My friend said that her 15-year-old nephew is experiencing major exam tension. “Gawd, I’d hate to be 15 again!” she added.
“Really? I’d love to get a teenage do-over,” I said.
Sure, I remember being hypersensitive about everything. But I also recall many exciting memories. Accomplishments, discoveries and – best of all – crushes. Boys stopped having cooties and started looking good.
If only I could return with my present-day brain. Oh, the power I’d have over kissing. By fifteen I remained un-kissed, mainly from a lack of options. Namely, the boys who paid attention to me were either too boring or too intimidating. Okay, so maybe I was picky.
I didn’t long for the studious bookworm who brought me gifts from his family trip to Germany. How thoughtful. Nor did I crave the brawling bad boy with engine grease under his nails. I started to feel like Goldilocks who couldn’t find the right bed.
My mom might not like to hear that bed analogy.
Speaking of Mom, years later she sent me a newspaper clipping about the first boy who kissed me, reporting how he was sent to prison for something grand – grand theft auto? grand larceny?
I forget his crime but thanks all the same, Mom, for rubbing in my superlative taste in dates. And if I had my present brain at age 15, I’d be smart enough NOT to tell my mom about my first kiss!
As for that kiss, it was a memorable moment largely because I never saw it coming. I was on a date with an older boy from my high school. After a party, we rode home with another couple. In the car’s back seat, suddenly – SLURP – he caught me in a serious lip lock. With eyes wide open, I watched the poor guy work so diligently, maneuvering his mouth over mine.
Was it a good first kiss? I was in too much shock for any useful rating system. Of course I had to break up with him. I wasn’t ready for all that attention from males.
The next boy I kissed at age sixteen (slow starter me) pulled away from our embrace and said, “Know what would make this feel way better?”
Here it comes, I thought, convinced he was about to expound on the comfort advantage of removing our clothing. I’d heard plenty of juicy stories by then.
“If you closed your mouth a little.”
Huh…? I figured the object of necking was to open wide and say “ah.” Instead, I was a big-mouthed bass. I’ll forever be grateful for his kiss coaching, although I had to break up with him too. How could I stand the shame?
While a self-professed slow starter, I was an equally quick learner. Once I figured out how to lock lips without a negative critique, I quite liked everything about necking.
Dear 15-year-old nephew: may you survive the teen years with more laughter than tears. And if you haven’t already, have fun learning how to kiss. It only gets better!
Audio version song Blue Sky Song