That Moment Before the First Kiss: Rainbows and Unicorns for Some, Death and Suffering for Me

In movies, the moment before that first kiss is magical. The guy leans in, the romantic music swells, the girl hesitates adorably, and sparks fly as they lovingly swap spit while beautiful fairies shower them in glitter and happiness. My first kiss moments could make awkward turtles look like Michelle Kwan, ice princess. No matter how much I like a guy, I avoid that first kiss with him like the Black Plague. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of touching; the transition from close proximity to his tongue in my mouth freaks me out. Here’s my top three most awkward, in all their uncomfortable glory:

3. After this guy (we’ll call him “Ryan Gosling” to protect his identity) inched towards me on the couch for what seemed like hours, I could sense that first kiss like one smells leaking gas. Despite the fact that I liked Ryan Gosling, I was consciously ignoring every obvious sign that most human beings would accept as the perfect moment for a first kiss. Ryan kept moving his face closer to mine and I refused to look anywhere but straight ahead to avoid eye contact, until he was talking at my cheek and I was talking at the wall in front of us. When it finally became too awkward to pass off as normal, I turned to him and launched into my fears about being bad at kissing. Oh god, if guys start out attracted to me, I certainly talk them out of it by then end of the first date. He kissed me anyway and I giggled like a five-year-old who shit her pants throughout the whole ordeal. I’m determined to die alone.

2. The second guy (“Jake Gyllenhaal”) I ever kissed was on my first college date. I avoided the inevitable for as long as I could, terrified about how awkward it would be. The first time he leaned in and puckered his lips, I jumped up and shouted, “Coffee?!” like a goddamn romantic comedy, except instead of getting a laugh from an audience I just remained the most undateable person on the planet. The second time he lunged for my face, I dodged it with the agility I learned from evading the nurse when she comes at me with a needle. Jake’s final attempt was perhaps the most awkward. We were sitting in front of my laptop listening to music and he said, “Play your favorite song”, and I just knew he wanted it to be playing during our first kiss because clearly in his mind that would make everything magical. To put both of us out of our misery, I finally said, “Do you want to kiss me?” He nodded like a puppy caught peeing on the carpet. “Okay.” It was just as awkward, if not more awkward, than I imagined. We kissed like kindergartners. No open mouths, no tongues, no saliva. And my roommate was in the dorm room the whole time pretending not to notice.

1. The very first guy I kissed was probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever initiated. I was in college (high school was brutal, guys) and I had just been asked out on my first date. I was so nervous because I had never kissed anyone before that I asked my guy friend to kiss me so I could at least have kissed one guy before going on this date. While some people’s first kiss is romantic and with a guy they like, mine was with a platonic friend who I begged to kiss me so I would know what it was like. I was eighteen, and yes, I will be a cat lady thank you for asking. My friend selflessly agreed. What a martyr. We met in some dark corner of the campus later that night because why give any semblance of normality to this situation when you can meet in an abandoned, badly lit sitting area? My heart was beating a million beats per minute and I was talking just as a fast. “So I’m really nervous cause I’ve never kissed anyone and what if I’m bad at it and what happens if-” but before I could finish my sentence he kissed me. I seized up like an anemone poked in its gooey center. It was weird and slimy and when he pulled away he said, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.” Well, at least that’s good. Asshole.

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