May we please skip the first kiss?
I’m awkward. Yesterday, I tried teaching my sister table etiquette while at an upscale dinner fundraiser with Los Angeles elite fluttering around every corner. While explaining proper fork grippage, my knife plummeted toward my chest in fury and stabbed my purple satin dress with crÃ¨me fraiche.
I inadvertently create awkward situations and a few years ago, while experiencing the new world of singlehood, I crafted a hefty collection of goofed up storiesâ€¦primarily during first kisses.
I don’t like bringing booze to a person’s house because it runs the risk of there being more for me to drink and more embarrassing moments to happen. Instead, I peruse the local bakery and purchase something sweet, like for this occasion- Monday Night Football at a boy’s house. I brought a variety of Sprinkles cupcakes (a delightfully popular cupcakery that’s hype and expectations are met with every crumb and morsel wrapped in its paper). Football and cupcakesâ€¦exactly. I’m awkward.
When I arrived late, after an excruciatingly frustrating commute in Los Angeles traffic, I wished I brought vodka and not the dumb cupcakes. For the first time in a long time I had a one-on-one at a boy’s house and between that and the drive, I desperately needed something to ease the anxiety. And a normally appropriate gift of Pinot Noir would NOT have worked fast enough.
He opened the door and I did a little dip and said, “I come bearing gifts.” I showed the dainty box of treats and the bewildered look on his face sent a jolt through my body. Diabetes? Allergies? Bad memory of an ex who used to work at Sprinkles? Vegan? He turned his back without saying a word, leaving me, red velvet, peanut butter, chocolate chocolate and vanilla behind. He walked to the kitchen and revealed a box of cupcakes that HE had bought for the occasion. We now had six cupcakes and a promising future in the palm of both of our hands.
The football game had run half of its course by the time we acquainted ourselves and sat on the couch. Due to my anxiety, my appetite had died, but I didn’t want to seem like an anorexic so I did the opposite and shoved my face with the Asian soiree that he spread on the coffee table. I made it through the eating portion of the night with just a little bit of soy sauce on my shirt and a chocolate sprinkle in my tooth. When the game concluded, we presented ourselves with the “Now what?” moment. We weren’t ready for the big kiss, I mean, I wasn’t. I had my legs and arms crossed on the opposite side of the couch and for some reason, I couldn’t find my chapstick. My lips had no right kissing anyone in their condition and with each sip of my night’s painkiller of choice (the wine HE provided) they became redder and drier. I had to switch to water and for the life of me and my future, I HAD to find my chapstick.
I switched to water (I eventually needed to drive home) and suggested watching Sweeney Todd (to kill time). I bragged that I saw it on Broadway and I’m cultured and well-traveled and love to cook, because all of this is relevant..right? Well, until I found my chapstick, you better believe it!!!
Then the movie ended and we watched the “Nigthman Cometh” episode of the show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia four times (the second, third and forth time per my nerve’s request). After that completion, he scurried upstairs, promising a quick return. He returned and cuddled up next to me with fresh minty breath. ugh! Colgate vs. Dried Up Rainbow Roll.
We snuggled for a second as I made small talk, avoiding the obvious. “You know, we should make red velvet cupcakes out of human blood …like a spin off of Sweeney Todd! No?..”
Finally, he shut me up with his lips- pulling me in, tilting my head and pressing his soft mint clouds onto mine, both chapped and salty. He took it slow, half mouth kiss while I forcefully tried to slip in some tongue (not because I wanted to french him, but because his slowness made me anxious). He didn’t want any of that though, he only smooched delicately, one after the other. Minute after minute. No tongue, no frisky business. It felt like a handshake of the lips, “Peace be with you”.
After my self-provoked confusing kiss sesh, I proceeded to the door, some how securing another date. Goodness gracious the kiss seemed so bland and friendly.
Some girlfriends and I walked into the very trendy Roosevelt Hotel a few years ago sometime in December. I noticed that everyone adorned themselves in black except for me, the spring chicken- naive, confused, wearing a pink slip dress in the dead of winter. The mood of the patrons reflected their attire; I quickly became bored and couldn’t wait to leave. Untilâ€¦
He, the 6’4″dapper goofy charm king summoned me with googly eyes. I approached him with a collective swagger that somehow overpowered my intense inebriation. We instantly hit it off, and soon exchanged contact information and details for his birthday party the next day.
“You need to be there,” he coyly pleaded. “My birthday will be a bust without your presence.”
