Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The First Horrible Kiss

Those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while (all seven of you) might remember that I've had a series of posts about my courtship with my wife. There was:

          Our first meeting: The Fixer Upper
          Our first date: Our First Date: The Day I Almost Died
          Our second date: The Date That Lasted 16 Hours
          Our third date: We Held Hands and There Were Fireworks

You can check out those links to get caught up if you'd like. Or, I'll give you the quick recap. I'm a bit of a slow-moving guy. (They call me "Slow Joe" for a reason. I was an actual 40 year-old virgin.) It took until our third date before I successfully was able to hold hands.

So, to continue with the story, the next step would be to chronicle our fourth date. But, the fourth date wasn't all that chronicle-able. The Wife and I went on a double-date with the couple who first set us up. We went bowling and we ate at Olive Garden. It was a good night, and a fun night, but nothing extraordinary happened.

Especially at the end of the date.

As I pulled the car up to her house to drop her off, I knew I wanted to kiss her. But, I wasn't exactly sure how to go about doing so. Trusty Rusty, the 1995 Chevy Cavalier that I was driving at the time, had bucket seats with the gear shift between the seats. I wasn't sure of the logistics of how to get close enough to her to actually lock lips. Sitting on the gear shift didn't seem like a particularly comfortable or feasible option. I longed for one of the giant cars I grew up with that had the big bench front seat.

I wanted to kiss her, but I wanted to kiss her in the privacy of the car. I did not want our first kiss to be out in the open on her front porch. I hadn't had very good experiences on front porches. On a front porch, damn near anyone in the entire world could possibly be looking on. I didn't want our first kiss to be a public experience.

So, I did nothing. No kiss. No attempt at a kiss. Nothing.

I just walked her to her door and said good night.

So, when it came time to plan the fifth date, I had one thing and one thing only on my mind. The fifth date was not going to end until I had actually kissed her!!!

The date started off with a simple idea: she was going to cook for me. I met her at her condo, where she had cooked up some stuffed shells for dinner. They were delicious. She was a good cook! Of course, that's not mentioning that she made enough stuffed shells to feed about 17 people. She was a bit embarrassed by the large amount of leftovers, but I didn't mind at all. (I've long lived by the adage that it's better to have too much food than not enough.)

From there, we went out for dessert. We stopped at a new little place called Pudding On the Rice. It was just like a Baskin Robbins, except instead of ice cream they offered a variety of flavors of rice pudding. (It was really good, but, as you might expect, it was out of business within a couple of years.)

And then, my plan for a kiss went into action. After dessert we climbed in Trusty Rusty and went for a drive. I had decided that the best place for a first kiss was a quiet, isolated spot with a beautiful view. I knew just the spot.

A year or so earlier I had stumbled across a road up Provo Canyon that led up a mountain to a view of the entire Provo/Orem metroplex. It was isolated, and beautiful, and the perfect spot for a secluded first kiss. And so, that night I took her up to the viewpoint on Squaw Peak Road.

When we got to the viewpoint, I was a bit surprised and flummoxed. It wasn't nearly as isolated or secluded as I thought. There were probably a dozen other cars there. It turns out just about everyone (except me) knows that the Squaw Peak viewpoint is Utah's very own "Inspiration Point." It's where couples go to make out.

My Not-Yet-Wife was from the area, so she knew Squaw Peak and its reputation. I can only shudder at what she thought as I turned the car up the road.

I was a bit aghast when I saw the crowd gathered at the viewpoint. But, I was undaunted. I was ready. I came there for a reason, by golly! I drove there to kiss my girlfriend, and I was going to kiss her come hell, high water, or hordes of horny teenagers!

And here is where it gets a little difficult to write this. You see, it's one thing to admit that I was a forty year-old virgin. Sex is and should be a fairly serious thing. There's no shame in not being frivolous with your sexuality.

Kissing, however, is another matter. Kissing can be frivolous. Kissing is no big deal. Even nerds kiss girls in junior high and high school.

And yet here I was, 40 years old, and I had never kissed a girl. It may seem unfathomable to many of you, but it's true.

So, when I pulled up to the Squaw Peak viewpoint with the intent to kiss my girlfriend, it was a pretty darn big deal to me.

All those people were there, but I didn't care. Trusty Rusty's stupid gear shift was there, but I didn't care. I had no idea what I was doing, but I didn't care. I thought about waiting for the "right" moment, but I knew I had no idea what a "right" moment looked like. But, somehow, someway, I mustered up the nerve to give it a shot.

I puckered my lips, leaned over the gear shift, closed my eyes, moved my face in the general direction of her face, and hoped to high heaven that my lips would somehow meet her lips. If her eyes were open, she would have seen something that looks like this:

Against all odds, she actually let me kiss her! It was amazing!!! It was incredible!!! And, as kisses go, it was pathetic. Very, very pathetic.

I was very lucky that she was nice and understanding and patient. She knew I was lacking in kissing experience, and she helped me through that first kiss. She didn't mock me. She didn't laugh at me. She just let me lunge at her blindly with those stupid lips, knowing that, over time and with some practice, I would get better at it. And I did.

I say she didn't mock me or laugh at me, and she didn't---at that time. A few weeks later, after I had a better idea of what I was doing, we talked about that night and that first horrible kiss, and then she mocked me and laughed at me. And I deserved it.

But, it was an important first step for me. I'll always remember that night at the Squaw Peak Inspiration Point when I threw caution to the wind on our fifth date and flung my lips in her general direction. You always remember your first horrible kiss.

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