Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Killer Kisses

by Cassondra Murray

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!

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?"


DownUnderGirl said...

Ooooh yes, kissing. Killer topic Cassondra!!!

Two straight off the top of my head as have to dash out again. The first kiss in Notting Hill after Hugh Grant climbs ver the fence. And the kiss between secret crush girl with schizo brother and exceedingly good looking guy in Love Actually.

I think you're right - its the anticipation. The slow build. Knowing its going to happen and everything being enhanced and magnified as it slowly builds.


Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Cassondra, what a great post! Gave me goosebumps. I can't wait till you're in print, Bandita! Even something like this shows me what a great wordsmith you are!

Glad the LOTM kiss got a mention. It's fabulous, isn't it? Mind you, I think half the effect is the great music. Hmm, thinks about DDL in full passionate mode. Perhaps not HALF! I love the kiss at the end of North and South. It's absolutely phenomenal. They meet at a train station unexpectedly and all the discord melts away and they're suddenly honest with each other and he frames her head in his hands as if she's the most precious thing he's ever touched. Oh, man, gives me goosebumps!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Great topic Cassondra, it is all about the kiss. Of course my first kiss really doesn't count, I was in third grade and when he finally caught me and kissed me I decked him. That didn't happen later (in my teens) though. Most definitely didn't deck HIM. ::sigh:: I have to agree with everything you said, it is the anticipation, and "The Look", melting brown eyes following me all over the room at my girlfriend's house, yeah, it was the things books are made of.....LOL

Buffie said...

Great, great topic!!! First let me just say that I am a happily married woman :) My husband was only the 4th guy I ever kissed, all of which happened within a 2 month timeframe. Anyway, the kiss I remember the most was from a boy at my girlfriend's Sweet 16 birthday party. My best friend was a cool girl, so needless to say there were loads of cool kids at the party. But since we attended two different schools, I really didn't know very many people. I actually got a little bored. So there I was laying on the floor in the living room listening to the music and pretty much in my own world. When, my friend comes over and tells me that Kevin has been asking around about me -- who I was, where I went to school, and most importantly was I dating someone. Still in my bored state of mind and not bothering to get up off the living room floor, I calming asked which guy he was. My friend points to the guy in the other room. Tall (yes he was), dark (he had dark hair), and handsome (honey I practically jumped off the floor to make sure I looked okay). And those eye -- green piercing eyes. After our introduction, Kevin and I spent the next couple of hours cuddled up on the sofa talking (yes, we were talking!). When it was time for him to go, he stood up, took me by the hand, and whispered in my ear "walk me to the car". I am so sure my mouth was wide open as I shook my head yes. So there, at his car, he pulled me close. He placed his handes on my hips and began a slow, mind-numbing rub. Then he slowly (it seems liked minutes) leaned in and started to kiss me. One of those slow, let me just get a taste of you kisses. I think I had steam coming out of my ears!!!! Needless to say, it elevated to a very passionate his. **sign** what a memory. I never saw Kevin after that night. And the next week I met my husband.

As for kisses on film, how about Dirty Dancing -- talk about hot!

Anonymous said...

Hey, awesome blog Cassondra! :-)

I have much stronger memories of the BAD kisses I've had--isn't that sad?

My good ones have been more about the emotion and less the specific physical experience of the kiss. But the bad ones...HOOBOY! Anyone have that first-French-kiss-in-the-closet experience? Wet, awkward, ew! I have a crystal clear memory of walking away and wondering that night--why on earth do people think that's fun?

I agree about the anticipation--I remember WANTING certain kisses much more than getting them. My first kiss with my husband was like that. Oh, the deliciousness of wanting someone and waiting...waiting...waiting for the right time!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of LOTM--you know all that goregous scenery? It was filmed in NC, near Asheville, in the forests I spent much of my college years backpacking through. So beautiful, and everytime I see it I long to go back.

Susan Seyfarth said...

I loved this post, Cassondra!! By the time you were done describing that kid from the night club, I was ready to run off with him myself. :-)

But I have to say, I'm with Kirsten on this--most of my first kisses have been awkward, wet &, well, ew. They may not have been THAT bad, but I was reading some really great romance novels back when I was in jr high/high school, & nothing a sixteen year old boy could muster up was going to compete, you know?

That said, I've had some positively electric WAITS for first kisses, even if the event itself was less than smooth. Ah, new love.

Thanks for a wonderful post, Cassondra! The minute you sell a book, I'm going to stand outside my local book store until it hits the shelves so I can be first in line. You do sexual tension THAT well... :-)

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, soul sister, I too had an encounter with a teenaged Casanova. He worked at the concession stand at the YMCA pool where we spent all day, every day during the endless summers of junior high school.

Casanova--I mean, Jimmy--had a dark tan, dark eyes and sun-kissed dark hair streaked with blond. He also had beautiful white teeth and a killer dimple. Just one.

