Friday, 31 May 2013

True Love's Kiss

Hopeful 4    Hopeless  6

I have read more than once that the overwhelming majority of women believe that the first kiss will tell them a lot about a relationship's potential.  Many women will decide whether or not to date a man based on this one factor.  While I would agree that kissing is an important element in any romantic relationship, what is so important about the very first one?

I have been reflecting on this question for a little while and frankly the only explanation I came up with was the fairy tale one.  We've been brought up with this idea of "true love's kiss", that magical moment where the world stops turning.  The kiss that can solve all your problems (or curses) and inevitably lead to Happily Ever After.  Yet, if you asked the average person, they would tell you that they do not subscribe to such fantastical notions.  However, I don't see how else you could explain the attitude about the first kiss...

It's great if that is the way it turns out for you, a first kiss with fireworks and symphonies.  You have the fairy tale and you are lucky; a few of us get to glimpse such moments.  For the rest of us, there is what happens in real life, or shall we say, what happens for most people.  The first kiss is timid, or exploratory.  The first kiss is out of balance or out of synch with your partner.  The first kiss is just the tip of the iceberg with so much more to discover.  It is not necessarily representative of all future kisses or possibilities.

My very first kiss was in fact one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

Frédéric and I had taken a walk in the park.  We sat down for a rest on a bench and were talking about many things.  I kicked myself for realizing too late that he had asked me out on a date and I had declined.  I was not available on the day in question, but also did not add anything encouraging like "perhaps another time".  The conversation continued on to horoscopes and astrological signs and we were in agreement that these things should not be taken too seriously.  Yet, he had said, "Maybe I should pay more attention to them."  So a couple of minutes later, I asked what he had meant and he explained that on the compatibility chart, Libra (my sign) and Gemini (his) had "a big heart".  I forced myself to remain calm and neutral, "Oh really?  I didn't know that..."  That is when he looked at me seriously and asked if I liked him.  I took a very big deep breath and said, "I am very interested in you; I have to be honest."  And I held that breath, waiting for his reply.  He said, "Je suis soulagé," and it was very visible: a wave of relief washed over his entire body.  Then he proceeded to say that he had felt like kissing me a few moments earlier.  Since that feeling was mutual and he obtained my permission, he leaned over and kissed me.  Back then, I thought this was quite romantic.  When I think about it now, I get queasy.

I thought it was the perfect moment.  Except for the kiss.  The idea of the moment finishing in a kiss was blissful.  The actual kiss had me freaked out.  Frédéric was saying that he hadn't dated in a couple of years and apologizing for being rusty.  I couldn't tell.  I couldn't think about what he was saying.  I had just hit extreme fear instead of ecstasy and was confused as to how that could happen.  I seemed to be aware that you could be nervous during a first kiss, but I was way beyond that.  I was shaking and had lain my head on his shoulder, apologizing before he did, saying I had "not been ready for that".  I was very happy to have shared my feelings for him and to have heard that they were reciprocated, so I was content while talking with him and walking back.  When we parted that day, though, he pulled me in for a second kiss and all of my severe anxiety returned.  I realized I had a serious problem.  I even spiked a mysterious fever that day, after seeing Frédéric.  I felt so terrified, I felt sick.  I had no other symptoms and it disappeared by the next day.  Clearly kissing disagreed with me.  Sometimes I wonder if that wasn't my warning not to date him.  In any case, to my way of thinking, it was a pretty extreme reaction and it made me feel completely abnormal.   

Now I know better.  It took me awhile to figure this out, but feeling strange or even not so great about the first kiss is normal enough.  And it is okay.  I thought, again erroneously, that I had perhaps picked the wrong guy and that is why the kiss didn't feel good.  While it is true that I didn't make a good pick with Frédéric, that is not why kissing him was a problem.  I hoped that the next guy I kissed would change all of that.  As I have hinted, though, my first kiss with Amin also threw me.  All of those familiar feelings of acute anxiety returned.  I was doubly scared this time in a way, because I had hoped for something magical to happen.  I had hoped not only not to feel terrified, but to feel good.  I didn't have high hopes or expectations; I didn't require spectacular.  I just didn't want to feel bad.  I was not so lucky.  What Amin allowed me to learn, though, is that it is normal and it is okay to feel the way that I did. 

So the next time you are thinking about the first kiss or you are about to experience one, try not to set your expectations at spectacular.  It's great for you if you have that perfect moment.  It is also okay if you don't.  My mother told me when the subject came up in my first weeks of dating Amin that experiencing a great kiss for a girl depends on so many factors: the guy, the atmosphere, the way you are sitting or standing, your hormones, your stress level, etc.  If only I had discovered this secret years ago!  I would not have spent such a long time feeling bad and abnormal.  Go on dreaming of a True Love's Kiss.  You will get there, on the first kiss, or the third one, or... the number is not important.  You may indeed have met a charming prince, even if the first kiss didn't spell out Happily Ever After instantaneously.  The important thing really is how you feel about him and how he feels about you: that is what leads to a True Love's Kiss.   

"Anyone could see that the prince was charming: the only one for me..."


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