September 24, 2010 by Kat Richter
Last night, I ate an entire serving of Spanish rice from its microwavable envelope, in bed, whilst wearing pjs at the wild and crazy hour of 8:30pm. Why? Because I kissed Date #9 on Sunday, that’s why.
Let’s talk about kissing, shall we? I think part of the reason I’ve taken my three month Match.com subscription so seriously is because I’m making up for lost time. I was seventeen before I had my first kiss, and whenever I tell people this, they seem rather shocked. I guess this is because my current project would suggest that I have always been this fabulous but nothing could be further from the truth.
My first kiss took place at Not Back to School Camp, the annual end-of-summer retreat for homeschoolers, unschoolers and other self-proclaimed high school “rise outs.” Having recently celebrated my 17th birthday, dyed my hair black and decided to spend my would-be senior year taking classes at the community college while teaching dance to save for my first solo-backpacking trip through Europe, I was feeling pretty good about myself. So good, in fact, that I sized up my fellow campers the minute I arrived in West Virginia and went in for the kill.
The “kill” happened to be a tall and brooding foreigner (surprise, surprise) and he was, as far as I could tell, he was best looking camper in the entire hippie compound. I instigated a careful campaign (the linchpin of which was purposely avoiding him in the dining hall) and when he was named team captain for the camp-wide Capture the Flag Tournament, he chose me on the very first round. (Maybe if I had purposely avoided the team captains of the Goucher College Whiffle Ball Club, I wouldn’t have found myself left until the last round each and every Friday afternoon when we picked teams, but by then I was happily dating my tall and brooding foreigner so flirting with cute upperclassman was out of the question.)
Being a good lapsed Lutheran, I approached our first kiss as I had approached my First Holy Communion: eyes shut, mouth open. (Was anyone else taught to the do that whole “The left hand makes a throne for the right, and the right hand makes a throne for God” thing?) What I didn’t know is that a kiss differs from the Eucharist in several ways. Firstly there’s no alcohol involved (unless you want to get creative, and I wouldn’t figure that sort of stuff out for years to come). Secondly, kissing takes way longer than it does to dissolve the Body-of-Christ-wafer and if you spend the entire time holding your breath, you’re going to pass out.
Last but not least, an open mouth is an invitation, not for the Holy Spirit but for the tongue of the person you’re kissing.
Approximately 2.5 seconds into what should have been the most romantic night of my 17 years, I was thoroughly grossed out. This? This was French kissing? This was what everyone was talking about? There was nothing even remotely French about it; it didn’t taste good, it didn’t sound good and it wasn’t at all sophisticated.
Suffice it to say, my first kiss was not what I had expected, but seeing as it was my first, it still left me feeling exhilarated and determined to get it right. We spent the rest of the week (and the next two and half years) perfecting our technique and since my summer camp crush went on to become my first boyfriend, I like to think that I eventually got the hang of it.
By the second semester of my sophomore year of college, however, we’d broken up and he’s since gone on to get engaged. (This, by the way, is part of the reason I joined Match.com. I realized that if my ex-boyfriend was getting married, then I had better get with the program—and by “get with the program” I mean more than just discussing my ideas for centerpieces and color schemes with a professional florist.)
(Note: My mom is a professional florist and I’m the only girl in the family so this is not as crazy as it sounds. I am however, going to cease and desist with the wedding talk now because Date #9 might be reading and at this point, he still thinks I’m fairly normal.)
As I was saying, I take pride in being a good kisser. I’ve done a lot of research, and being the good anthropologist that I am, I’ve taken every possible opportunity to engage in thorough participant observation work regarding the courtship methods of my fellow human beings, both at home and abroad. I like to think of myself as something of an international ambassador but this time, my “research” has cost me.
Date #9 was sick last week, and even though he’d recovered by our date on Sunday, I’ve since been reduced to headaches, a sore throat and a stuffy nose (which is why I’ve been squandering valuable date nights on envelopes of microwavable rice eaten from the confines of my bed whilst wearing pjs). I’m starting to think that Date #9 might be a biological terrorist. Perhaps infecting me with whatever cold he had last week was all part of his master plan to sabotage my experiment. Now I am, out of necessity, rejecting my quantitative research methods for something that bears a frightening resemblance to—dare I say it?— qualitative research.