We did manage to slip away from the crowds of people at the house a few times over Thanksgiving break to go on walks. Each time I returned my sisters queried, “so, has he tried to kiss you?” and each time I had to respond in the negative. I was simultaneously terrified and annoyed. Terrified of him trying to kiss me because “oh my freakin’ goodness, I don’t know the first thing about kissing a boy,” and annoyed because I was starting to think that he didn’t even want to kiss me. Later, I would learn that he had almost made the attempt several times, but was looking for some encouragement from me. (*bwaahaaahaaa* It makes me laugh hysterically now, thinking about the sort of signals I was giving him: keeping my hands always in the pockets, being careful to not make too much contact lest he think that I really like him, etc.) We left for home with nary a kiss between us.
On the drive back, I bravely asked him his thoughts on hand holding and specifically, why he let go of my hand at the movies. (Yeah, I obviously wasn’t hung up about it or anything.) It was then that I learned how nervous he was and how he worried that his hand would sweat, etc. (Awww.) We then spent the rest of the four hour drive holding hands. “Great!” I thought, “we have officially broken the touch barrier. Next, we might try hugging and perhaps one day, we might work up to that kiss.” I was more than happy to take things slow. Really, really slow.
Mr. F. dropped me off at my house and helped take my bags in. Then came the blundering, bumbling, floundering parting moment. I gave him an awkward one-armed hug--the kind that you give friends and acquaintances. It was made even more awkward by the fact that I announced that I was going to give him a hug: “well, I guess since we are now holding hands, I can give you a hug now too!” (Could I sound anymore like a pre-pubescent boy?) I then retreated and made for the door to show him out (body language signal: I am officially done now with all this physical contact.)
I knew I was in trouble when Mr. F. lingered outside the door. My brain started going into overdrive.
Brain: He isn’t leaving! He isn’t leaving! Why isn’t he leaving!
Red lights started to flash behind my eyes when I saw that he was “leaning.”
Brain: He is leaning! Oh my goodness, he is going to try to kiss you! What are you going to doooooooo?!!!
My “fight or flight” mechanism was cued. Either I was going to have to kiss him, or be kissed. I chose the lesser of two evils. I swooped in, pecked him primly on the lips, and then swiftly retreated. “Bye!” I said and quickly closed the door. Then, because this was a drama of traumatic proportions, I called my sister.
“I am so embarrassed,” I said. “He was going to kiss me, and I completely panicked! He probably thinks that I am the biggest looser on the face of the planet and will never want to kiss me again.” (Oh, the drama!)
“I think,” she said, “you need to tell him the truth.”
“*Gasp!* the truth!? Do you really think so?”
“Yes,” she said. “Other wise you might really be giving him the wrong impression.”
Which is how I came to write a rather extended email to Mr. F. that night about how 1) I really did like him but that 2) I just had never “dated” any one previously and 3) had never, up to that point, kissed a boy. It was a very difficult email to write. I felt very vulnerable, opening myself up like that and exposing all of my deep and dark secrets. (Although, he had pretty much guessed points 2 and 3 at this point. He wasn’t stupid after all.) His reply was rather sweet and made me feel a lot less stupid and a whole lot more warm and fuzzy.
You would think that this event would break the whole awkward-kissing-moment-ice, but it didn’t. Mr. F. didn’t attempt to kiss me again for another week or two. And when he tried again, I dissuaded him by completely freezing up. (“Maybe if I just stay really, really still......”) My sisters’ advice: “You just need a really good make-out session. Then you will be fine.” After years of being told “don’t make out,” I was now being told the opposite. I guess what is discouraged at age 16 is now mandatory at the age of 29. What I finally told Mr. F.: “it isn’t that I don’t want to kiss you. I do. But you are giving me too much time to think, and therefore, panic. You just need to swoop in there and catch my by surprise.”
Needless to say, we got it straightened out. Luckily, Mr. F. was willing to help me work through my kissing hang-ups.