Friday, February 18, 2011

In which I have my first French kiss and am thoroughly disgusted

My first kiss was when I was 12 with the guy who lived on the farm next to the cemetery and three blocks from my grandmother's house. But it was a closed-lip quickie and certainly did not make my knees weak as I had been led to believe would happen by the Harlequin romances I devoured by the pound. No weakness in the knees or the elbows or the cheeks or anywhere. It was a weakness-free kiss. I was robbed.

We did not repeat that kiss. It was a one-off. One and done. I don't remember why - was I still in town but uninterested in trying again? Was I still in town but he was uninterested in trying again? Or did we go back to Lubbock? I remember that the next time I saw him, which might have been the next summer, I thought he was kind of short and not that cute at all. The stardust had fallen from my eyes. Or the scales. Pick your allusion.

My next kiss was in Panama. This was before Ken, the guy who broke up with me before the prom, not that I'm bitter about that or anything and I shouldn't be because he never actually asked me and I didn't have a dress or anything, although I would have sewn something amazing because I used to be a good seamstress before I discovered consignment and thrift shopping, and before the guy who turned out to be gay.

My brother had a friend, Brian, who would hang out at our house a lot. He looked a little stoner-y, but I don't think he was one of those kids who went straight to the smoking curb as soon as he got to school every morning. For those of you who are still in high school or college, know that there used to be places in high schools for students to smoke. On campus. It wasn't just teachers who could take refuge in tobacco, it was also students.

At my high school in Panama, the smokers sat on the curb between the school and the Panama Canal administration building. Gorgeous, gorgeous grounds: manicured grass, trimmed palm and other kinds of trees that I have no idea what they are because I am not a tree person. Beautiful buildings as well. If you want to see some pretty buildings and grounds, google "Panama Canal administration building." You won't be disappointed.

At my high school in San Antonio, the smoking area was behind the cafeteria by the spitting area, because in Texas, we don't just smoke tobacco, we also chew it, as chewing can be done in places where smoking is not acceptable.

I had been working with Mike for six months, sitting across the table from him during the riveting training on how to calculate health and life insurance premiums, a task that took hours to do by hand because this was in the days before a personal computer on every desk but dang, no wonder that company is no longer in business because if they had replaced half their underwriters with PCs, they could have gotten four times the work done in half the time and would have been you know, profitable, which is a necessary condition for the ongoingness of a private-sector business, before I realized that he had been chewing tobacco all day every day and discreetly spitting it into the Big Gulp cup he always kept at hand. I just thought he was really thirsty. Once I found out what he was doing, I was disgusted because there is nothing like knowing that the guy across from you has a cup full of tobacco spit to turn your stomach.

But I still thought he was hot. He wasn't so much to look at, but he was really smart and interesting and funny and he smelled great. I would walk past him just to inhale. His own pheromones plus Polo: a killer combo. I found him online recently and eh - he's aged OK, I suppose. He's moved into the power circles of the insurance industry, so bully for him. He was a hard worker and smart. Still not much to look at. I wonder if he still smells good.

At my high school in Texas, we had the smoking circle for the stoners/smokers and we had the spitting place for the chewers/cowboys. The stoners/smokers were most likely to be found wearing black AC/DC t-shirts and old army jackets and to have long hair. The chewers/cowboys wore Wranglers, the jeans of choice for the rural cow professional, and cowboy hats. And boots. Although many of us in Texas, regardless of stimulant affiliation, wore cowboy boots to school because 1. it was Texas and 2. cowboy boots are cute and comfortable. I have two pairs now, one red and one tan, and am kicking myself for not buying the blue snakeskin Luccheses that were at the consignment store for $50. Fifty dollars! FOR LUCCHESES!

The Wranglers usually had a faded, worn circle on the back right pocket for that was where the chewer stored his Skoal. The Skoal was removed at lunch and between classes so the chewer could chew and spit at the chewing tree, which had lost much of its lower bark and the ground around which was bare dirt because the grass had long since been killed by tobacco spit.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Brian who looked like a stoner with his longish hair and his rock band t-shirts but who I don't think was. I mean, he might have been, but he still managed to fit in CYO and swim team.

And flirting with me, although at first I didn't realize that's what he was doing, because 1. he was my brother's friend and 2. I didn't know what flirting with me looked like.

But soon I figured it out. Brian was over at the house. My brother was upstairs, my dad was at work, and my mom was in the kitchen doing what I don't know because at this point, doing the dishes after supper was a responsibility farmed out to my siblings and me.

Isn't that one of the reasons people have kids? To have labor? It stuns me to see my neighbor shoveling snow while her 7th grade son watches. We've talked about it (I know her well enough to ask) and she said she has only one shovel, to which the obvious reply is, "Well give it to him!" but I don't know her well enough to say that. But why have kids if you're going to cut the grass yourself, or worse, as one friend did, pay someone $300 a month to do? I asked why he didn't have his high-school son cut and edge and my friend told me that his son wouldn't do it right, which was when I shut my mouth because hey, his money and it's not like you can do much with $300 a month anyhow. Not like that's half of our mortgage payment. Sheesh.

Brian and I were alone in the living room and we were sitting next to each other on the couch and then he kissed me, which shocked the heck out of me but after a second I thought, Well that's not too shabby! Then we heard my brother coming down the stairs so we stopped.

The next time he came over, we found a moment to sneak another kiss. Well this was fun!

Then he came over again. He snuck out from my brother's room and found me in mine. Kissed me. But this time, he stuck his tongue in my mouth.

When I was in sixth grade, I was reading Dear Abby and saw a reference to French kissing. I had no idea what that was so I asked my mom. She told me it's when you kiss and stick your tongues in each other's mouths.

That sounds disgusting! I said, appalled and grossed out.

My mom laughed and told me that I might change my mind.

I felt Brian's tongue in my mouth. What the heck? What was this? Oh this was gross!

But wait.


Maybe this isn't so bad after all.

Let me try again.

I decided this French kissing would be an acceptable part of my making out lexicon. So Brian and I made out occasionally when he came over, but then we stopped. Why? I don't remember. Maybe that's when I met Ken The Guy Who Dumped Me Right Before The Prom Not That I'm Bitter About That. I kiss only one guy at a time.

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