For some reason, the intriguing 15-year-old Jimmy developed a tendre--or at least a curiosity--about my 14-year-old self. I was tall (probably taller than him, now that I think about it), far too skinny and had braces and glasses. Not cute. Except to Jimmy, who took a shine to me despite my lack of popularity and admirers.

He gave me The Look and lured me to the hallway behind the concession stand. There, he leaned in slowly and kissed me with far more passion and experience than any 15-year-old should have. He also added a sweeping back bend a la 1940's Hollywood to the end of the kiss. It was the most romantic kiss ever in the whole of history.

Except...that last part actually had witnesses. Soon, other teens demanded we repeat it. Some wanted to witness the drama, some the romance and some the incomprehensible fact that Jimmy had actually kissed me. He was, after all, the IT boy of the YMCA pool!

We repeated the kiss a couple of times, but those were affectations and held no enchantment for me. I felt we should be charging admission and was, frankly, disenchanted. But, oh, what a memory!

You will be glad to hear that the (far too wise for his age) Jimmy told me after that: "You're cute now, but when you're about 30, you're going to be a knockout." Believe you me, those precious words carried me through a long, lonely, very gawky adolescence.

Jimmy may have ended up incarcerated or selling used cars, but he will always have a special place in my heart. *g*

doglady said...

Hmmm. You ladies have had some great kisses in your lives!! The guy at the nightclub sounds like a dream come true. Of course LOTM is the best first kiss of all time. And Anna C I am SURE the music and the setting had a lot to do with it. Every kiss with my husband was amazing, made all the more so because he is gone. I think our first kiss as husband and wife was one of the most memorable. The minister said "You may kiss the bride." and Roger did the "frame my face in his hands" thing and kissed me and before he let go he whispered "Thank you." You cannot get much better than a guy thanking you for marrying him. I also thank God every day that I remember our last kiss as I sent him off to work the day he was taken from me.

AndreaW said...

How funny! I just mentioned that Spiderman upside down kiss over at the Jaunty Quills. It is definitely sigh-worthy.

Totally agree with anticipation. I love to read about sexual tension in books. Sometimes it's even hotter than the actual act!


Caren Crane said...

Oh, Doglady, you made me all teary-eyed! What a beautiful wedding memory and what a bittersweet "last kiss". It makes me want to go home and kiss my husband--even if he will get mad at me for sharing cold germs. I guess he can get over it!

Caren Crane said...

Andrea, you are so right about the sexual tension. Although it makes me crazy after 300 or so pages, it actually *is* better than the eventual sex many times. Not always, but many times.

There are some authors who can keep the tension there, even after the initial "encounter". Those are my keepers, for sure! That Anna Campbell managed it in Claiming the Courtesan and my personal fave, Liz Carlyle, does it every stinking time! Man, I wish I could write historicals. *g*

jo robertson said...

Cassondra, what a delightful, universal topic -- we've all had a first kiss! You rock, girl! Excellently written post -- your publication is just around the corner.

I'm so with you on the Daniel Day-Lewis kiss -- my husband too -- he thinks Madeleine Stowe is to die for.

I remember my first "real" kiss -- the guy wore glasses and I remember how strange it was that he ripped off his glasses right before the head dip. I had never considered the glasses factor before. I have to admit that was a sexy move for me.

But in films, I love the Harry Met Sally kiss because the sexual tension was boiling under the surface for so long, disguising itself as friendship, and then WHAM it happened when Meg Ryan was crying and blowing her nose.

I love that scene.

MsHellion said...

*swoons* I love this topic. Great blog. And I think you nailed it. It's that look--that killer sizzling I can't take my eyes off you look that does me in every time. *sighs*

I agree with Anna--the music in LOTM coupled with the intense longing stares between the characters is what makes that movie. (If we only all had soundtracks in our lives; I might have a clue when I was going to get a really great kiss or not.)

And, oh God, I have not been able to STOP watching North & South for that very moment (Oh, and that moment where he's doing the "look back at me" bit. *swoons*)--I must watch that movie at least once a week.

I don't have any personal kisses of Cassondra's ilk. Well, there was that hot guy at the bar--but we were both pretty tipsy--and I think the reason it went so well is because we did the stare thing, then launched straight into kissing without worrying about anything. (I do tend to overthink lots of things. Even kisses.) It was, unfortunately, one of the greatest kisses of my life. All the first kisses I've had with guys I've actually cared about have been awkward and not anything wonderful to put in a novel....

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Ms Hellion, isn't that N&S kiss something else??!!! I played it over and over the first time I watched it and I've used it in Tempt the Devil. That incredible tremulous tenderness they generate - sigh!

Oh, I'm loving the kiss stories. Caren, yours brought tears to my eyes. Love the knock out when you're 30 line! I think that's why I love ugly duckling stories (where the hero recognizes the heroine's true gorgeousness before she turns into a swan). They really cut deep, don't they?

