I was in that grace period of a new school when people were still interested in getting to know the new girl, right before all the girls turn on you because all the guys are interested to see a fresh face, and they think you’re stealing their boyfriends. Sure, I would have liked a boyfriend, but I was too busy learning all the words to Life is a Highway for such things like that.
I had made a lovely friend who was genuine and caring. I used to go to her house and play Monopoly while watching Hale and Pace. We wrote letters to each other all the time, and passed them when we got to class each day. I had caught the eye of a certain young man with a false tooth, a lisp, and a ferret. I’d never had a boyfriend, and was beginning to think I never would (13 is rough, man). Not knowing what to do or how to say no or hell, anything, we embarked on being boyfriend and girlfriend although I was deeply suspicious of the ferret.
Word got round that I’d never been kissed, and it was decided that the deed would be done at the upcoming school dance. I was agonised and excited, and my lovely friend wrote me a letter every single day counting down to the big moment. I slept over at her place a few nights before and we discussed the finer points of lip-locking despite neither of us having any previous experience. We devised a course of action and then talk turned to what we would be wearing on the night.
Dance day dawned and I opened my letter. “Today’s the day!” was written in big words across the top and I felt a flutter of nervousness. I wondered if I’d make it through the day without dying. The whole school new what fate awaited me that evening, and I could barely eat my homebrand oriental-flavoured 2-minute noodles for lunch.
That afternoon I popped on some black tights with denim cutoff shorts over the top. I tucked in my white t-shirt (that had some kind of summery theme on the front, I can’t remember), and my mother’s black ankle boots. I was ready to party.
I’d never slow-danced before and I hoped I wasn’t going to be too much of a goose at it. It didn’t look too hard, but having my face that close to another human, a boy human, was blowing my tiny mind. What was I supposed to do? Did we talk? Was there actual dancing involved? Who knew.
We established ourselves in a slow dance fairly on in the evening, and stayed there for hours, not knowing what else to do. I wondered when the kiss would happen, and when Silk’s Freak Me passed by without incident, I wondered if it would ever eventuate. How does a 13-year-old boy listen to that and not mack the chick he’s dancing with? Turned out he was an absolute gentleman, and was very considerate of my feelings. He knew it was my first time and he was careful not to rush me or make me feel at all uncomfortable. I decided to forgive him for the ferret.
When it got to 10.50 and he still hadn’t kissed me, despite repeated urging from passing friends, I thought with only 10 minutes to go, tonight was not my night. Another friend came by and pushed our heads together, and seizing my moment, I kept my face pushed up against his long after the hand-pusher had retreated. Only I wasn’t doing anything, just smushing my face into his face. He took pity on me, gently said “here”, cupped my face in his hands, and kissed me. And until my mid-20s, it remained the best kiss I ever had.