Real First Kiss
Just like losing your virginity, your 'real' first kiss is what you decide it is.
Credit: Anna Sastre
At a friend’s recent sixtieth birthday party the conversation naturally turned to milestones. What events did we all have a story for? What moments in time had survived in all of our memories? What did we imbue with significance at the time that turned out not to be important – getting a pen license in primary school anyone? And what did we still consider seminal events in our lives?
After much discussion, the memory of our first kisses was revealed as something the women there, despite our varying ages, could easily bring to mind. Despite our increasingly progressive societies the first kiss remains significant in our collective cultural imagination. It’s a rite of passage that marks a transition into your autonomous sexuality.
This revelation led to further debate about what exactly constitutes a real first kiss. One of my friends, who didn’t come out as a lesbian until well into adulthood, argued that her real first kiss was the first time she kissed a woman. Kissing boys before we embraced/ discovered/ owned our sexuality was common to most of the women in the group. We felt like we had two ‘first kiss,’ stories. The chronological first and what we started calling the real first.
Chronologically my first kiss was with a perfectly nice boy from a neighbouring high-school when I was fifteen. This was getting towards a pretty tragically advanced age from what I could suss out, so the pressure was on. It happened in the rain – romantic; at tram stop – less so, and it was fine. It did make me feel pretty deceived about the whole first kiss being a big deal idea. Mostly I was relieved to have narrowly escaped spinsterhood. We ‘dated’ briefly and kissed some more and it was… fine.
When I was sixteen a girl from my high-school asked me out. She came to my house to pick me up like in an American teen film. We were too young to drive so that involved walking me to the tram. I thought it was adorable. I ate a salad and hid the olive pip in my cheek because I didn’t want to spit them out in front of her and look uncouth. After dinner walked around the city without anything destination in mind, just to prolong our time together.
Eventually, we caught a cab home and as I got out I thought that was it. But then she jumped out as well, ran around the side of the car and kissed me. It was like coming home, but to no home I had ever known. It was then that I understood the lore around the first kiss. All the clichés came to life; butterflies, thumping heart – the lot. I remember looking in the bathroom mirror to see if my face remained unchanged. Surely an experience this momentous must have left a physical trace.
Your first kiss is more than just an event, it’s a mythology, a rite of passage, a story you’ll probably share with many friends and lovers over the years. My friends and I concluded that you get to choose which kiss fulfills those criteria. Maybe it will be your chronologically first kiss, or maybe it will happen when you’re sixty; that’s up to you.
Elizabeth Robinson-Griffith is a writer and editor living in Melbourne with a particular interest in queer issues, feminism, and crime. She writes in a variety of styles and is completing RMIT's Professional Writing and Editing degree and working on her first book – a crime fiction. Check out her work at http://elizabethrobinsongriffith.com/