My First Kiss: An Oral History

By

“I have no idea what her name was.  Something Polish. It was a girl at a family reunion…”

Selections from answers from interviews taken by students for English 251: Interviews and Oral History class at The College of Saint Rose: Amanda Martucci, Amanda Smith, Angela Berry, Cheryl Ruggiero, Dana Cardona, Diane Lenny, Libby Delaney, Jessica Basile, Jessica Nolan, Justin McCormack, Lauren Jackson, Leora Flax, Lisa Ashworth, Richard Aviles, Sam Morency, and the instructor, Daniel Nester

HOW OLD WERE YOU? WHO WAS IT?

I was 9, 10 years old. I was in first grade, her name was Renatta.

I was in sixth grade and it was Jake.

In kindergarten.  How old are you then? I was five.

I was 15 years old and it was Bob R. He was in my grade in high school.

Twin Sister #1: I was 16 years old.
Twin Sister #2: Dude you had your first kiss WAY after I lost my virginity. That’s lame.
Twin Sister #1: Shut up.

I was 13 and he was 15.

I was in fifth grade, so how old does that make you? 10 or 11, I guess.

I have no idea what her name was.  Something Polish. It was a girl at a family reunion. I don’t think I was related by blood to her—if she was I could legally marry her.

[Awkward pause.] OK…it was that kid Alex.

Jenn M. from my eighth grade class at Holy Angels.

It was with this kid named Steve who lived in the neighborhood.   It was like a whole bunch of kids from the neighborhood hanging out at my friend Nicole’s house.

Well, it wasn’t necessarily my first kiss but it was the first meaningful one, ya know?  And it was the first one with a girl, so it meant a lot more.  I had a lot of stupid ones with boys when I was little but that was before I knew I was gay and stuff.  This is so awkward, Lib!

Alright. It was with Hillary when we were 17.

Doug A., aka Dougie Fresh.

It was with ummm… [long pause] You don’t remember his name??
It was… John… John R.

Do I have to say his name?  I’ll just say he was H.

Yeah, Anthony. Yeah.

Jamal, John, Andrew, Mexi, and Dan F.

LOCATION: WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST KISS?

It was at the Polish Banquet Hall in Hamtramck, Michigan.

[Uncomfortable laugh.] Well [awkward pause] I was 15. It was at Sam B.’ birthday. We went to see Batman Begins.

It was in the movies while we were watching Panic Room or something like that.

I’m not sure. Either her house or my house.  We were having what would now be called a playdate, I guess, but I don’t remember whose house it was at.  We kissed a lot.

Twin Sister #1: Where was it? Please don’t say in a basement.
Twin Sister #2: In his basement.

Behind a building in a parking lot, hahaha.

It was in my hot tub with about four or five guys,

WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES LED UP TO THIS EVENT?

I was bored. It was my dad’s family. A lot of adult drinking was going on and I spotted this girl. I think someone said I wanted to dance with her, then around nine o’clock, I snuck one on her.

I didn’t know but Sam liked me at the time and he got really really mad. He’s an asshole. But we were watchingBatman Begins and he just kind of dove.  Maybe I had been flirting with him earlier on, but I was just sitting there watching the movie and there he was! On my face! 

I gave her a crayon and she kissed me for like half a second. We were in Miss Stiller’s class and I don’t remember if she caught us or not. It was a bit of a surprise but it was cute I liked it. We went on a couple dates later on, when we were older in junior high. I guess I would do the first kiss with her again, just because the way it happened was cute.

I had a really bad day at school. I got written up for passing a note and was dreading going home to face my mom. We were walking to the buses in the bus circle and we stopped in front of his bus and he stopped and gave me a little peck.

Do you want me to be honest? [Laughs.] Okay, well me, Dann, Joe A. and James Lab went to the movies with these girls Dana and Jenn. We were watching Panic Room I think, and I just went in for a kiss out of no where. I didn’t even talk to her or anything, and it worked. Then they both went on to make out with all the other guys also. It was like a makeout orgy. To be honest, I was the first one that Jenn kissed, so it’s not like I got sloppy seconds or anything.

I don’t know.  I guess we just liked each other.  We decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend and that’s what you’re supposed to do then.

