Describe your first kiss.

642 Deep breath. Fifteen years ago this was a mix of personal blog and links. If you have the relevant equipment to carry out a geophysical enquiry, you'll find all kinds of artifacts buried in the early noughties but there are some stories which you won't find interred even there either because the incidents were too fresh, or I had a sense of shame or just simply because I wanted to keep them to myself. Well, I'm 43 years old and even though my anxiety is bubbling away quite a bit tonight, I thought it was time to actually put this into words.  For most of you this probably come across as pretty unremarkable.  But it's still been one of those things which I've never really talked about and couldn't.

My first kiss happened in my early twenties.  Despite many crushes at school and through university and plenty of people I would dearly have loved to kiss, either I didn't have the courage or I valued a friendship more.  You can interpret what else that says about me.  There are a couple of occasions at university when I think it might have potentially happened but either I didn't see the signals (see previous post) or I did see the signals and freaked out.  Being an only child, being generally nerdy and going to an all boys school, my  sexual education amounted to television and films and whatever biology we were taught at school.  I couldn't really even talk to girls through most of my teens even on the off chance that I actually met one of you.  If our all boys school hadn't admitted girls into the sixth form, might not still be able to.

But I'm delaying the inevitable so here it is.  It was one night, possibly a Friday in 1996 or 7 at a friend's university student union on a night out with some of his class mates or his girlfriend's classmates, my memory is vague on this point as it is with so much of what happened.  I was drunk, which wasn't hard back then.  Having also not bought a beer until a year before, a bottle of Budweiser at a Jazz Festival (!), I didn't have a tolerance so could well have only had just a couple of pints.  Somehow, probably because we happened to be sitting next to each other, I was talking to a woman who's face I think was round?  She had short dark hair, possibly, and we were getting on well.  In my drunken memory she was laughing at my jokes and I was laughing at hers.  We were flirting.

We kissed.  I think it was mutual.  She was drunk too.  I also remember her saying something like "that was forward" and giggling.  I remember the taste, she smoked and I could taste that.  It was open mouth too.  Lasted no longer than a few seconds.  But I also remember feeling awkward afterwards, remorseful.  Soon afterwards we moved to the downstairs bar and she didn't sit with me there, she stood around the table from me talking to one of her male friends.  I think I went to the toilet shortly afterwards and by the time I'd returned half the group had gone, including her.  I never saw her again, that I know of.  If I ever knew her name, I don't now.  Twenty years on, I barely remember what she looked like.  For some reason, I think she might have been wearing a hat, like the one Kylie has on the cover of the Never Too Late single.

I'd like to say that my first kiss was with someone I loved, that was passionate and brimming with fulfilled longing, like so many first kisses I've seen in films.  But instead, I've always had this nagging sense of shame, of not being able to remember the details, doubting my own behaviour, who initiated what.  Within a couple of years I stopped drinking alcohol almost completely, not liking the version of me I became when drunk, the needless sarcasm, the tendency to let my mouth run off with itself.  It would be incorrect of me to say that this experience didn't contribute as well.  If I hadn't been drunk there might not have been this kiss, but equally if I hadn't been drunk I would be able to remember a damn thing about it.  I have vivid memories of whole evenings at that time, but this milestone is obscured by dirt, moss and mist.

Having written this do I feel better about it?  No.  It's going to take all my courage to click Blogger's publish button.  I wonder what you'll think of me which is strange because most of you are near total strangers.  Like I said above, this is probably an unremarkable story and I'm making far too much of this, but if you have an ego, you cultivate a version of yourself which you present to the world and are afraid of talking about something which contravenes that image.  I am 43 years old and I do need to put some things to rest and perhaps posting it up here will help.  Let's see how long it stays up before I hyperventilate and decide that this has all been some terrible mistake.  It's happened before ...

No comments: