What was your first kiss like? I don’t know why it popped into my head, but I recently recalled what mine looked like, felt like, who it was with and where it happened. And I just thought it was the sweetest thing to reminisce about.
I was twelve years old. I was most definitely a late bloomer by today’s standards – boys were disgusting before this point, and while I’d played kiss chase throughout primary school, I earnestly did not want to be caught. And so I never was.
But here I was in Cornwall, enjoying a long caravan holiday with my family. I’d spent all day racing around on my bike, throwing myself in and out of the swimming pool and hanging off the monkey bars in the park when a boy named Tom caught my eye.
Tom (thirteen, liked football and had a sister) was also staying on the caravan site, and he challenged me to a monkey bar competition. We spent the next few days beating each other at various games and hanging out in other’s tents.
But there was also an undercurrent of something else going on – a strange infusion of hormones and curiosity and romance – and I decided I ‘liked’ him. Unbeknown to me, he confided in my younger brother (my partner in crime) and all the other kids on the camp site that he liked me too. This was my first taste of requited ‘love’ – bewildering, exhilarating and more important than anything else in the world, surely. Buoyed up with this knowledge, I boldly headed over to where Tom was hanging out on a hillside. I declared my feelings for him, he admitted the same, and it meant we were a couple.
Then he told me he wanted to kiss me. I wanted to kiss him too – but for some reason the idea seemed too scary to actually follow through with. What would it feel like? What was I supposed to do? Where do you learn these things and why didn’t I know this already?
He had already kissed a girl and shared none of my trepidation, and so I cycled away after telling him I would “think about it”. I confided in my younger brother. Eventually, I plucked up my courage and went to find Tom.
I insisted we go somewhere quiet – my first kiss was a big deal, and I did not want an audience – so we headed to the deeply unromantic (but very private) back wall of the shower block with a hedgerow on one side, and the chatter of adults washing up their dishes on the other.
It was then, stood opposite Tom, that I lost my nerve. I told him I was sorry but that I was scared for some reason and I didn’t know if I could. We sat down on the grass and I put my head in his lap like I had done for all of that summer, looking up at his face upside down and talking about everything and nothing. After a while of silence, with the sun setting in the cow fields in the distance, (it was that romantic, and it was also late August so the fields were golden brown and fringed with thick green trees) he suggested that I close my eyes. He would kiss me so I wouldn’t be scared by knowing when it was coming.
I thought about this for a short while and decided it was a good idea. I wanted Tom to kiss me, but closing the gap between wanting the kissing, and doing the kissing, was paralysing. I shut my eyes, sensed the shadow cast by his head across my face as he bent down, and shortly thereafter felt his mouth on mine.
“It’s happening! It’s happening! I’m having my first kiss, it’s happening!” thought my twelve year old brain.
“It’s happened. I will never have to have my first kiss ever again, I can tick that off my list. I have kissed a boy”.
And then our lips parted a little and it was wetter, and warmer than I expected. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as pleasant as I had hoped. But the nerves fell away, and I didn’t wait for him to kiss me anymore. I spent the rest of that summer holiday on a Cornish caravan site kissing Tom – a lot.
Reflecting on it now, my first kiss felt so sweet and imbued with more innocence than I can believe existed. The gap between wanting that first kiss, and experiencing that first kiss – whether it’s your first kiss with someone you have feelings for, or just your first ever kiss – is both intimidating and exquisite. The anticipation, the vulnerability, the declaration of intention – it’s all part of the cocktail that makes a first kiss as wonderful as it is.
What about you? What was your first kiss like?