It happened on my street where I lived; we were probably taking a walk. What led up to it was probably an attraction between students.  I guess physical but mostly personality.

It was when we were in that awkward phase when I thought nobody liked me and everyone else liked someone. And we were playing Truth or Dare in Nicole’s bedroom and they dared me to kiss him and usually I would say no, but I was curious. And everyone was watching.   

We were in my room, watching TV.  I was wicked nervous.  It’s stupid how it happened haha. Because it was 11:11 and I wished for it.  Don’t judge me!

We were just hanging out in his bedroom.  I didn’t see it coming.  We were friends, but I didn’t know he liked me.  He sort of just came at me.

I was on vacation visiting a family in Bosnia and he was a local.  We’d met a week before at a café that my cousin owned, and we were hanging out there on a bench at closing time.  It was dusk and it was warm out because it was summer.  We both really wanted to kiss, so when he leaned in I knew what was going to happen and I felt excited.

It was at my friend Rich’s house during a Truth or Dare game.

We hung out a couple of times, walked away from the group and went for a walk haha and shit happened haha.

Nothing more than the hot tub led up to it just having funnnn.

TONGUE OR NO TONGUE?

No tongue. I don’t remember her breath. I might have had some Shirley Temple with grenadine on mine.

Lots of tongue.

No tongue.  I didn’t learn about that til fifth or sixth grade.

Yes, there was tongue and it was so gross.  I remember thinking Why do people do this? This is disgusting.

Tongue?!  No way, it was my first kiss!  My first kiss with a girl!  You think I’m gonna stick my tongue down her throat, Lib?  No way! Haha.

Twin Sister #1: Tongue or no tongue?
Twin Sister #2: Tongue. Duh.

No tongue.

Yes there was tongue hahaha.

Yes I kissed everyone with tongue hahaha.


WAS IT SLOPPY? WHAT WAS THE PERSON’S BREATH LIKE?

Yes. He smelled like popcorn.

Her breath was not half bad.

Not sloppy. Just a little peck.

Nah, man. I don’t remember and I didn’t really care at the time anyway I was just lookin’ for someone to make out with.

No! It was verrry slobbery. It was both of our first kisses. When I was done, there was mad slobber all over my face.

It was quick, not sloppy.

It was very sloppy.  It was terrible.

It was good; you know, he smelled nice, like cologne, and his lips were very full.  He was very slow about the whole thing, and eventually there was a little tongue, but not like down my throat or anything.   We continued hanging out almost every day for the next month that I was there.


WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT?

[We dated] for a while I guess, until her dad called my parents and told them to have me stop kissing his daughter.  We were in kindergarten together, and I remember looking for her in first grade and she just walked right past me and blew me off.  That was the end of that.

Things got shitty.  Well, we lasted for like a year and two months and it was good but then everything got crazy so no, I wouldn’t do it again.  Well, not right now anyway.

Yeah, we dated.

I just remember it being mad awkward. We were watching Napoleon Dynamite. His mom walked down and saw us. When Doug went back upstairs and handed him Chapstick and said, “I thought you might need this after all that kissing”.

The night before I left, I snuck out of my aunt’s house to meet him.  We met up behind this convenience store and we talked for several hours.  He pulled me in and kissed me deeply and passionately and every time I went to walk away and leave I was crying and he would pull me in again.  It finally ended when I heard my father coming around the corner, looking for me.  We kept in touch for a little while after that, but that eventually faded.

WOULD YOU DO IT OVER AGAIN?

If I could change it I wouldn’t; I would leave it at Jake.

Hell no. She’s so busted.

Oh yes, I would do it again. But it would be pretty impossible.

Yes, yes, yes, yes I would redo it.

I would never kiss him again.

If I could take it back, I wouldn’t have done it!

Ew No!
Kinda awkward but I guess I would do it again.

Yeah why not. I would do it again hahaha.

***

Rumpus original art by Miranda Harter


Daniel Nester is the author of How to Be Inappropriate (Soft Skull Press 2009). His first two books, God Save My Queen (Soft Skull Press, 2003) and God Save My Queen II (2004), are collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen. He co-edits We Who Are About To Die, lives in upstate New York, and teaches writing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. More from this author →