By Christina Mitchell
I love first kisses. I love watching them and reading about them. Ennis and Jack. Logan and Veronica. Megan and Graham. Weetzie Bat and My Secret Agent Lover Man. So many swoons. But in real life, they aren’t always so wonderful. I’ve had a lot more more like Cordelia & Wesley than I have Buffy & Angel. Mostly because I tend to make awkward situations exponentially more awkward and my unintentional comedic timing is superb.
Here’s Cordelia & Wesley’s Awkward Kiss — in which we learn that lust and chemistry are not the same thing.
At 13, I was madly in love with the 16-year-old boy down the street. He wore ripped jeans and had an undercut with a curly blonde ponytail, like my beloved New Kid, Donnie. My diary entries dripped with love and hate, depending on the day. We played a naughty version of red light, green light, with his hand going further and further up my skirt until I shouted RED LIGHT right before he touched my panties. One day we were wrestling around and he picked me up and tossed me on his mom’s bed and gave me my very first kiss. I can’t fault his technique. I’m not opposed to the Me Tarzan, You Jane school of lovin’, but he went in with a bit too much gusto and jammed his tongue all the way to my uvula. Not prepared for literal tonsil-hockey, I shoved him off me, ran to the bathroom and dry-heaved. Which was a bit of a mood-killer. We never really flirted or spoke much after that and my poor diary combusted beneath the flames of my angst.
So I kept my lips (and uvula) to myself until I was 16. I flirted with a boy with a speech impediment who called me KWES-TEENA and wore his drum major bucket hat all the time, even with his t-shirts and jeans. My friends were like, CHRISTINA. NO. But I thought he was quirky and adorable. After two tepid weeks of talking on the phone, the manic pixie dream boy met me in an empty, dark classroom, and went in for a kiss. Don’t know why, but I panicked and jerked my head away at the last minute, and he ended up licking me from the corner of my mouth to my jaw which caused me to burst out into hysterical giggles that wouldn’t stop, until he mumbled an excuse and left the room. Can’t imagine why, but he broke up with me the next day.
Then there was that guy I made out with on the bus with the giant raver pants, chain wallet and Marilyn Manson t-shirt. And that other guy I made out with on the bus who didn’t wear raver pants, but did stalk me for a few weeks afterward–hey, we all have that summer, amiright?
At 20, I met a hot gamer. Yes, bucking stereotypes like a motherfucker, this guy was great looking, had his own house and played live action Mage: The Ascension at the most dingy comics shop in town. After game one night, I missed the last bus. It was snow-storming out and he offered to let me stay the night on his couch. I didn’t know how old he was, hell I didn’t even know his last name, but I said yes, because everything looks like a green flag when you’re young and horny. So we sat on the couch and talked for hours. The flirting got heavier and suddenly he yanked me onto his lap, dug his hands into my braids and gave me THE MOST AMAZING KISS I’ve ever had in my life. No offense to those who kissed me afterward, including my wonderfully kissable hubs, but this guy was a triple gold medalist in Tongue Curling at the Smooch-Olympics. I wish I could describe what made it so fantastic, but I have no idea. The whole time we made out, my brain kept crashing like Windows going straight to the blue screen of death.
Things got hotter and I remember feeling victorious. Nothing would screw up this magical moment! I wriggled around on his lap and my body got all tight and aching. Really aching. Unpleasantly aching. Wow, my stomach hurt. And then…I started my period. Yes. You do not understand awkward until you have your hand in a stranger’s pants and their hand is in yours, just as a rush of uterine hate sluices forth from your wretched baby-maker, turning the hottest experience of your young life into the most awkward encounter you’ll ever have*. We called it quits and he bid me an bemused goodnight. And since I wasn’t carrying a purse with me, I had to make a maxi-pad out of toilet paper whilst contemplating the folly of desire. Oh, and in the morning, he told me he had a girlfriend anyway.
It’s a miracle we humans ever try again, isn’t it? But try I did. Years later, on a second date with a nice guy I’d met on the internet, we were standing in a parking lot, outside of CiCi’s Pizza. He was being a total gentleman and I was totally over it. So I grabbed him by the collar of his polo shirt and kissed him. He had the most delightfully glazed look when I pulled away and then he went for it, giving me a bone-meltingly slow kiss that made my brain short-circuit in a different way. When I said goodnight and got into my car, Nora Jones’ “Turn Me On” blasted from the radio. I drove home in a fog of giggles and swoons and wrote in my Live Journal that I was in “deep, deep trouble.” And I was right. I married that guy.
Still though, it’s rare for life to offer up a truly magical first kiss. That’s why we writers do it for you. That satisfyingly deep, dark vortex of desire, the surety of intent, the crashing of lips against each other without the corresponding chipping of teeth, is fiction at it’s best.
*Writing is my gift.
Christina Mitchell writes love stories that fall somewhere between the dark humor of David Sedaris and the sensitive lyricism of Metallica. Her first novel, How to Stay will be available…mumble mumble 2018? Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.