I had my first kiss the summer of my 15th year.
I was thinking about this the other day when I was talking to some of my little delinquent boys at school ( I work with the ultimate “at-risk” boys). I don’t often find myself with the opportunity to just chat with these guys. But this particular day someone was having a problem in one of the other units and everyone just had to stay put for awhile.
So the lesson was over, the class period was over, but we were all just waiting around for the all clear and we got to talking. It’s not usually a good idea to delve too deeply into personal things with these guys, but as the conversation drifted around to girls (with a group of 8 or 9 teenage boys it’s a topic that’s bound to come up) I found myself thinking about my first kiss as I was trying to explain a few things about girls. And since this kiss happened a few decades ago now, I decided that I could use it as an illustration to show that a guy might not always know what a girl is thinking.
I guess the impetus for this event was less about young teen-age love and more about the fact that I have two older stepsisters. I would go down to Arizona to visit each summer and by the summer I was 15, almost 16 (my stepsisters 17 and 18), I had hit an age when I was anxious to grow up. I got along alright with my stepsisters but I always felt like I was lagging behind – especially socially if you know what I mean. My sisters were very pretty girls that didn’t have any trouble getting boys to like them. I also didn’t have any trouble getting boys to like me, but in the most depressingly platonic way imaginable (an ability, I have to say, which has only gotten more pronounced with age). I can’t tell you how many boys would suck up to me just to get close to my pretty sisters. Through the ages of about 12 to 14 I was ok with this – attention is attention after all. But by the time I was sliding into the magical age of 16, I was really beginning to feel like the perpetual buddy. Because I was comparing myself to my stepsisters, I felt like I had a list of things I was supposed to have done by that ripe old age that just weren’t happening. I had never had a boy hold my hand, I’d barely had a slow dance and hadn’t even gotten close to being kissed. I decided that I really needed to do something about it.
So, to make a long story short I picked one out of the perpetual gaggle of gentlemen callers that surrounded my sisters and actually seemed interested in what I had to say most of the time and kind of went to work on him. Surprisingly enough my victim seemed to be relatively willing to help me check some things of my list. He obligingly held my hand on a fairly regular basis and we even managed to snuggle up on a few slow dances throughout the summer. But the summer was drawing to a close, I would be heading back to Utah and the big moment just hadn’t happened.
The moment finally came when we were coming back from a youth conference on one of those infamous charter buses. Since the days of my misspent youth I have put in a fair amount of time as a chaperone on busses full of teenagers and I can tell you I was a lot more vigilant about the PDA’s on the bus than any chaperone I ever had as a teen. But there I was in the back of the underchaperoned bus clumsily trying to position myself in such a nonchalant-come-hither-way that this boy would be able to easily swoop in for a kiss if he felt so inclined. FINALLY after about 250 miles he actually inclined and there it was - my first kiss. I’d like to say that I had a Brady Bunch moment and saw rockets and fireworks. But in reality I remember being kind of outside the moment and trying to decide if I should move my lips, hold my breath or tilt my head. But we managed to not knock our noses together for about 20 seconds or so and it was….nice. The moment had finally happened and it was nice and I had checked another right of passage off of my imaginary growing up list.
Unfortunately, I think the poor boy was pretty confused. I can remember after the kiss broke, I kind of smiled at him and then kind of moved away from my strategic please-kiss-me lean back into my own seat, pulled by blanket up to my chin and closed my eyes for a nap.
After a minute he leaned over and asked me “Are you mad?”
I was surprised. “No, “ I answered. “I’m fine.” “Are you sure?” he said. Yes, I was sure, I was fine, just kind of tired and ready to sleep for awhile. It was seriously a couple of years later before I realized why he thought I was mad – he wasn’t done yet! I had experienced my first kiss, checked it off the list and closed up shop for the night. He, on the other hand thought that he’d found a girl he could make-out with in the back of the bus. Looking back, I can’t really blame him. I had given every indication that I was up for al little kissing. Problem for him was that I really meant just a little kissing and that was it.
Most of my little delinquent boys definitely took the side of the confused boy admitting that they too would have been confused if a girl they just kissed decided that a nap was the next thing on the menu. What can I say? I was in a hurry to grow up, but was still pretty naïve about a lot of things. That was kind of the point I was trying to make with the boys – girls may be throwing out some signals, but that doesn’t always mean what you think it does. So make sure you get to know each other on a lot of levels before things get physical and people get confused.
Of course that’s what I said as the mature voice of experience and I believe that – I really do. But I have to admit at this particular point in my life, that sometimes….not all the time but once in awhile, I do wish that I had done a little more kissing in the back of busses.