I admit it.
I've had a few.
I've had MORE that fell flat.
But I'll tell you about one that did not fall flat. I bet I wasn't more than 18 years old.
I was running lights and sound for a local band at a gig 20 miles from my home town. It was your typical southern hole-in-the-wall warehouse of a dance club. Too loud, too crass, and all there was to do on a weekend in a small Kentucky town. Alcohol was illegal (it was a dry county) and had to be bought from the bootlegger and sneaked in--poured underneath the table into plastic cups of Coca Cola, and almost nobody was old enough to drink.
But here's the thing. I was NOT your typical kid. Never smoked, never did drugs (nope, not even a joint--just didn't see the point of it) and NEVER drank alcohol--especially if I had to drive. I was the definition of a good girl. That night, at that club, I wasn't drinking. I was there to work for my buddies in the band (for free of course, unless you counted the "cool factor" that went with the job). After the second set, when the band took its break, we sat around in the dark at ugly plastic laminate tables, eating bad nachos with fake cheese, and I looked over at another table and there he was, silhouetted against the lights of the disco ball.
And he was looking at me.
And it happened. That THING happened.
You know the thing.
That chemistry thing. Magnet to metal. Moth to flame. He was lean and a little rugged, with a bad-boy, barely-there beard and dark hair exactly too-long-enough.
I looked away. Then I looked back. And he was still looking at me.
It took almost the entire band break before the DJ finally played a slow song. I looked away for the thirty-fifth time and when I looked up, there he was, standing beside me, STILL looking at me. I don't think he said a word. He held out his hand and I went with him to the dance floor and about thirty seconds later he was kissing me, and he didn't stop kissing me until the song ended.
I don't remember his name.
But oh boy, do I remember that kiss. It may have been my first taste of real passion.
Now, much older and much wiser, I wonder where, exactly, that little boy learned to kiss like that. And where he learned to look at me like that, and keep looking when he shouldn't have. And thank heavens I was too scared to go back the following night because I was in waaaaaaay over my head for certain.
I think it was the power of it that scared me.
And I think it's that same power that makes us turn the pages of the books, and lean forward as the tension builds on screen, and makes us yearn and dream and get all starry-eyed and maybe ache just a little when we remember certain moments. When the chemistry is right, the power of the "first kiss" is undeniable.
It's silly what gets the muse going. This time it was an article on the news home page when I logged onto the computer yesterday. An article about how to be a better kisser. There were two separate installments--one from the male perspective, and one from the ladies.
I thought the article was pretty darn dumb. The series of opinions ranged from "always carry breath mints" to making certain you surprise the girl by nailing her with a kiss when she's not expecting it. None of it touched on the things that I believe make a great kiss such a life-altering experience.
Granted, it's a tough subject to approach, because everyone is different, and each individual will have different likes and dislikes.
But kisses are a subject discussed with some frequency in the circles of romance writers, and it seems to me that a lot was left unsaid.
For instance, if I were to say, "Toss out nominations for the BEST FIRST KISS in a film," odds are every one of you will have a particular unforgettable moment that you could name--usually without a lot of angst over which one to pick. And if we went a little further and analyzed just why that kiss was so spectacular, I bet you could come up with a reason why it tops your list.
For me, there's no competition. The best first kiss in a film was in "The Last of The Mohicans."
I think it's the way he looks at her first. There it is again--that looking thing--maybe that's my weakness.
The anticipation. The knowing you'll get there, but not....quite...yet....
That little pause just before lips touch lips.
They use that pause to sell stuff. Have you ever noticed--it's not the kiss itself they put in advertisements? It's the pause just before the kiss.
What is it about that?
Does that little pause--the looking--the wanting--make you ache with anticipation?
I remember some long-ago history or anthropology class where some professor said that humans haven't actually been kissing for all that long. Not sure how he knew that for certain--I mean, he was old, but not THAT old.... as writers we spend a lot of time on the buildup, and the payoff of that first kiss for our couples--and screenwriters use it just as effectively--along with the talent of amazing actresses, actors, and directors, to make us feel that moment right along with the characters.
What do you think is the magic element?
How in the world did we get from rubbing noses (or grunting and dragging one another into the cave for sex) to selling products on the power of the mere anticipation of a kiss?
Is there some magical mating of souls that happens when just the right lips touch just the right other pair of lips? Or is the anticipation the best part for you?
Do you have a favorite "kiss memory" that you're willing to share? Or maybe you have them but won't share...oooo...la-la!
What part of the "first kiss" ignites your passion and holds you breathless--in real life or in fiction?
Can you name your favorite fictional "first kiss?"