And my dear twin separated at birth, thanks for coupling my name with the divine Liz C. She's an amazing writer, isn't she? I love doing the first kiss in a book - it's when everything changes, doesn't it? One of my faves is in Untouched - LOVED writing that one. You'll have to tell me if it comes up to snuff.

Cassondra said...

Hi everyone!

So sorry I'm in the lair late today! Stayed up until almost midnight to post, and turns out I've caught Posh T's bug (Caren, don't know how you managed that all the way from North Carolina to Kentucky).

downundergirl, oooo--two great kisses I've heard about, but one I haven't seen. The Hugh Grant Notting Hill one--I know, I KNOW. Smite me on the hand. I'll go rent it as soon as I'm up and around again. The thing is, you're absolutely right about the anticipation and everything being magnified as it builds. Of course, when it happens and it's like kissing a fish--or he slobbers all over you--well, doesn't that just ruin the moment?

Anna, ha! You missed the Golden Rooster again (Why couldn't we have had a chocolate rooster anyhow? That might actually lure me out of the coffin a bit earlier in the day). Glad I'm not the only fan of LOTM. I've looked and looked for a better first kiss than that and just can't top it.

Cassondra said...

Hey, hrdwrkdmom, I actually didn't count my elementary school stalker.

That kid loved me, I swear. From the first day of second grade all the way through, probably, to high school. I was SO mean to him. Not only did I deck him, but when we had square dancing class in gym, he'd always pick me (the boys always got to pick the girls. Isn't that awful and sexist--yes, I'm that old). I'd sling him against the wall. I got in trouble for it. But he wouldn't leave me alone. Fortunately, he never got me on the lips. Always the cheek, or the shoulder. But his last name and mine were close enough that when we were seated, he was ALWAYS next to me in class. I couldn't get away from him! Ack.

You know, he was probably a nice kid. I bet I scarred him for life with my constant rejections....but I was one of those who did not get past the "boy cooties" thing until I was in the 6th grade.

Speaking of 6th grade, I had my first crush on a guy named Vincent. He sent me a note--"I like you if you like me, check yes or no." I tore it up and threw it away. I was scared. At our ten year high school reunion, he was the hottest guy I'd ever seen. Tan, gorgeous, and SINGLE baby. Don't you think I regretted not checking that yes box? Oh yeah. But alas, never got one of Vincent's kisses.

Cassondra said...

Buffie OMG!

When it was time for him to go, he stood up, took me by the hand, and whispered in my ear "walk me to the car".

At least you had the nerve to go out there with him! Look at my record--fraidy cat all the way! WHAT a great story.

And I know, you're happily married. So am I. But don't you ever wonder---just every now and then.....what IF you'd gone out with Mr. "walk me to the car" the following week?

Of course, I'd probably have ended up barefoot and pregnant working at a factory in middle-of-nowhere Kentucky my whole life, cuz he would have left for the next girl he could lure with the "look" never know....

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said,

Anyone have that first-French-kiss-in-the-closet experience? Wet, awkward, ew!

Oh yeah. It's the overly wet, slobbery ones that are just the most gross ya know? I remember kissing one guy but there really wasn't anything there--at least for ME there wasn't. Not sure about him. He was a "wet" kisser. Ew. And for some reason he felt the need to then stick hs tongue in my ear. Oh, Ick. Ew.

I swear, I don't know how the guy in the blog learned what he knew. He was WAY too young to know all that. He had the proper degree of awkwardness about the follow-up--you know, wanting me to come and meet him and all that--leaving it a little ambiguous--but the approach and the kiss--NOT awkward. It makes me wonder if some guys are just born knowing how to do that, or if, MAYBE, it's actually the chemistry between two people that makes it happen that way.

Maybe it was real? Maybe he actually FELT that--couldn't take his eyes off of me. Yeah, that's it. I think I'm going to keep believing THAT. ;0)

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassandra - Amazing post! You had me at disco ball *g*. Now I want to pop in DVDs of movies and watch the first kisses rather than work on my WIP.

I agree it's that yearning and wanting and I-must-have-you sensation that makes that first kiss sizzle, but a few violins don't hurt either ;-) I still play the soundtrack to LOTM when working on love scenes.

And Doglady, you make me want to run over to my husband's place of business and tackle his bones. I'm so sorry for your loss. It must have been devastating.

Cassondra said...


THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND! Oh, uh....SECOND BEST FRIEND--I know, you and Kirsten are buds.;0)

Seriously, you think I do sexual tension well? (bounces up and down a little in chair) I didn't mean to, honest. I was just telling about the hot guy. Actually I think HE did sexual tension well.

He was, honestly, a cutie. And a hottie. Have no idea why he was looking at me.

Cassondra said...

Posh T said:

You will be glad to hear that the (far too wise for his age) Jimmy told me after that: "You're cute now, but when you're about 30, you're going to be a knockout." Believe you me, those precious words carried me through a long, lonely, very gawky adolescence.


