At some point kissing boys becomes more intriguing than kicking them – a precious, brief window of time when a kiss, the kiss, is the ultimate goal.
I’ve been reading a book written by Paul Miller, one of our SingularCity members, that recounts his misadventures with girls growing up in a farming town in Michigan. The stories are hilarious and remind me of how exciting it was to be a kid — so curious about boys, kissing and “falling in love.” It’s funny how children are so captivated by romance, starting with fairy tales, long before understanding what it’s really all about.
Like my girlfriends, I had crushes on Paul McCartney, Michael Landon and the actor who played Hercules in the cheesy movies that played at my neighborhood theater on Saturday afternoons. I even had a passion for Yul Brynner, falling in love with him in “The King and I,” which may have been the first movie I ever saw from beginning to end. Unrequited love — the beautiful agony of it all.
When it came to boys in real life, my sport of choice — like most of my grade school girlfriends — was kicking them during recess. Yet even that had an odd thrill to it because the boys I most wanted to kick were the ones that I also thought were “cute” and who passed me notes in class.
But something started to shift in the sixth grade. That’s when I first saw Kenny, an eighth-grader with big hazel eyes and a Beatle haircut who lived in the same apartment building as me. Alas, this older man had no idea I even existed. I was just another little kid who lived downstairs.
One day, my friend Diane announced that Kenny was going to have a kissing school in the vacant lot behind the building, a place that, for the neighborhood kids, was both African jungle and Wild West expanse with plenty of wooded areas perfect for staying out of the view of our parents.
“Kissing school?” I replied when she announced the tantalizing news, my eyes wide with excitement.
How I longed to be Kenny’s star pupil. Where, when and how could I enroll? Please God, let this be true. There was nothing more important to me at that point in my life than to find out how to get into Kenny’s kissing school.
At the time I knew nothing about sex, not really. Just as Paul writes in his book, I thought kissing was “it.” I’d seen enough movies and TV shows by then to know that something magical could happen when boy lips touched girl lips, and I couldn’t wait to experience it with Kenny, the kissing professor.
But would Kenny do it with me, a mere 11-year-old? Under normal circumstances, likely not. But if it was a “school” and he was the “teacher,” maybe he would take it upon himself to make sure this gangly 11-year-old didn’t enter junior high unprepared for love.
Reading Paul’s book, I remembered Kenny’s kissing school for the first time in decades (which, alas, never materialized, leaving me one of the world’s worst kissers long into teenage-hood). How sweet and precious it was to be so innocent and so enthralled with the idea of falling in love — dreaming of becoming someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend — long before we really knew what that meant and hadn’t yet discovered the disconcerting details of (gasp) biological reproduction.
I wonder sometimes if kids these days ever have that window of romantic innocence, where a kiss isn’t “just a kiss” but the sublime objective, the culmination of an act that in and of itself is profound magic. And I wonder too if the reason why I’m still single is because I’ve never given up on the idea of romantic bliss and won’t settle for anything less.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.