My first kiss on something other than my pillow occurred during private school. Well, not actually during, as that would have woken up all of the kids who were sleeping in class.
It was with Kristina, (not her real name as I want to spare her the embarrassment) a schoolmate in a different grade. Maturity-wise? Many grades ahead. I approached her one day between classes and told her I needed advice.
“Fire away, kiddo.” She was always calling me that, so you can see that there was nothing going on romantically. We were more like an old married couple than anything else.
I told her I noticed she played Spin the Bottle. And pretty well, at that.
“And I’ve noticed you don’t,” she quickly countered.
“Well, there’s a reason for that.”
“I…I…I don’t know how to kiss.”
“And you want me to show you? Is that what you’re gonna ask?”
“No, I ah…”
“That’s exactly what you were gonna ask.”
“Well, if you’re too busy with your science projects and all…” She was a whiz at science so I thought kissing her, plus her knowledge of science would somehow transfer into some nice chemistry.
“Who are you planning to kiss?”
“Yeah, right. You don’t tell me, I`m not gonna teach you.”
“Can’t I just pay you?”
“Are you trying to turn me into a prostitute at fourteen?”
I shrugged. “Might help pay the way for med school.”
“Funny, Romeo. So what’s in it for me?”
“Hmmph. You get to kiss me?”
“I dunno, I’ll think of something.” I thought about giving her one of my duplicate New York Yankee baseball cards, but she’d have to do a lot more than just kiss me for one of those.
She scanned the hall and yanked me into an empty classroom. A science room at that. Complete with the backdrop of formaldehyde. Very symbolic.
She cracked her knuckles and smiled at me. “Welp, show me what you’ve got.” It looked like she was more ready for a fight than a kiss.
I stalled for time. “Lemme ask you something: When you kiss and all that…do you look at the person?”
“Not unless you wanna go cross-eyed. Every now and then it’s okay, but don’t make a habit of it.”
“Hmmph. Okay…you ready?’
“Ready,” she said, inching closer, with an even broader smile.
Now, you have to picture this: I kissed the way they did in the movies. The early movies. You know, mouths pressed together with head moving side to side. Five seconds of that, she pushed away. “You kiss like a fish!”
“What do you mean?”
“Just what I said.”
“What am I s’posed to do?”
“You don’t know?”
“Obviously not, according to your standards.”
“For starters, you gotta open your mouth.”
My mouth opened alright – in shock. “And then what?” I asked as I backed away.
“No, I just have a headache all of a sudden. I gotta go.”
She yanked on my jacket and pulled me back to her. “No…I`m gonna show you. Otherwise, any girl you do kiss you’re gonna send to the hospital with a broken jaw.” She let go of my jacket, now soaked in sweat.
“Just tell me, you don’t have to show me,” I said while looking around in planning my escape route.
“You’re such a little boy. Okay, first thing as I said, you open your mouth and you, you…you know…”
“No I don’t know.”
“You…you put your tongue in.”
“IN YOUR MOUTH?”
“No, in my ear! Of course my mouth.”
“Get the hell outta here!”
“I`m serious,” she said.
“That’s gross!” I said.
She rolled her eyes.
“You’re kiddin’ me. Aren’t you?” I pleaded, hoping she was kidding.
“Look, I kissed you the way they do in the movies.”
“What kinda movies you been watching?”
“Tracy/Hepburn, Gable/Lombard…Abbott and Costello.”
She rolled her eyes. Again. “Look, there was a rule back then that said no tonguing allowed onscreen. Along with having to keep one foot on the floor when they’re in bed.”
“Even when they’re sleeping?”
“Class dismissed!” she said and walked out on me.
First day at Kristina’s Kissing Class…and I got an F.