Where do they learn this stuff? And oh, yeah. I would've gotten some mileage out of being told THAT by the cutest guy around. That would have carried me all the way through the first two years of college. (fans self)

Cassondra said...

Posted by doglady:
Every kiss with my husband was amazing, made all the more so because he is gone. I think our first kiss as husband and wife was one of the most memorable. The minister said "You may kiss the bride." and Roger did the "frame my face in his hands" thing and kissed me and before he let go he whispered "Thank you."

Oh, doglady! I'm CRYING! This is the most wonderful story, and the saddest too.

I can't imagine how much you miss him. You're one of a few who get "A love for the ages". What an amazing, blessed time you must have had together.

Oh, dear. Got to get a Kleenex and another cup of tea....

Cassondra said...

andreaw said:

Totally agree with anticipation. I love to read about sexual tension in books. Sometimes it's even hotter than the actual act!

Andrea, don't you wonder if that's what's missing after we've been together for a long while and the guy grabs you and says "wanna go do it?" (My husband does NOT do this, but I hear about this all the time.) That's the thing. It's like sometimes they forget that for us, at least, it's a mental game. I have to wonder if it isn't a mental game for them too, and they just get lazy or forget?

As a writer I have to do the male perspective too of course, and I know I don't get it right--at least as far as a guy would be concerned. But what was that hottie thinking when he was staring at me like that.

Actually, maybe I don't care, as long as they keep staring at me like I'm the only woman they've ever wanted.....

But sometimes, they forget to do that. It's a shame.

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

I'm so with you on the Daniel Day-Lewis kiss -- my husband too -- he thinks Madeleine Stowe is to die for.

Oh, isn't Madeline beautiful? Of all the actresses I've "wished to look like," she's the one.

And the truth is, I like DD-Lewis ONLY in this role. He's the ultimate hottie in this role--a lot like Viggo in LOTR--a little rough around the edges--a little dirty--a little gritty and a lot deadly. Several of his other films I've declined to watch because I was afraid it would ruin this one. Isn't that silly?

I do have to say, that I'd love to have that acting ability--I have no idea whether they liked one another as people or not, but on screen, when they looked at one another, I believed. I still believe. That's talent.

And the interesting thing is that it's so universal. EVERYONE feels it. That tells me why they read our books and keep coming back for more. I'm not a huge fan of erotica, though some of it I've read has been wonderful. But THAT--that thing DD-L and Madeline do in that moment--I can never get enough of THAT.

THAT, between two people--it's what we all dream of, isn't it?

Nancy said...

Wow, what a fabulous post, Cassondra! I don't really have anything to add. If you wrote that Kentucky club scene in a book, readers would be thoroughly caught. I was.

Favorite fictional first kiss, huh? That's a tough one. I guess ... Romeo and Juliet because it's so innocent, yet driven by forbidden passion, and doomed.

I agree, anticipation is all. Why else would there be a song about it?

Cassondra said...

mshellion wrote:

I don't have any personal kisses of Cassondra's ilk. Well, there was that hot guy at the bar--but we were both pretty tipsy--and I think the reason it went so well is because we did the stare thing, then launched straight into kissing without worrying about anything.

Me too! I think that's what made it work. If I'd had time to find out he was a jerk or had three girlfriends with babies (entirely possible, given his skill level)or something, it would have ruined it completely. Sounds like yours was a lot like mine! And the funny thing is, all the guys in the band were probably watching me, and going "is that CASSONDRA?" Nobody had ever seen me do anythign like that before. But I didn't care. I didn't care who saw or who was watching or what they thought. It was that powerful.

All the first kisses I've had with guys I've actually cared about have been awkward and not anything wonderful to put in a novel....

Me too, mostly. I think it's a good thing to know--to hold out for the guy that does "it" for you in this way, but who also cares about you and would give his very soul for you. A lot of people settle and live happily with one or the other, but that combination is the most deadly of all. That's what novels and dreams are made of.

Helen said...

What a great topic I love all these stories my first kiss was when I was 15 and his name was Steve it was pretty ordinary and I have had some bad ones over the years but the best would have been by my husband and yes I was 15 then too and it left me knowing that he would be the person I married just something that I can't explain but it was wonderful and I did marry him 5 years later.
Lots of wonderful sensual build up in movie kisses and in books I have read and I love the anticipation of these.
Great post
Have Fun

Cassondra said...

Anna wrote:

I love doing the first kiss in a book - it's when everything changes, doesn't it? One of my faves is in Untouched - LOVED writing that one. You'll have to tell me if it comes up to snuff.

Anna, you tart you! How cunning of you to set me all angsty waiting for the end of the month for your next novel.

It IS when everything changes, and the buildup is so important. You know, in real life, I think it's when everything either comes together or falls flat. Of course, in untouched, it's not going to fall flat....darn you, for reminding me I have three more weeks to wait....grrrr.

