Never Been Kissed… not the movie

| Romance Columnist

A few months back, I received an e-mail from one of my readers. It was from an intelligent, kind and highly involved student—really a role model in the Washington University community. After he offered me some technological help that I desperately needed, he told me that he needed some advice as well. I was confused as to why such a bright individual would need my help with anything—until I read:

“I’m 21 and I’ve never been kissed.”

Everyone’s got a different first kiss story. For some of us, it was on the playground with a finger-paint-smudged classmate. For others, it was a chaste goodnight kiss on the front porch. More likely than not, it was in the back of a movie theater or on the couch at some high school party. And odds are it sucked. But, by this point, we’ve all kissed so many other people or just done it so many times that the novelty has worn off and it has become easier and more enjoyable. Now it’s just something we joke about, with exaggerations of how awful or adorable our first kisses were.

But I’ve got some news for all of you who have puckered up more times than you can count: Not everyone has had that first kiss. And I’m not talking just awkward middle-schoolers: I mean that kinda cute guy in your Macroeconomics class, or the girl who is always cracking jokes at your floor meetings.

As someone who was a late bloomer myself (I was a full two years behind most of my friends), I have to both sympathize with and cringe for all of you untouched individuals. I occasionally think back to my first kiss with Dan TooMuchTongue: awkward, too long and so messy I had to dry my face off afterward. But I didn’t care at the time, because I’d finally done it.

It’s too easy to write it off when people tell you these stories. I remember all my friends telling me to wait for it to be special, to not let it go to waste. But while they doled out their kind-hearted advice, I felt in my heart of hearts that I just wanted to get it over with. It’s hard to be left out of the loop, to feel like you’re the odd one out.

But now I hate to give out the same advice I once scorned myself. The reason it’s such common advice is because it’s the truth. For all the unkissed, I’m sure you have pretty high expectations: that it’ll be some sort of Disney-movie magic scenario and soft music will play in the background (perhaps a mild exaggeration, but something along those lines). And while even a kiss with someone you care about isn’t quite like that, a kiss with someone who you don’t care about is really not like that. The best kisses happen when you actually care about someone, and they about you. There is nothing better than that intoxicating feeling when your lips are an inch away from the person you’re crazy about, and you know that they feel it too.

I’m not saying you have to wait it out—I know I wasted my first kiss, and I don’t think I’ve sustained any major emotional damage. But in this case, readers, the best advice is the tried-and-true: be yourself, and it’ll happen when you least expect it. You’re most attractive when you’re happy and comfortable with who you are.

And most importantly, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. In fact, maybe some of you should connect and make a little Disney magic of your own. Getting the whole kissing thing down can take awhile, but the learning process is always better with a study buddy.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.