well get it over with." and I kissed him. About five seconds in I realized that it was a terrible mistake. Not because I didn't have any feelings for him and was using him, not because it might make my best friend angry at me, not because it might make band practice weird, but because he was a terrible kisser. About five seconds after that, his spit was on my forehead. I don't know what kind of crazy, magically teleporting saliva Drummerboy has in his mouth, but it weirded me out. Though I knew I was late to the game, I was pretty sure I was awesome at it, and that Drummerboy was definitely not. Years later, one of my boyfriends would tell me I was a good enough kisser to compete in the Kissing Olympics, win gold, and go on to have a professional career with lucrative product endorsements. A week after the terrible forehead spit kiss, I somehow wound up playing the longest, kinkiest, dirtiest game of Spin the Bottle. I ended up kissing my gay (still pre-gay) best friend, two good girlfriends, and the aforementioned old man. The gay friend was the only good kisser. Even with all that chemistry the old man and I had, our kisses were just regular old kisses. Borderline boring, even.
There are two kisses I consider the best kisses I have ever had. Both were with Boyfriend. The first was our first kiss together. We had been hanging out all night, business as usual. Boyfriend, the Gay Best Friend (now post gay, and also responsible for introducing Boyfriend and I) and I had spent the night hanging out, skinny dipping, and having a few beers. Boyfriend's best friend and the Gay Best Friend's boyfriend (confused yet?) had already crashed and gone to sleep. The three of us remaining were watching Kill Bill. As the sun was coming up, the Gay Best Friend went to bed, and as he rounded the corner into the hallway, he turned around and dramatically pointed a finger at us. He said, "If you two don't just kiss, and get it over with, and clear all this sexual tension, you're not allowed back in my house." Then he went into his bedroom, and I didn't see him again until our next hang out, where I thanked him profusely for what he provoked.

Like this, but with a hot gay man instead of a monkey.

Boyfriend and I laughed nervously, but kept watching Kill Bill. We were snuggling under a blanket together, but after the GBF's threat of party house eviction, we had both remained motionless. I kept watching the clock nervously. I knew I had to leave soon and get my parents' car back to them, but I didn't want to leave Boyfriend's side. I finally had my perfect opportunity to finally kiss him. It was June. We'd met in September. It had been nine torment filled months of sexual tension and amazing chemistry, with a couple of near kisses in November and December. Earlier in the night we had joked about having our hair pulled, and I had broadcast to the sausage fest that was my social life that I like having my hair pulled, being bitten, etc. and TMI. When the movie ended, and I knew I was going to have to drive far above the legal speed limit to make it home in time, I turned to Boyfriend. With a torso full of fluttery insects, I jokingly put my hand in his long hair and asked, "So do you like having your hair pulled?" But as I turned my face towards him, he leaned in towards me, sliding his hand into my hair, his thumb stroking my cheek. He kissed me eagerly, enthusiastically. He kissed me like I was Disneyland, and he was nine years old, and had been waiting through the entire school year for his summertime visit. The early morning sunlight made the living room look like a movie set. Everything was golden. I heard violins. When we finally parted, we rested our foreheads against each other for a moment. I don't know about him, but I was dizzy. My head was spinning. I felt light headed and out of breath and validated. I took a slow breath to steady myself while he moved his thumb gently across my cheek and kissed me again. It was probably one of the most amazing moments of my life.

The other top kiss of his, came the night (two years later) that he finally admitted he loved me. We spent the whole night talking and trying to strategize getting officially together (he had a girlfriend at the time, but that's another story... one so long that I'm devoting an entire novel and its sequel to it), and most of it was spent just sitting and being stunned that we had finally said in plain words what was so painfully obvious. The sky was lightening, and we knew we had to eventually part. Even though the word love had been thrown about, we hadn't touched any more beyond the occasional knee bump, or arm graze. We were sitting in a car, and our arms were on the center arm rest, millimeters away from touching. During a quiet moment in the conversation, I extended my little finger and put it over his. He grabbed my hand with both of his and interlaced our fingers, squeezing tightly. After a few more minutes of talking, we fell silent again, and he said, "I'm trying to figure out if we should kiss."

I looked up and met his eyes, only to find them pleading. It was surreal. It was like a scene out of a movie. Again. I couldn't believe it. "I... hold hands with my platonic friends... at scary movies..."

"What about the shoulders? The leaning...?" he asked.

"It's a pretty fine line..." I said, and squeezed his hand. I was running out of excuses and we both knew it. It was ridiculous to postpone it anyway. We both wanted to kiss, we needed to, we should. He told me he was in love with me and always had been. Why the hell hadn't we kissed in almost two years!? "Your hat's in the way," I said, and pushed it up off his forehead. He sighed heavily and leaned in and kissed me. He did that face cradling thing again. After about thirty seconds of the most emotionally packed kissing I've ever experienced, he pulled away, and put his forehead on my shoulder.

"I'm dizzy," he said breathlessly. Even though kissing is (almost!) a daily occurrence for us now, every once and a while, there's one that makes my breath catch and my head sway. Gold Star, Darling!

Lori + Stu = Awesome. It's MATH.


Matthew J Bevis said...

I think it's highly plausible that the kid who lied for you after you broke his nose in the pool was probably just trying to protect his own reputation. I mean, a girl broke his nose! And why? Because he'd stolen an underwater kiss from her and she clearly didn't want him to touch her!!

There's all manner of levels of humiliation involved here (the kids showed guts to even try for it), so when facing the notion of 'fessing up to your Moms about his most humiliating moment so far in his life (possibly still - you can trust me on that), it's really a no-brainer that he decided to lie about it.

But I don't want to spoil your memory of his heroism and genteelness. I'm sure it was equal parts humiliation and protecting you from being grounded.


Sara Louise said...

In kindergarten I punch a little boy in the nose and made it bleed after he tried to kiss me, I think that may be a right of passage for us and them =)

Lori said...

I'd definitely like to think of this poor boy's actions as a rite of passage or an act of unrequited love... rather than the fact that he got punched in the nose by a ten year old girl. I will keep living in my FantasyLand. I like it here.

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During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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