Cassondra said...

Here's a question for everyone:

You know how all the heroines in all the books look at the guy's eyes and KNOW? They "see the desire" flicker there or whatever?

Am I the only one who is totally dumb about that? I don't have a freakin' clue what the guy thinks of me when he looks at me like that.

My night club hottie stared at me. And wouldn't stop staring. The only way I wouldn't have understood is if I were dead. But in novels when she looks at him and knows he wants her because of the position of his eyelids or it just me? I don't recognize that at all.

MsHellion said...

Cassondra--I don't think it's an eyelid thing...I think it's the stare...the I can't keep my eyes off you stare. I always feel...well, naked. Eric--totally inappropriate and unavailable Eric--would stare at me to the point I'd jump him anyway. Almost funny. Almost.

Although, it's probably a fine line. I'm at least attracted BACK at Eric's I can't keep my eyes off you stare. If it was someone who I wasn't remotely attracted to, it'd be stalker creepy.

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Cassondra, I am so attuned to The Look. The slight drop of the eyelids, the sudden smolder. It's real! Of course, part of it is probably chemistry, as you speculated earlier.

I've seen it. I've even seen it a few times in recent years (i.e. since I've been married). But now, it's dangerous and something to be avoided. When I was single, it was something to seek, to look for in every new man, in every situation. That was, for me, a good part of the fun. Finding the spark, seeing where it led.

Yes, I was a bit of a flirt and a tart in my day. But The Look...*sigh*...nothing can compare!

Anna Campbell said...

OK, confessions, my first French kiss was utterly revolting. He had a COLD tongue. And dripping wet. Bleuch! I wonder how I survived to become the paragon of normality I now am ;-)

Doglady, I had tears in my eyes when I read your post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Caren, a reader paid a ridiculous amount for an ARC of Untouched at a charity auction because she was a CTC fan. She emailed back and told me I did the 'BEST FIRST KISSES'. Now that's music to a writer's ears. It's a bit of the book that I really try and make important - in some ways, I'd rather write first kisses than sex. Hmm, clearly lizard tongue boy didn't turn me off the whole subject! ;-)

Cassondra said...

Hi Helen!

Wondered when you would pop in!

How cool that you kissed him at 15 and knew.

Oh, my, but that's romantic--the stuff of legends.

Cassondra said...

Donna, do they even still have those spinning, mirrored balls in clubs? I don't know. I don't generally go to clubs at all any more (Yes, I've gotten boring and old.)

But at least you KNOW WHAT A DISCO BALL IS! I wondered when I wrote it if some of the guests would go...."uh...what's a disco ball?" (grin)

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

I agree, anticipation is all. Why else would there be a song about it?

Nancy, wow. How insightful! I've never even thought about that song when thinking about this. Now that's just crazy of me. I've been a songwriter. I think it's the musical hook I like most in that particular song, but you're absolutely right.

And thank you for saying my night club scene is book worthy. Gosh.

Do youall think guys like to kiss as much as we do?

Christine Wells said...

I remember one kiss that I didn't want to like at all. I was at university and there was this extremely arrogant guy--tall dark and handsome and he KNEW it--I wouldn't have touched him if I hadn't had a bit too much to drink at some nightclub or other. He called me a cab and as the cab pulled up, he said he needed a thank you kiss. Innocent, unsuspecting and a little tipsy, I reached up to give him a peck on the cheek and he turned his head at the last minute--oldest trick in the book!

I couldn't stand him, really, but oh my, he was a great kisser! So I totally understand when heroines unwillingly respond to kisses, even though they can't abide the arrogant ass who's doing the kissing. For a split second, I 'succumbed' then I pushed him away, got into the cab and went home:) I wasn't THAT drunk. Kissing was as far as he was going to get!

But you're right, Cassondra, the best kisses have that anticipation, where your mouth goes dry and you feel the pull of the other person and you know it's going to happen...

Great post! I'm sighing over everyone's experiences. And Anna, North and South is probably my favourite kiss, too!

Keira Soleore said...

If I have to choose one from the movies, I'd say the last one in the BBC miniseries North & South.

Cassondra, how beautifully you write!

Pam, I match today's Seattle weather after reading your comments.

Cassondra said...

Oh, Christine, what GREAT material. I see what turned you into a romance writer.

The thing is, you HAVE to ask youself a) why the arrogant ass called you a cab and b) WHY he demanded a kiss? From YOU?

I mean, apparantly he could have his pick, at least of the less-astute girls, but he wanted YOU--the smart chick he had to work to get...he wanted to find out if it was there or not. And it sounds like it WAS THERE.

But I don't blame you for giving him the cold shoulder. Who needs an arrogant self-absorbed guy? Nevertheless, one has to wonder what HE thought, and if you were the ONE WOMAN who could have turned that arrogant alpha hero into the perfect guy.....

