First Kisses


by Kate

It’s my absolute pleasure to be judging the First Kiss contest for the Romance Writers of Australia this year. I’ve written before about the importance and romance of that first kiss, but I thought we’d get a little personal this time.

Let’s talk ours.

In Canada, where I grew up, they have this great program called SEVEC. Essentially, it’s an intra-country exchange program. Canada is, after all, a big place, culturally and linguistically diverse. SEVEC takes young teenagers (12-16, I think) and pairs them up with a similarly aged teen in another province. Each plays host for a pre-agreed time, then each gets to play tourist. Technically, the program is open to all provinces, but the bulk of exchanges take place between an English speaking province and French speaking Quebec.

Mine did.

At the tender age of 13 and 1 day, I set off with my parents to meet my SEVEC ‘twin’, Melanie, who hailed from the North-West Quebec city of Rouyn-Noranda. I was a country girl, fresh off the farm. Melanie lived in the middle of the city. I couldn’t get off the farm without parental help. Melanie skipped off her front step onto a city bus, or around the corner to her friends’ houses. The freedom, it was heady.

The first week was a blur of not speaking English and barely understanding anything that was said to me. The first weekend – that was the weekend of summer camp.

All of Melanie’s friends, her little sister, and I packed off into the wilds* with about 40 other kids.

*where wilds has a value of a nearby campsite with a lake

There, late one night after campfire songs and s’mores, I played my very first game of spin the bottle. He was Stefan, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed local, with wavy hair and a crinkly grin. He was 18 months older, and had the casual confidence that seems ubiquitous in French  men. I’d been smitten from the beginning. Imagine my petrified delight when his bottle landed firmly pointed at me.

I had no experience whatsoever, so the approach was awkward. I don’t think I breathed from the minute the bottle stopped until the whole thing was over. I flushed bright red; heat rushed over my whole body. He came over to my side of the circle. There was a lot of left-right-left-right before he finally landed. No nose bump, but a bit of a mis-match in lips position.

It was perfect.

Sadly, however, Stefan and I were not meant to be. Probably because he had a huge crush on another Anglophone in our little group – Katherine who was visiting her grandmother for the summer. I was heartbroken when I caught them kissing (without any apparent lip-mis-match issues) on the swing set.

The magic, however, of those three seconds, have been unforgettable.

Alright – I’ve shared. It’s your turn. Go on – tell us your story!

And best of luck to the 2013 First Kiss Finalists. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for me.


One thought on “First Kisses

  1. Oh God, my first kiss was memorable, but not in a good way. It was a frightening experience in my young life.

    I was sixteen. I’d been to a local dance and this nice young guy took me home. He put his arms around my back and leaned in for a goodnight kiss. Waiting with breathless anticipation. He was quite tall. I tipped my head up, and softly pursed my lips. Eyes closed, he opened his mouth. I looked up horrified to see this dark hole advancing towards me. What was he planning? Before I could pull away, he planted his mouth over mine. My lips disappeared into a warm wet cave. I felt the wet ring from under my nose all the way around to my chin. In shock, I pulled back, pushed my hands against his chest, turned, and raced up the garden steps.
    I heard him call after me, “What’s wrong?”
    Once inside I dashed into the bathroom to wash my face.
    My older sister came in and asked, What’s with you?”

    I hope I can talk about the best kiss I’d ever had.

    My brother belonged to YHA and would often go on treks through the wilds of Victoria and Tasmania with fellow YHA guys. On his return, he would show us fabulous slides of his time hiking. There was one particular guy I thought was really hot, not that I told anyone.

    When he came up larger than life on the screen on slide night, I asked, “And who is that? What’s he like?” To make sure no one was on my page, I asked about all the others guys that went on these trips, though I wasn’t in the slightest bit interested.

    Months past and he was at our place for my sister’s going away party, she was off to Europe. He was still there at the end of the night, sitting on the couch talking to my sister, but his eyes never left me as I passed them to go to my room.

    I’d heard through my brother and a close friend of my sister, that he’d been interested in me for almost a year, but thought I was a little young. But he kept watching and waiting.

    One night he rang and asked to speak to me, not to my brother, to *me.* He asked if I’d like to go to a party with him. I said sure. I got off the phone and my hands were shaking.

    The following Saturday, I paid extra attention to my hair, make-up, and I had a new dress. He came up to the house and it was the first time I’d seen him in a suit. He had a couple of after school jobs while studying at Swinburne and drove a Morris Minor convertible with a cowhide dashboard. He couldn’t bring himself to take me out in that so he borrowed his dad’s car. We had a great time at the dance. Once at home, parked out front of the house, he pulled me into to his arms. He had great arms and broad shoulders from swimming. I’m not being cute but breaststroke was his favourite. His kiss was warm and gentle. He had a great mouth and I was lost in everything about him.
    Then he said the scariest thing.
    “Just for tonight, I love you.”
    And he still does.

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