“I already have plans, but I will see if I can switch them around,” I slyly lied, acting partially unavailable. The fact is I had never been more available and began counting down the minutes.
When I arrived the next evening, the party boy beamed with a smile so big it almost knocked me down. He continued the night by showering me with a cluster fuck of ideas and sentiments that would ultimately bewilder me: He introduced me to his friends as his future girlfriend, told me our common interests made us a perfect pair, and basically promised me the world.
He desperately wanted me to be his “birthday snuggle.” As much as that sounded fun, I knew what “snuggle” meant and I pride myself on my sacred hoohoo so I talked him into a “birthday kiss” instead. As I left, he walked me to valet and we engaged in our first kiss- think lips meet mustard bottle. For some reason, I took him as a mustard bottle: him open and ready while I anticipated a sour sloppy mess—reluctantly opening my mouth for a taste…I think I might’ve been squinting too, not closing my eyes, but squinting.
“You kiss like a friend,” he sourly admitted.
I succussfully denied him a birthday fuck for a friend kiss. Poor guy.
That explains the confusion of cupcake kissâ€¦I’m the worst first kisser ever.
I met a short man at a networking event. We bickered about our residential preferences- I love the Westside and he loves Hollywood. At the time, I lived in Santa Monica. For the few weeks that followed we dined at fancy restaurants and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s complete opposite interests. We hadn’t kissed because I was not attracted to him.
On date four, I met him at his place and he took me to Harold and Maude at a the ArcLight- a brilliant idea/experience. I sat next to him fidgety, not wanting to hold his hand. He didn’t try, so I didn’t try.
We grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby place I had never been to, Jones CafÃ©. I pointed out my friend’s apartment on the way and told him I would be staying there that night because I had to work close in the morning and didn’t want to commute.
“There’s a ‘for rent’ sign on the building! You should move there!”
“It’s HOLLYWOOD! Never!!!” I lied again, knowing secretly about the charm of the building and the vacant apartment that I had already considered moving into.
“You should just give it a try, you live once.”
After eating at Jones and falling in love with it, I realized that I really wanted that apartment and that restaurant/bar/cafÃ© as my corner bar. I kept that to myself and quickly remembered, “we are now driving to his placeâ€¦he will kiss me, I know itâ€¦I can’t deny itâ€¦he’s too niceâ€¦and picks perfect datesâ€¦”
He gave me the grand tour of his beautiful home that stood regally on the hill overlooking the twinkling lights and stars of Hollywood- Santa Monica at a verrrry far distance. He led me to his downstairs and showed me photography from his travels; I looked while keeping my arms crossed. He offered me a drink and I kindly declined, and excused myself to the restroom. I slapped my face and tried to pull it together; I felt awful because I still did not want to kiss him.
After returning to his presence I explained that I had a long day ahead of me and needed to return to the Jones area for my night of rest.
“That is fine. I’ll walk you to your car.”
Okâ€¦so the kiss will happen outsideâ€¦by my car. A quick exit.
“Well, thanks again. I really enjoyed myself. You think of the best ideas. And dinner was great too. What a nice cafÃ©. And you know everyone. I want to know everyone at a bar sometime. Like Cheers, ya know? What a fun thing. They know your orderâ€¦”
“Yes, I do.” He interrupted me and pulled me in for a kiss. A tender kiss to the lips- both sweet and kind.
I couldn’t take it. My heart did not want to return the kiss.
Which meant I had to stop.
I pulled away slowly and gazed into his eyes while my arms and hands instinctively rose up towards his biceps and above. I smiled at him innocently and patted him on his shoulders.
“Thank you. You’re nice.”
He led me to my car and bid me farewell. I cried the whole way back to my friend’s apartmentâ€¦Such a gentle man deserves more than a pat, and that’s all I could give.
I never heard from him after that and I moved into the vacant Hollywood apartment two weeks later, making Jones CafÃ© my corner bar, my cheers.
Clearly, at age 27 I am still not a proficient first kisser. But I guess the thrill of the first kiss is receiving a unique hint that leads you to what lies within, lies beneath, lies beyond the lips. For me, it is an awkward gal that will inevitably and endearingly break your water glass while stretching, fall on the stairs with the shoes you helped pick out, or smack your face during a flirty twirl.
Please know, however, that all the wounds I accidentally cause will always be carefully mended with a kiss…after the first one, I promise they get better…
â€¦and Happy Valentine’s Day, suckers!