Nope, it wasn’t. Not even close. It was a hot summer night and I was dumb enough to wear a sweater.
“He was tall, dark, and handsome…”
Ummmm, no. More like a short, chubby, Jewish guy.
“The earth moved beneath me…”
Wish I could say so, but no, that didn’t happen either.
It was around 7th or 8th grade. We had just moved to Connecticut and I was learning the ropes in my new middle school social circle. Meaning, I had to have alligator shirts and topsiders if I wanted to fit in with the “in” crowd. Not to mention Dean’s sweaters and angora, which I was horrendously allergic too. Connecticut in the late 70’s was preppyville and I was the new girl in town. I had my work cut out for me.
Despite my fashion faux pas I managed to make a few friends. A school dance was coming up and my new posse of preppy girlfriends wanted to fix me up with a boy. His name was Mark* and he went to a private school so I had no idea who he was. That really didn’t matter back then. If you have no other prospects with boys (which I didn’t) you take what your girlfriends throw your way and thank your lucky stars that they’re willing to send you their cast offs.
Alas, the night of the dance arrived. I was in my new topsiders and my prettiest, fluffiest pink angora sweater. My sweater was super tight and slutty looking, which was fine by me. I could barely breath in it, but that was partially due to the fact that the angora hair was getting in my eyes and nostrils making me sneeze. No matter. Fashion has always been a painful experience for women and we just learn to live with it.
The dance was held at the school gym, complete with bleachers on the sidelines. I was promptly introduced to Mark and abandoned by my girlfriends while they went off to make out with their taller, hotter dates. I may as well have been left in a mine field. I had no idea what to say to a boy, much less do with him.
Mark, thankfully, had a clue. He promptly asked me if I wanted to go out. Oh. My. God. He asked me out. Now in the late 70’s in Connecticut when a guy asks you out that doesn’t mean he’s actually going to take you “out” anywhere. It’s secret code for “do you want to go steady” or “will you be my girlfriend.” I knew that code phrase. And I promptly said yes (it wasn’t like anyone else was asking, so why not?) So now I’m in the gymnasium sitting on the bleachers with my new boyfriend. The fact that I had no idea what his last name was made absolutely no difference. I was “going out” with someone. My social status just went up at least 3 notches.
And then he did it. He tried to kiss me. I’m not talking peck on the cheek. He was on a mission to give me my first French kiss. A terrifying thought for me, because I knew what is actually supposed to happen with our mouths, but couldn’t imagine actually doing it.
But I’ve left out an important piece of information…
I had braces. Full fledged 70’s metal mouth ugly braces. And so did Mark.
Before I knew what had happened we were locked together. Not in a Harlequin romance knee knocking lover’s kiss, but a full fledged welded wire lip lock. We were stuck. I was trapped. I couldn’t get loose if I tried and I was losing air. “Just breathe through your nostrils,” I kept telling myself, but air was having a hard time getting through all that angora hair stuck in my nose.
I was going to die. There was no way around it, my first kiss was going to kill me.
Somehow I broke free and survived. The dance ended and I had survived my first kiss. I “went out” with Mark all summer. Which means we were “going out” and he was my boyfriend, but I never actually saw him again until the fall. He politely asked me then if I wanted to break up. I agreed, and we never saw each other again. Years later I actually found out his last name.
*=last name withheld to protect the guilty and hinder any potential lawsuits in the future.
On the bright side, I stuck with it, swore off angora, and got better with practice. Now the men look scared and children run…
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