My goodness, the ideas are a-swirling! Perhaps we should all write together on a book.....

Cassondra said...

Oh Keira, thank you so much! the race for BEST FIRST KISS, North & South seems to be in the lead by...well....a kiss or two....

Cassondra said...

Caren, when we go to SanFran, you and I are going to hang out in the baaaaaaa, and watch men. And you're going to point out that "look" to me so I can recognize it. Kay?

Buffie said...

"Buffie OMG!! And I know, you're happily married"

Cassondra, someday I'll have to tell you the story of how I met my husband. It involves my parents being out of town, my best friend, a high school dance, the "other" woman (who turned out to be me!), and kisses in the moonlight and on the dance floor. It's a great story!!

And I know what you are all thinking about me, but I was a good girl, really I was!!!!!!

Cassondra said...


You CAN NOT leave us like this.

You have to tell.

Come on.

Give. What comes out in the lair stays in the lair.

Pinky Swear.

Cassondra said...


Every time you post I start to sweat.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, we may have to find a faraway baaaaaa to find The Look in San Francisco during an RWA conference. *g* We'd have better luck in, say, West Virginia in a coal mining town!

I'm sure you've received more Looks than you have recognized. I'm with MsHellion (I think it was) who said The Stare (a derivative and cousin of The Look) can be creepy. I had a guy giving me The Stare one night at a club in college. He was really cute, blond, kind of a lanky hottie type. But The Stare kind of freaked me out in its singlemindedness.

He found out my name and, within an hour, decided he had found his future bride. Um, no. I did not give him my phone number, but I lived on campus so he found it out fairly easily. He left several messages for me to meet him at a local restaurant on a certain date at a certain time. I never returned his calls.

I got chills every time I drove past that place for years! The Stare, on that guy, had a weird "I want to own your soul" vibe that I couldn't shake. Ugh. I gave myself chills just thinking about it!

p226 said...

Ahahaha, I guess I'm a pig. 95% of the time a Kiss is just a necessary prelude to what I REALLY want to do. Oh, it may indeed be passionate, because I may REALLY want to do that.

To me, the most memorable and meaningful kisses are tied to an event. And a first kiss of a powerful relationship certainly qualifies. But for me, the memorable ones are memorable for other reasons than just the kiss itself. Our first kiss. That heartbreaking never-want-it-to-end kiss as the bagpipes played while we boarded our bird for deployment. (they really did, they played freakin' bagpipes) Last kiss with the summer girlfriend before school starts. A kiss while sharing a scenic view. It's more often than not the environment and situation which etches the kiss into my memory than the kiss itself.

Though, there was this one girl... our first kiss... she bit me! Right on my bottom lip! It was odd, and well, hilarious. And it was on a deserted wooded path that was a shortcut behind some neighborhoods. And I'll never, for a minute forget my "WTF was THAT!?" reaction. It was hot in an odd sort of way. ;)

Cassondra said...


See, what is the difference between the two? We all know it when we feel it. The creepy stalker stare is NOT the same as the "I want you" hottie stare.

Is it the chemistry between the two people that defines the difference?

Your stalker was just too pushy. If you wouldn't give him your phone number, he should have known better.

I know for CERTAIN that my young hottie, if I hadn't kept giving him sidelong glances, would have stared at me all night but never approached. He was interested, but not dangerous.

I'm guessing there are women who can't feel the difference between interested and dangerous, but for me, it hangs in the air when the guy is a creep. That's when you move over between the bass player and the drummer and say "that guy over there is creeping me out, don't leave me by myself." Of course, I was also capable of taking care of myself--even then at age 18, if he'd gotten too pushy I would have knocked the stuffing out of him, literally.

Nevertheless, I don't recognize the eyelid drop. Maybe it's because I've worked with too many men. I've worked in male-dominated fields my whole life, and I just sort of take them at their word. I'm kinda straightforward and honest and I expect them to be too.

Staring? Okay I get that. But that hooded-eye look? I'd be like--"are you okay? You look tired."

Hopeless, I know.

Cassondra said...

p226 said:

95% of the time a Kiss is just a necessary prelude to what I REALLY want to do. Oh, it may indeed be passionate, because I may REALLY want to do that.

Ah-HA! See! I KNEW IT!

It's not the same for a guy. That hottie was staring at me thinking, "I wonder how long it'll take me to get her clothes off..."


DownUnderGirl said...

Hmmm, never seen LOTM. Yes, realise its sacrilege around here. Anna - hire it for Saturday.

Oh there's a great first kiss in The Mirror Has Two Faces - Barbara Streisand and Jeff Bridges. In fact the whole coitus interruptus scene is fantastic. The tension has been buildng and building and there's this really awkward reluctancy from him at the start and then it just explodes and its amazing.

