November 17


First Kiss

If you had to watch all the first kisses of your entire life replayed on a videotape you’d really start to notice the problems piling up. Maybe you have a better reel than I do, but without the soft head rush of a good kiss to mask over the problems, the issues really start to jump out at you.

There are about a million possible things that can go wrong in a first kiss. There may be more for you personally, but I have been making my own inventory and one million and five looks like my magic number. There are, of course, the big things that can go horribly wrong, red starburst, dirt showering land mines exploding beneath you, things that get you running for the door seconds in, but most of the things that go wrong are tiny, teeny-weeny, teensy little things that barely register. They’re just soft blips over the vast minefield of our thoughts, blinking as harmlessly as fireflies.

But if you had to watch all the first kisses of your entire life replayed on a videotape you’d really start to notice the problems piling up. Maybe you have a better reel than I do, but without the soft head rush of a good kiss to mask over the problems, the issues really start to jump out at you, and if you had the misfortune of watching it along with your funnier, more obnoxious friends, let’s say good and wound up after an NFC championship game, your highlight reel would become a kind of laugh-or-cry torture.

I don’t need to tell you that that first move towards her, especially when the stakes are high, is a kind of catching a fish with bare hands, the moment can be too early or too late or just totally missed completely, one big long walk home saying fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. Fucking shit fuck.

But there is actually a right moment, and even though it is very hard to see when it is approaching, for whatever reason it is crystal clear in the rear-view mirror. You know instantly when you’ve missed the turn-off. And by “you know” I mean “both of you know.”  It was just then! Shit. That was the moment. Oh, crap, I’ve passed it! (“He’s passed it.”) There’s not another exit for miles. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m such a fucking pussy. (“He’s such a fucking pussy.”) The pressure of the mental handwringing can get so loud you can’t even feel her helpful hand on your leg. Oh, the little damn-it-all comic-tragedy of the Lost Moment.

“Oh, dude! Loser. She was leaning forward and you totally leaned away from her. Go back. Go back. Give me the clicker. Go back. Show everybody that again.”

But now wait a second! Here you go! This is a good one! You’re making your move and the first step is behind you and you’re on your way. Someone is doing a mock end zone touchdown dance for you. You’ve manned up and leaned forward at the perfect time. But now it seems there are accidental, odd delays in reciprocation for your perfect move. You’re right in there, and she’s kissing you back but at the same time you can feel she is fumbling with her glass somewhere off-stage, trying to find a place to set it down, or it’s on the coaster but at an odd angle. And noses are dodging each other and knees are colliding, and that looks like it actually might have hurt a bit. “Fuck! Ouch! My goddamn knee,” somebody getting another beer yells out from the kitchen.

Or your foot is situated strangely where it landed when you moved towards her, and your off-balance hand is reaching blindly for the support of the wall. You can’t take your eyes off the must-see TV, but you can hear somebody is doing an impression of you leaning into the wall that’s not there and then tumbling headfirst over the couch. You can’t believe it was really like that, but you remember that it was. Jesus! It was. And I broke up with her! There’s a twelve step apology for that kind of thing. Or there’s the hair that needs to be cleared from teeth when everything else was going so well or the accommodation of your different heights, or her craning neck, or your straining tiptoes, or the sustained discomfort of the slight half bend in your knees that you hope she doesn’t notice.


Open wide. Now we’re going to put the camera in your mouth.

Bite down.

Don’t move.

I’ll be right back.


Well, all kinds of problems in here, too.

Your lips have found each other but in this picture here something is too tight-lipped and tense with the girl and too sloppy wet in that one. The tongues aren’t in agreement or they’re ranging about oddly or not listening to each other at all; or she’s nervous or inexperienced or unnervingly experimental, like in this angle here where her tongue is probing slowly under your lip. What the fuck? Who was that? Let me see that. Oh, God, yeah, her. Or there is a funny body smell that is off-putting or too much heat or sweat or the taste of too much alcohol or cigarettes or, with one of the kosher girls, always canned tuna fish. Or she’s apologizing for something or she’s apologizing for everything or she wants you to show her, and you could no more do that than teach a cat to stand on one leg and hop.

And check out the strange whale-surfacing roll of her up-close eyeball looking straight at you, two private moments disturbing each other unexpectedly in the great masturbatorial make-out ocean. Yikes! Periscope down! Dive! Dive! Or in this one here where whatever it was you were doing was supposed to feel good, and now it is accidentally tickling her. Or there are deep earth body noises and hums that never seem to occur at other times, but are suddenly disgorged, distracting hiccups and burps freed up in the gastrointestinal vacuum, perhaps from all that blood rushing to the genitals. And there’s the pirate treasure danger map of her ass and her tits and what can be touched and when and with how much pressure and for how long and let’s be careful stabbing anybody prematurely with your pirate sword unless it’s specifically marked out on her map with a palm tree and a pair of coconuts.

And if you thought the timing of the first kiss was tricky, deciding if, and when and how far to expand your free-range territory can be as challenging as deciding when to jump up bravely and take out the bank robber from the floor or tackle the hijacker from the awkward angle of your window seat, both of which happen to be recurring heroic scenarios for me and staples of my fantasy life.

And, if you really must know, I find a wide open “yes” door a far greater turn on than the smashing down of a “no” door, I rather like it when the sexy hijacker – who, just for the record, is now really hot and female and has lost the fatwa beard – sees me charging bravely towards her and throws her machine gun in the air and says “you win, 007” maybe with a strong Russian accent. But I’d still like her to kill a few dozen other guys beforehand, particularly with looks of contempt or complete indifference. In fact a regular Quentin Tarantino Uma Thurman body count of Inadequate Men (IM) would be a nice build-up to my (AM) heroic arrival.

In fact if this whole first moment is really going to be perfect, as in no complaints at all, speak now or forever hold your peace perfect, I’ll need to be the last living guy on the plane. Let’s make that the last guy on Earth. Who ever lived. In the history of the world. Including animated characters. And then, just at the very moment my Complete Male Supremacy has been established, the Impossibly Beautiful Girl can take off the librarian glasses, pull the golden chopstick from her hair bun, and wrap her long tapered legs around my backside. And then I would like her to float unsupported in the air. Yes, there we go! Perfect. Just like that. Oh, and one more thing, Santa: She needs to smell really, really pretty, too, because I also happen to like that.

A lot.

As you can see, notwithstanding my relative flexibility in the matter of breast size, there’s a lot riding on Perfect here, and, honestly, what are the chances of all this ever coming together without a single hiccup and no stray negative thoughts or misgivings for either of us, and nobody having any second thoughts like “I should have picked her friend” or “I wish she’d picked my friend” or that absolute worst thought of all, that “no bird in the bush or the hand now” thought, that “and now I bet I’ve lost a friend, too” thought?