I got my first kiss rather late at seventeen. It happened on my parents bed in the middle of the afternoon to a boy with big lips and a broad chest, and I remember feeling so, so nervous. Not only was it my first kiss, it was my first kiss with a real-life boy! Like with a penis and everything! I had just come out of the closet a few days earlier and felt like I needed to make up for lost time. I wasn’t one of those gay guys that had made out and maybe even slept with girls before coming to terms with their sexuality. I didn’t need to kiss a V to realize I desired a P, so my closeted teen years were spent being 100% celibate. It’s no surprise then that, a day after I came out of the closet, I called a childhood friend who I thought was gay and told him, “Um, come over. I’m gay now.”
I’m pretty sure that first make out session was terrible. In my excitement, I think I mistook his lips for a Subway sandwich but, whatever, I still had an awesome time and the guy ended up getting a BJ out of it so don’t cry for him, Argentina. When he left, I remember thinking that kissing was the funnest thing I had ever done. It felt like taking ten Prozac and riding on a sea of Ecstasy. How do people just not do it all the time? How are people just not constantly kissing each other?! It’s fun, easy, and non-commital. Bummed out? Find a pair of lips and attack them. No big deal. Even now, after being sexually active for eight years, I’m content with just having a lingering make out sesh. In fact, I often prefer it.
Despite being a make out enthusiast, I only kissed four boys from the ages of 17 to 21. This lack of activity can mostly be attributed to a six-month “relationship” that was followed by three and a half years of crushing low self-esteem and mild psychosis. But by the time I moved to New York, I decided to get back on that horse and make out with it in a dimly lit bar at 3:30 in the morning. And boy, did I ever. I kissed boys in bars, on dirty floors, in bathrooms, in cabs, on street corners, on porches, and occasionally at fast food hot dog restaurants. I became that crazy person making out with someone in the corner of a very public space. It was all very Michael Fassbender in Shame (minus the weird incest vibe and… the actual sex… and the shame). I mean, sometimes I would wake up the next day and cringe when I would remember kissing someone I shouldn’t have. But as long as it didn’t go below the belt, how much regret can you actually have?
Well, as it turns out, maybe a lot. The other day, I tried to remember all the boys I’ve ever kissed and couldn’t. I can recall every instance that went further than kissing, but not if it was just an isolated smooch. Is this normal?! I tweeted about this earlier and asked if people could remember every person they’ve kissed, and the majority of them replied “yep :)”. I see what you did there with the happy face, by the way. I SEE WHAT YOU DID! Many people admitted to keeping a list so they could remember but I’ve only done that with people I’ve hooked up with. Because honestly, do I need to remember the 5 foot 3 elf I made out with at the gay bar before running away into a cab? Does he really need to be commemorated in a list? No. He needs to just go away. No, actually, he needs to become crystallized at the gay bar with his mouth wide open and serve as a cautionary tale. He’s not going down on any list of mine.
When it comes to any sexual activity, even something as PG as kissing, there’s always an element of shame and regret. After all, we’re Americans! We bombard our culture with images of sex and then guilt them when they actually have it. Mixed messages, much? When I realized that I would never remember every person I’ve kissed, I felt those familiar feelings of embarrassment. I shamed myself. But then I snapped out of it. It’s not like I’m choking on a sea of dicks. If I want to make out with a stranger and have it immediately Men In Black memory erased, why can’t I?
But, wait, can you guys remember every single person you’ve kissed? I’m just curious. Tell me yes or no in the comments and I’ll react with appropriate levels of shame and/or relief.