Can a kiss be romantic when you’re only nine? Heck yeah.
I distinctly remember my first kiss. I was eight, and it was with a neighbor boy named Kenny (he’s still one of my best friends). The idea of us kissing was definitely my idea. Our play time had always been very innocent, with moments of sexual precociousness thrown in. I don’t recall us ever playing “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” but I do recall one game we invented where we would compete with each other in a race, or something of that nature, and the winner would tie the loser to a tree and do whatever they wanted to the other one — usually tickling or some other sort of ‘pretend villainy.’ And sometimes the winner would want to be the one tied up and have the loser tickle them. There were even times when we would be touching each other all over until we were giggling, panting and red in the face. (I can’t speak for Ken, but this kind of playing definitely sparked my curiosity about S&M in the years to come.)
When it came to us kissing, I was pretty nervous; we both kept giggling and neither would make the first move. I started to get kind of frustrated about it because I thought he should be the one to kiss me first (since he was “the man”), but I was older, and it was my idea, so I decided to go for it.
It was a breezy autumn night in North Carolina and Ken and I had been playing all day since we got home from school. We were standing at the side of my parent’s house on the river; the crickets were chirping and all the birds were singing. I looked at him (and he looked a tad panicked, which was fine by me because I didn’t feel nervous anymore), I took a deep breath, put both my hands on his shoulders, drew him close, took a tiny step forward, and planted a big, soft, wet kiss on his eager, trembling lips. And then he started awkwardly moving his lips and kissing me back. There wasn’t any tongue, but I do recall getting very excited, and I started breathing funny — just like I had finished a run in P.E. class. We were kissing for a few minutes and suddenly I couldn’t hear any crickets; the only thing I could hear was our kissing and breathing. We had both been gently inducted into a new phase in our life as very young, sexual people. It was amazing; the heightened feeling of elation, the dizziness, the pounding heartbeats, the mingling breath, and the wetness of our lips. It all produced a very real response in me, both mentally and physically. I wanted more.
We stopped kissing and just looked at each other for a while, taking in the newness of it all. It was completely innocent, yet incredibly profound. The crickets started chirping again, the birds started singing, and a lovely cool breeze washed over us both. I remember feeling very giddy and my face was warm and pink. Ken’s handsome blue eyes were very big and he had a satisfied, yet curious, smile on his face. We laughed — and then I said I said, “Should we try Frenching?”
We both agreed that we should and attempted to French kiss… very unsuccessfully, I might add, because for some reason we thought that our tongues should start touching on the outside of our mouths — so we were basically licking each other’s tongues and lips. This went on for a few minutes until I stopped us both, wiped my mouth off with the back of my hand and said, matter-of-factly: “This is NOT how it’s done in the movies!” I immediately felt bad about being so rude and abrupt, but I was concerned with doing it right.
“Should we try again?” I asked, noticing the crestfallen look on his face. It was then that I realized how intimate our kissing was, and how insensitive I was being. I was behaving like I was mad at him when I didn’t know what I was doing either. I told him I was sorry I snapped at him. We talked about what had just happened for a little while and our conversation was quite mature for a couple of kids. Then we sat down on the ground, with our backs up against the house, sitting in silence, listening to the world around us.
I saw my mom’s headlights turn into our driveway and I knew that I would be called in for dinner soon. Kenny and I walked across the street and climbed up into his tree house to watch the lightning bugs in his backyard. We didn’t kiss again, but gave each other a warm hug before I ran home. I was silent throughout the entire meal, but I was smiling — thinking of where my mouth had just been.
Whether or not we got it right that night, that kiss was the first step on my path to discovering my sexual self. It became my first real secret, and my first step towards growing up. And that — felt great.
What do you remember about your first kiss?