“My First Kiss… A Cautionary Tale.”

There is absolutely nothing as memorable as a girl’s first kiss. Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s true. I can’t quite remember.

You see, for me, the memory is clogged by an even more visceral, more sweaty-palmed, more heart-palpitating, gut-twisting, spine-tingling experience. . . . Pure revulsion.

It wasn’t Steven’s fault. He was a perfectly decent boy, as boys go– a little dorky (he liked golf) and his hair could have used some product. But overall, he wasn’t bad. Just your basic freshman from the all-boy’s school down the street, here at the beach with his friends for Spring Break, looking for a little lip-action. Not like you’d expect much else, right?

For example, one thing I definitely DIDN’T expect was a giant toungue shoved immediately and forcefully into my mouth. Nor did I expect said tongue to taste like the bottom of a dirty ashtray (no, I’ve never licked one). I also didn’t expect to spend the entire time (twenty-seven and a half minutes) wondering when my friends were going to come get me, or how the hell I was going to excuse myself gracefully back to our condo to brush my teeth. Repeatedly.

After the fourth or fifth tooth collision, and several minutes pondering whether enough Listerine existed to correct this revolting taste in my mouth, I summoned the nerve to say, “There’s sand in my underpants.”

Steven pulled back to look at me like I had mental damage. “Caroline, it’s a beach,” he said. “There’s sand at the beach.”

Oh, right. I told him my name was Caroline. Still not sure why. Also not sure why he didn’t question it when my friends kept calling me Cecily right in front of him. Did I mention Steven was an honor student?

“Yeah, well,” I said, dusting off my denim mini-skirt. “Life’s a beach. Doesn’t mean I want sand in my butt.”

I started to make my way back to the crowded, well-lit area of the beach (all twenty feet of it) when Steven stood up. “I’ll walk you back,” he said, “to make sure you find your way.”

Because maybe I’d get lost on the fifty yard trek back to the elevators?

“That’d be great! Thanks!” I said, all the while musing how it’d be a cold day in Tijuana before I kissed anybody ever again. All I could think about was this disgusting article I’d read on how aroma has weight, and every time you smell something– like someone’s farts, or toxic foot odor or nasty smoker breath– what you’re really doing is injesting small particulates of that substance. So just by sniffing you could actually be INJESTING poop!!! Which, translated, meant I had just eaten a partially smoked, fully undigested cigarette.

Back at the condo, I did a heroic job of not hurling. Even when Steven came in for another smooch, lips guppy-wide, with sticky little spit trails connecting the corners of his mouth. Or when someone’s mom came onto the veranda to hose off her kid’s vomit which smelled, unsurprisingly, like bourbon. And especially when I ducked the kiss, gave him a high five, and bolted for the condo entrance.

“Kissing is disgusting,” I announced, slamming the door behind me. “I’m never doing that again.”

My friends stared after me, some with pity, others with measured scepticism. “Never?” Dina asked.

“But what if you have to?” Elizabeth said. “Like if you want to have babies?”

Elizabeth was also on the honor roll.

It wasn’t until my teeth had been firmly scoured, my tongue fully scrubbed with hot water and Brillo pad, then doused with Scope, that I came to one very certain conclusion: If I ever did have babies, NO WAY IN HELL would I ever let them go to Destin, Florida for Spring Break. And no matter where they went or what they did, I would be sure to impart a few pieces of motherly advice.

1. Start with the lips. If tongue seems like a good idea, go for it. Then (for God’s sake) retreat. Nuzzle, nibble, take a freaking breath. It’s a paintbrush, people, not a battering ram.

2. Do not smoke. Ever.

3. Make sure you know her name and at least one other random thing about her. (For example, “Sheila K… likes mustard on her French fries.”)

4. Try not to reek of desperation.


I was pretty sure that advice alone would earn me the Successful Parenting Badge.

How about you guys? What are your first kiss stories?



  1. Yours is far better material. Mine was in Kindergarten with Jeff Dobson, the best dinosaur draw-er in class. His father transferred to Vancouver, so the family had to move after Grade 1. I was heart broken. … until I met Tony Millwater in Grade 2, he was the best writer in the class. Yes, I’m a dating snob.

  2. Wow. You really dug into my mind and brought out some really bad memories. I grew up along a Florida beach, and yes my first kiss was at a beach bonfire. What is it with beach boys and smoking? Between the Coors beer infused ashtray flavor, invading tongue, and abundance of saliva…it’s a wonder I ever kissed boy number two!! 😀

    • Yeah, it took me a while, too. Almost four whole years, and that time I made SURE he could hold up his end of an Existential debate. He was also a rock star… like, literally, so that helped some.
      (Mmm, boys with guitars. Need I say more?)

  3. Ah, first kiss-dom. My first one wasn’t nearly as hilariously memorable as yours, but for romantic…yeah. :) It was with my very first “boyfriend,” Eldon–the boy next door (the one with curly hair that I cut off when we were 5–and I got in mega trouble because his mom was prouder of those curls than just about anything. I know because my mom reminded me for years after.) Anyway, we both moved away when we were 7 and didn’t see each other again for maaany years. And when we did, and he asked me out to the movies, and then walked me to my door. The awkward pause, the gazes, and then…the slight connection, followed by a much firmer one. *Sigh* Those were the days when kissing with an open mouth was FAST, girls. And you didn’t do that. Until the second date LOL. And you never told Mom. Thanks for trip down Eldon lane, Cecily. LOL.

  4. First kiss? Hal Prescott. My first serious boyfriend (can you have those at 7?) My first kiss is just one of many memories I carry of Hal, including the scar on my upper lip (not from kissing LOL) from the new golf club he got for his 8th birthday. In his defense, he DID tell me to step back.

    • Hal Prescott? Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like the real-life name of a Marvel Superhero?
      Tell me, when he swung the golf club, was there, perhaps a slavering horde of demons converging from the shadows which, if he had not stood strong, would surely have dismembered you?

      Just sayin’.

  5. Haha, this cracked me up! Thank goodness for the bad kissers, who make us really appreciate the good ones 😉

    • I know, right?
      Makes me appreciate Early David Ellinghauser (third best kisser ever) who, several years later, would totally change my mind about the “kissing is disgusting” thing.

  6. Oh, man, your first kiss sounds even funnier than mine, and I thought I had the corner on the market for funny.

    It was eighth grade. Picture a dorky girl with freckles and the last name Mahoney, often called Bony-maroney, because she was one of those sad kids who sort of looked like a skeleton with skin stretched taut. There was also this seventh grader, Michael. (I’m convinced every third male child is named Michael). He was tall, lanky, and red headed- yeah, he had freckles too. This is the kid who wore his dad’s old army jacket every day, oddly enough even when it was warm out. So Michael was the first boy who really showed any interest at all in Bony, she was thrilled. They ‘went together’ for a whopping two whole weeks. Then Michael showed himself to not be the brightest bulb on the tree and Bony had to cut him loose.

    Well, Michael didn’t take rejection well. For some odd reason he didn’t think she really meant it when she said, “We’re through.”

    One day at lunch, Bony sat on the fire escape behind the old auditorium, contemplating the universe or something equally impressive for an eighth grader, when ol’ Michael strolled around the corner. Seeing Bony was alone, he came to where she sat, totally invading her space. He did his best impression of what Bony now realizes were supposed to be bedroom eyes, and said something to the effect of, “I’m gonna kiss you.”

    Bony pulled back. “No, you’re not.”

    “Yep.” Michael smiled as he got even closer to Bony’s face.

    She just wasn’t ready for that, especially not with him. Bony was waiting on the cute guy in ninth grade, who could seriously have been Han Solo’s good looking son, to be her first real kiss.

    Bony tried to warn the poor kid. “If you stick your tongue in my mouth, I’ll bite.”

    Did I mention Michael wasn’t the brightest? Yeah, he went for it. Let’s just say, it wasn’t until Bony was in tenth grade, that another boy was brave enough to slip her the tongue. It wasn’t Han’s son, but Doug wasn’t too bad a kisser.

    In the end she got the best kisser, another Michael, who she married several years after that fateful first bite, and he actually doesn’t mind a little bite here or there, now and then.

    • OMG!!! That’s hysterical!
      Ah, poor Michael… the first, that is. Although in this case, I think he may have deserved to have his heart broken. 😉
      Gosh, I wonder what ever happened to Han Solo’s son?
      I bet HE was a really good kisser…Hmmm.
      *slips into quasi-erotic, totally inappropriate fantasy about eighth grader*

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