Missed First Kisses

by Mary Chase
Posted on October 23, 2019

Perhaps the reason I love to write first kiss scenes is because I know I can make them happen. Something I seemed wildly unable to do in real life despite a lot of wishing and hoping and thinking and planning and dreaming. You all know the song, right? No? Well, it’s an oldie, but it may have a point, so maybe worth a listen. There’s even a cover by Ani DiFranco if you prefer to go that indie ironic route (which generally I do).

You can think about kissing all you want, but the thing is, sometimes the only way to get kissed, is to kiss someone.

Guerilla Love

I had a book growing up. Let’s just call it Guerilla Love (the working title of my Nanowrimo project last November about a love experiment using lessons from a book like this that goes horribly wrong!). I was doing research this week and was shocked to discover that the book is still in print and incredibly well-reviewed on Amazon. I was shocked because it’s filled with some truly terrible advice in my humble opinion.

Here’s one example I always remembered. Kiss a person you’re interested in whether they want you to or not.

Yeah. Take a second. Digest.

If they push you away, act like nothing happened. I think the exact phrase was “just go on with the conversation” which I think we can all agree is certifiably insane. Later, the book promises, when your object of desire is alone, they will think about the kiss and want to do it again.


Hold on.


I want to argue profusely with this little tidbit. Tell you it’s ridiculous. That of course you should never do this. Terrible, terrible advice. The worst.


I never tried it. Not once. And instead of having a Lara-Jean-like list of all the boys I’ve loved before, I have a list of all the boys I never kissed. A list of all the boys who never had the chance to think about me later and come to the conclusion that they wanted to kiss me again.

Frankly my missed-first-kiss list is long. So here’s an abridged version for the sake of illustration.

Note: The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Namely me. I don’t want any of these real guys emailing me to tell me why there was no first kiss.

  1. Martin. Martin and I went to a week-long, out-of-town high school drama festival and every night he would lie in my twin-bottom-bunk bed. Every night for 5 days we would lie there shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm, leg to leg (oh, you get the picture; it was a twin bed; we were smooshed) and play We’re So Psychic. We’re So Psychic was a game we made up so that we could lie in bed together shoulder to shoulder, arm to…okay, okay, I’ll stop. At least that’s why I was playing. To be alone with Martin. One of us would think of something, like “an orange” and the other one would guess “circle” and we’d be all like, “Oh my god, we can read each other’s minds.” And I’d be like, “If that’s true why aren’t you kissing me?” But not out loud. Just in my head. Because he could read my mind, right? Except maybe he couldn’t. Maybe we weren’t psychic. Maybe he had no idea I was thinking about kissing him because the thought wasn’t a circular object.

  2. Oliver. He was tall and talented and for like two weeks we were sort of inseparable. He came to the house I rented in college with far more people living there than rooms in the house for them to live. And one night the power went out and we sat in the dark (IN THE DARK!) for over an hour right next to each other on the couch. Close enough to touch but not actually touching. And we talked. And there were these long-drawn out silences where kissing was in the air just waiting for one of us to be brave enough to breathe it in, and all I knew was I wasn’t that brave. And eventually the power came back on and I never saw him again.

  3. Felix. We were scene partners for a minute in college. He was cute in a super-intense-Clark-Kent-brooding-over-why-no-one-saw-the-resemblence-between-him-and-that-guy-in-the-cape way and we were flirty in a I’m-not-sure-what-flirting-is-but-this-might-be-it way. One night he came over to practice. When we were done, instead of walking the two blocks back to his dorm, he decided to sleep over. In my double bed. Still wearing his leather jacket. I had the good sense to ask him to take off the jacket—definitely a sleeping hazard—but not the sense to ask him what the hell we were doing. And in the morning he left and I never figured it out.

So what’s my point? I’m definitely not suggesting anyone should run around kissing every person they think is cute right in the middle of a conversation about yesterday’s algebra homework. I still think that’s terrible advice. But looking back, I do wonder what I was so afraid of. And maybe sometimes, in the right situation, a little Guerilla Love is in order. Maybe sometimes it’s better to be a little brave than left alone in your own dark room with a list of all the boys you could have kissed.

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