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Monday, July 20, 2015

Hot Summer Nights

The title of this post may embellish upon the story I am about to tell.  However, I believe that we can all relive some memories here, both based upon the title and the story I set forth today.

No, it's not about a Grease marathon, or a little Jack & Diane running off behind the shade trees.  It is more similar to "This one time, at band camp..." but with a LOT more naivete and awkwardness and a LOT less graphic nudity and vulgarity.  I present to you, the story of my first kiss.

This one time, at 4-H camp (hey, I told you it was similar, but this is where those similarities END), when I was 12 or 13 years old (I really don't remember how old I was, so for the purposes of this tale, I am 13), I met a boy.  Actually, more like a boy showed interest in me.  

Okay, for those of you unfamiliar with 4-H, it's an organization that is dedicated to helping teach children hobbies and life skills, that features a lot of agriculture and arts and crafts.  Most counties have at least one 4-H club in my state, if not several, and there's always a county fair and state fair where people enter their homemade arts, crafts, photography, clothing, cows, goats, and pigs they've raised, even chicken, geese, and bunnies.  I myself, being a small town girl, and not a farm girl, usually entered stuff in baking, cross stitch, photography, and ceramics.

Anyhoo, they had a week-long camp each summer that you could attend at a ranch that had a bunch of dormitory style buildings and opportunities to swim, walk trails, canoe, ride horses, etc.  They also had a lot of different speakers and demonstrations, nightly bonfires, and of course, THE DANCE.  

The dance was always one of the last nights that we were at camp and it was kind of a big deal if you actually went with someone.  Of course, I never did, because at the age of 13, I was taller than pretty much every boy, loud, and probably more than a little obnoxious.  I of course had crushes on boys, but I never actually had any of them show interest in me.  (You know, due to the height, weight, loudness and obnoxiousness heretofore mentioned.)  

Back to the summer camp.  So, I'm not sure when I first met this boy at camp, but I know that he had talked with me before and kind of made it known that he maybe sorta liked me, I guess.  Anyhow, the day before the dance, I was at an activity making ice cream and he told one of my friends that he wanted to talk with me.  Oooooooh, interesting!  So, we of course had a little chat in which he asked me to the dance.  OooOOOOooooOOOooooh.  (That's supposed to be the girly noises in the live studio audiences when Zack and Kelly kiss.)  I remember being so EXCITED.  OMGeeeee, a guy actually LIKED me?!  That was unheard of.

The dance came and Keith (last name started with an 'H' I think) walked me to the dance.  We danced a few times, we chatted and then, he asked me to go on a walk.  I was nervous and my palms were sweating.  I was practically mute (for once), but nodded my head.  

He took my hand.  (13 year old me was kvelling.  Not Jewish, but kvelling nonetheless.)  We walked through the moonlight and he ushered me to a little overlook where we sat down on a bench.  (Imagine like moonlit Paris, but slightly muddy, LOTS of trees, and probably owls, too.  Since I'm already imagining, let me just say I do not recall the EXACT spot where the kiss took place, but I'm sure it was quiet and I know that no one else was around.)

This is me in the 80s.  Well, not me, it's Jennifer Capriati,
but I think we've all learned a lesson here.
We chatted and my stomach churned.  My good Christian upbringing was rearing its head and I was confused as to what I should do if he tried to kiss me.  It's probably not good to kiss a boy I'm never going to see again, right?  But wow, I've never been kissed before.  Oh goodness, my stomach just kept churning and the already pale moonlight probably struck my 13-year old chalk white face and fem-mullet (thanks Mom!) and made it even paler.  

Then, it happened!  He leaned in for the kiss.  Instead of recoiling, I leaned forward too, very awkwardly trying to figure out how this worked.  I mean, I had seen Dirty Dancing by that point, but you know, he was no Johnny Castle, and I sure as hell wasn't Frances Houseman!  Closer, ever closer, until our lips locked.  My 13-year old mind exploded in fireworks and I was euphoric.  (Not really, but I'm sure I was not thinking clearly.) Wait, wait a second here, hold up!  Ew!  Gross, he slipped his tongue in my mouth?!  Well, I guess I should go with the flow.  

We slobbered on each other for a few more seconds, before we stopped and I, shaking, got up and practically ran away, back to my dorm. building.  I was equal parts euphoric and sick to my stomach.  I couldn't believe that my first kiss was a French kiss.  I couldn't look at the poor boy at breakfast the next morning, because I was so horrified at myself.  I remember telling my friends about it and actually crying, because I was so upset.  I was mad that I had done it. embarrassed that I apparently didn't know how to do it properly and I regretted it because it was not what it was cracked up to be.  After camp was over, I was also kinda happy because I'd finally been kissed, but I still didn't feel great about it.

I think I was really upset, because I just kissed him, even though I barely knew him and then was disappointed that the kiss wasn't actually pleasant, in any regard.  But really, what could I have expected, at that age?  I also had a lot of Catholic guilt, because I thought I was being a little hussy. Ah, the naivete of youth!

Needless to say, my friends didn't let me live it down for several years.  At softball, after we got home from camp, my whole team started calling me Frenchy.  (So, I guess it is kinda similar to Grease, too.)  

My kissing has shown marked improvement in the interim 24 years.  At least, I think so.  However, I do have to say that I'm still not super fond of "Frenching".  I think I may be scarred for life!  Ha.

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