How did you learn the art of romantic kissing? How does anybody? Does anybody have a first kiss that's as cute or magical as in the movies? Are these enough rhetorical questions? Did I even listen to my English teachers when they told me rhetorical questions are a shitty way to start an essay?
I was a hopeless romantic as a tween. I didn't really talk to boys, and if I did I spent more time trying to be like them than getting them to like me (what guy doesn't fall head over heals for the girl who knocks him over in gym class?). But I did imagine talking to, and kissing boys (I didn't realize I was queer until after my first kiss, just in case you were worried about continuity and heteronormative storytelling). I would totally practice kissing on my arm or (totally embarrassing to admit) the shower wall. I had big ideas about how a first kiss would be, and I wanted to be prepared. Doesn't everyone?
It didn't help that I got all my "knowledge" about kissing from movies and TV (my parents aren't really the make-out-in-front-of-the-kids types, which is a-ok by me). First kisses were especially romanticized. There are tons of iconic movie scenes of first kisses. My Girl came out when I was 7 and I loved it. I totally dreamed that one day I'd have a cute first kiss right out of that movie.
But for me, those cute childhood/tween years came and went without a peck, and my idea of what a first kiss might look like morphed into something... sexier. I don't know at what age "frenching" (does anybody actually use that word?) became so fascinating, but when I was a young teen it seemed so titillating. I started picture my first kiss in a much sexier way. I was 12 when Clueless came out, and although I didn't see it until it was out on VHS and my parents totally fast-forwarded through the part where they talk about penises, I did see it, and I did dream that one day my first kiss would be as sweet and romantic (and followed up with lots of making out) as Cher and Josh's.
But I was destined for yet another disappointment. I finally scored my very own boyfriend when I was 15. Yes! All my romantic notions were finally going to come true! We dated for 3 months and NEVER KISSED. Then we broke up. I wasn't heartbroken, I was pissed. I felt like such a lameass, like the only high school girl in the world to date a guy who never kissed her (aren't they all supposed to be trying to get in your pants?). Eventually I got back together with that same guy, I actually told him (over AOL Instant Messanger, of course) that I wanted to be kissed. Then after all the fanfare and lead-up and hopes and dreams, I had my first kiss. A quick peck on the lips and a hurried goodbye. sigh.
In the years since then I learned all about good kissers and bad kissers. Kissing with braces. Kissing girls. Kissing men with facial hair. Drooly kisses, bitey kisses, too-much-tongue kisses, and of course the magical makes-you-melt kisses. Everybody has their own style. And somehow I doubt practicing on inanimate objects ever helped anybody, but who knows?