I too love the sexual tension in novels/movies/TV shows. If its good enough I dont even need the sex. I think that's why so many TV series go successfully for years as the viewers hang out for the sexual tension to break and for them to finally kiss. But its never the same after. Think Rachel and Ross on Friends. Shelley Long and Ted Danson in Cheers. Bruce Willis and Sybill Shepherd in Moonlighting. Dr McDreamy and whatshername in Grey's Anatomy.

I think it was Andrea who mentioned that its the very wonderful "anticipation" that is so often missing in long term relationships are missing. I agree with this. I think its the reason that people have affairs. Its not that they dont love their partners anymore but after the "heat" has faded from their marriage and after decades it does, they miss the "must have that person" imperative. The "slam them against a wall and do it like they do it on the discovery channel" thing that the beginnings of relationships have. I think kissing can go by the way side in a lot of long-term relationships and its such a shame because its such an intimate connection - even more so than sex I think (remember Julia Roberts didn't kiss clients on the mouth in Pretty Woman?)

Okay, not sure any of that made sense.


Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra -

I'm not sure about clubs, but I think all the hotel bars with dancefloors have a disco ball hidden up in the rafters - just waiting till the 'oldies band comes to play.

I love your blog as I met my husband at a bar. He did the look and I melted inside. I think it's more than the lower eyelids, there's something about the brows as well. Maybe something that speaks of vulnerability that lets the woman know this isn't a creepy stalker guy, that makes him approachable.

Anytime you want to hang out in a bar to further research this topic, give me a call. Not sure how much scientific analysis we'll gather, but we'll have a h*ll of a good time.

Cassondra said...

Downundergirl said:

I think kissing can go by the way side in a lot of long-term relationships and its such a shame because its such an intimate connection - even more so than sex I think (remember Julia Roberts didn't kiss clients on the mouth in Pretty Woman?)

Okay, not sure any of that made sense.

It makes PERFECT sense. And I think you've told the absolute truth. I think a kiss is, or can be, more intimate than sex. Maybe that's why some men prefer to go straight for sex and forget about the lead-in. It's the pre-sex stages that allow you to know someone--to see their vulnerabilities in a way that you don't get when you skip that.

Hmmmm.....Methinks downundergirl is our resident philosopher and therapist rolled into one.....;0)

Cassondra said...

Donna wrote:

Anytime you want to hang out in a bar to further research this topic, give me a call. Not sure how much scientific analysis we'll gather, but we'll have a h*ll of a good time.

You're on Donna. I'm there. All in the name of research of course--and it'll be tax-deductible!

Beth said...

Great topic, Cassondra! I have too many favorite fictional first kisses to choose from. I LOVE first kisses in TV shows, movies and books (sigh)

Especially when the anticipation is built up so well beforehand. I loved the kiss in Dear Frankie - great sexual tension - and when Jim kissed Pam in The Office (that show is too funny!)

I vividly remember the first time I kissed my husband. He was running the light show for a local band and I was sitting to the side while they set up. He looked over at me and our eyes met and ZING! *g* He kissed me later after our first dance. And now I'm lucky enough to get to kiss him whenever I want ;-)

Joan said...

Ok, Cassondra.....I live in Kentucky and I HOPE THAT GUY IS STILL HERE! I'm gonna go look for him.

Ok, I'm back :-)

Caren, I love your YMCA guy just for being so wonderful and saying something like that to you. How a comment like that would have changed me during my teenage, glass wearing awkward years. HE was a hero.

Anticipation is the key to the ultimate enjoyment of many events....waiting for a huge trip to Ireland (even if it's FOUR years away), the birth of a child, Christmas. The lottery.

My kiss history is, sadly, slim considering my cougar status. I find I'm still anticipating "that look", still waiting for "the one" but the key is....I still think it's out there.

Like Anna, my first French kiss was a disaster. The fellow kissed me at the door after a first date. It was ewwww and I just chalked it up to my own lack of experience and thought it was a standard "kiss gone bad."

It wasn't until the second date that I realized what he'd been trying to do...and in my estimation failed miserably. (His tongue was moving so fast it was like he was trying to start a fire...well, according to p226 he was...but it was with wet matches. Ugh)

My very, very first kiss happened in my back yard. My date had brought me home and under the back porch light kissed me. I was stunned but not as much as when I went inside and asked where my Daddy was....and he walked in from the backyard. Yup, he'd been out by the garage and SAW THE WHOLE THING!

Cassondra, if you write this wonderful while on Nyquil.

Good job, Bandita

Cassondra said...

Joan wrote:

I went inside and asked where my Daddy was....and he walked in from the backyard. Yup, he'd been out by the garage and SAW THE WHOLE THING!

