On April 17, 1996, I was stuck after school at Barnwell Elementary waiting for my bus. Alex, a fellow fifth grader I had been crushing on for months, offered to have me come wait with him in the art room, where his mom also taught, while he waited for her to finish up a staff meeting.
I joined him, and we both started doodling on a sheet of paper to pass the time. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he looked up and asked if I had ever kissed anyone. Clad in Umbro shorts and red Converse high-tops, my untamable Jew-fro shellacked into a low bun, I froze. Sure, I was always the first girl picked for teams in P.E., but I never thought I’d be asked about kissing, let alone by one of the cutest, funniest boys in the fifth grade!
“No,” I said, my heart beating out of the Target-brand sports bra underneath my oversized basketball jersey. “What about you?”
“Nope,” he said, turning to face me. “I like you. Do you like me? If I kissed you, would you kiss me back?”
Um, DUH! And just like that, I had my very first kiss. We truly had no idea what we were doing, asking ourselves: “Which way should our heads turn? We have to both turn to the right… no, your right and my right”; “Why are my lips are much wetter than yours?”; and “Are you supposed to use your tongue like that?”
While it seemed more instructional than romantic, it was absolutely one of the most magically unforgettable moments of my life. I remember being in a daze for hours afterward, documenting every detail in my diary, which I had started on the first day of third grade and would keep until I graduated from Georgetown 10 years later. I remember my mom being concerned that I didn’t even touch my dinner that night – and I never neglected a super-sized Filet-O-Fish value meal from McD’s!
First kisses are magical. I hope many of us look back at our first kiss stories with a similar sense of nostalgia and wonderment. Now, as adults, if only our first kisses with new people could be so special, right? Oh, wait… THEY CAN BE! And THEY SHOULD BE!!!
In fact, one thing I hear equally from both my male and female clients is just how important kissing chemistry is. In today’s sex-centric society, kissing can be totally underrated. According to CNN, a kiss serves as “the ultimate litmus test for a relationship. It can urge us to pursue a deeper connection with someone special or act as a warning to back off when something just doesn’t feel right. In fact, 59% of men and 66% of women say that they have ended a budding relationship because of a bad kiss.” (While I won’t go into it here, there’s actually science behind it, too!) I also totally agree with HuffPost’s report that the number one habit of happy couples is to always kiss their partners hello and goodbye. True dat! In reflecting on my own past relationships, I realize our kissing began to go downhill as soon as our connection did.
Compatible kissing styles are super important, too. An aggressive tonsil-tagger or a Hoover-ing hunk are no match for one with a softer, slower approach. A person’s natural kissing style is not always adaptable, either, and it shouldn’t be, in many cases. You do you! Find someone who loves your style, too, and vice-versa. As we age, our bodies won’t always operate like they used to. A good kiss with someone you love can last a lifetime, though.
So, when should you have that first kiss with someone new? I get asked this question all the time, and I actually have a pretty strong opinion about it: Don’t do it on the first date. I’ve had a lot of guys tell me that they want to go in for the kill on a first date to know asap if there’s something physical there, but I truly believe in waiting until the second date. (Note: not the FIFTH date, or your sexuality might be questioned. I once sent a CALENDAR INVITE for a kiss to a guy I had begun seeing.) Why wait until the second date? Allow a little bit of build up. Anticipation is a powerful thing. I can’t speak for all girls, but I can say that I feel the majority of first kisses I’ve had felt like they were too soon or caught me off-guard, and not necessarily in a good way. Some of the best kisses in my entire life were when I actually asked a guy, “So, are you going to kiss me, or wtf?!”” And it was AWESOME. Of course, not everyone is as upfront as I am, and go with what feels right for you. But, promise me this: if you’re unsure if you should dive in just because the first date has come to an end and it’s what you’re “supposed” to do, hold off. Trust me. If you want to see this person again, just make sure you tell your date you had a great time and would love to see him/her again, and then make a concrete plan.
When I had my first kiss with my boyfriend on an icy January night outside of my building after our second date, I wanted it. And afterwards, I just knew. Even with a goofy fur bomber hat and a piece of kale stuck between his teeth, I couldn’t have been more attracted. It wasn’t even ten degrees outside, yet we were on fi-yahhh🔥. “Wow,” he had said. “I think we’re in trouble.”
He was right. Combine an electric kiss with a powerful budding connection, and you’re onto something, folks.
So, as the cold weather approaches, keep those lips moisturized. Have the Altoids handy, and go for that untransferable lipstick, ladies. Happy kissing, y’all – let’s make it magical!
(Side note: I still wonder how two unsupervised 11 year olds ended up alone in a classroom after school hours. With a couch, an easel, and a plethora of paints, we could’ve easily pulled a full-fledged Titanic reenactment – or pre-enactment, since my soon-to-be favorite movie of all time had yet to come out?! Anyhoo, that’s besides the point – I owe Alex, wherever he is, for this sweet first experience and for giving me the foundation for my skillz today. Holla, Al!)