OMGOMGOMG! What did he SAY? Anything? Was he mad? Did he threaten to kill your date? WHAT? Joanie T, you can't leave us hanging like that!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Whew, Cassondra! You got the whole group going with this one. I'm going to have to snap open the fan, a la Donna onstage at National! heehee. Caren, you crack me up about your Jimmy being a used car salesman. No non-self-respecting used car salesmen have dimples. Those are reserved for the pharmaceutical reps. Snork.
Doglady, you made me tear up too - and with no cold germs to pass on I definately went and kissed my handsome DH. Grins. Thanks for reminding me how precious he is.
Jo, I'm so with you on Daniel Day Lewis. I've not liked him much in any other film. But in LOTM? ::Sigh::
BTW, Cassondra, you SO have a gift for antici.....pation. Snork.
I had to laugh over the wet-fish kisses and the stalker stares. Lord if I had a nickle for everyone of those...and I wasn't even that experienced. As Anna said, so eloquently, BLECH!
There was that one guy though. He was a "look" guy - hot, animal-magnetism kind of stare; great body, excellent smile, dimples. Yum. And oh, yeah, he could flat out kiss. I thought the top of my head would come off, and some of my clothes too. Snork. As the gentleman caller to the Lair (P226)said, that was what he Really Wanted. But twas not to be, alas. Neither of us was drunk enough, nor did we live near one another. Grins. If we had...ah, well, that's a scene for another play, yes? Bwah-ha-ha!
Caren, I'm going to be thinking about that "you'll be a knockout when you're 30" line and praying my charming son doesn't learn it too soon. Ha!
Great topic Cassondra! Grins.

Joan said...

Truly, Cassondra I don't remember him saying anything in particular. I suspect my mother ran a bit of interference.

That or the fact my younger brother was in his face about why he'd kept me out so late.

You see...on top of his many other attributes....he suffered from night blindness. Couldn't see a damn thing in the dark which was why our date had been an "afternoon affair" (snicker).

The matinee ran late and by the time we finished dinner it was getting dusk. We lived across the county from each other and I felt sorry for the poor boy as he had to take me to HIS house for HIS parents to drive me home.

But he didn't feel too bad as while his parents were changing clothes he cornered me in the den. The other guy's tongue moved fast but "Chip's" hands moved faster. LOL

THEN, he wanted me to take a walk outside his house. I remember thinking "Why, he can't see?". Duh. Of course not, Joanie T....he was gonna FEEL his way. VBG.

What is it they say? Ya gotta laugh or cry.

Trish Milburn said...

Totally agree on the Last of the Mohicans kiss. Awesome! One of my all-time favorite movies. Kirsten, I've visited some of the filming sites for Last of the Mohicans at Chimney Rock Park. It's gorgeous there.

I also love the kiss between Will and Elizabeth amidst the shipboard battle scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

West Virginia coal mining towns have some good kissers Caren, I can attest to that ::grin::

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, I had a feeling that would get your attention. You have to come out when Cassondra and I pop over to WV to do research. ;-)

Kate Carlisle said...

OMG!! Somebody pass me Donna's fan, please? I'm having a moment!

Cassondra, sorry I'm late but I just needed to say -- you are brilliant! I felt that kiss down to my toes and, well, hmm. More, please?? You are a wonderful writer! Don't even think about stopping, ever. Wow.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. ;-)

I think it's all about those looks from across the room. When you look back, he's still looking. That's anticipation, whew. And that moment, that pause, then the kiss? Oh, my goodness. You nailed it. Where's that FAN???? LOL

Fave book kiss? There are so many but I still love Nora's Private Scandals, when Finn gets off the plane that almost crashed and he grabs Deanna and plants one on her, explains he was going to kiss the ground but she looked so much better. Then he grabs her story and takes over. LOL. He's still one of my fave heroes.

And thanks for the Daniel Day Lewis visual. That'll get me through the day!

Dianna Love Snell said...

Cassondra -

What a great post! I have to tell you the truth, my fate to eventually end up writing romance was probably sealed when one movie made a huge impression on me. It was the original Romeo and Juliet. I hadn't read Shakespeare at that point. He hooked me to the point I was hurt for a long time over the ending, but wow - Romeo and Juliet were so incredibly in love and willing to do anything to be together. The kiss was so passionte and innocent, a very strong mix.

Isn't it funny how you can tell immediately if there is any onscreen chemistry, particularly the first time two people kiss?

You are one rockin' writer.


Cassondra said...

Jeanne, I am SO upset that I missed Donna's "fan" moment--I've heard about it--but alas--only second hand. :0/

Trish, I hold my hand out for smitation--I haven't seen that POC film yet--I know I KNOW--I'll rectify that ASAP.

Oh, Kate, you're so sweet--thank you. I think I just need to record your voice telling me all these nice things, and use that for my alarm in the mornings. Positive reinforcement for the day...

Dianna--You sneaked in on me! Glad you could log on successfully (You guys, I told her she had to post today to make sure she could answer questions tomorrow)

Okay, I've send the check/payment for your compliments--it's in the mail...I promise....(grin)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Caren, just give me the word. I am pretty much a home/work body but I have been known to break out on occasion :-D