It started with a kiss

Pucker up, folks, close your eyes and move in for that smooch!

Today, we are snogging, necking, ‘pashing’ or just plain kissing. Whether it’s your first ever time or you’ve done it hundreds of times before, your first premeditated kiss with someone is a daunting prospect. I am not talking about a random drunken snog at a nightclub or office party, when you don’t think about what you are doing and all inhibitions evaporated hours ago. This is more about being on a first or second date, when you realise you quite fancy one another, but have not yet found the right moment to make a move. Or you could have a friendship which is about to turn a different corner. Most of us have had someone in our lives with whom we fantasise about locking lips, whether it actually happens or not.

In fact the premeditated kiss is so much harder than the random snog. If it’s someone that matters, you are desperate to get it right, just as much as you would be desperate for things to work out in the bedroom; in fact you are highly likely to get a forecast of bonk-skills from the way their lips work with yours – although I for one can tell you that good kissers don’t always make good bonkers. And bad kissers? I would never let it go any further, so can’t say if this works in reverse.

So, to help anyone else over-thinking a first kiss with someone,  I’ve devised 14 top tips:

  1. Lose the chewing gum – gum-passing is for 14-year-olds, and even some of them will be grossed-out by it.
  2. Don’t eat garlic from at least 48 hours beforehand, unless you have both had it which can enable you to develop garlic repulsion immunity.
  3. Check your breath – go overboard brushing teeth, sucking mints, chewing gum (but see point 1). You have to be fresher than a polar ice cap.
  4. Don’t grab boobs or butt, unless you are 100% certain this will be welcomed.
  5. Don’t ram in your tongue on a first kiss. A small tip of the tongue would be acceptable if you’ve been going at it for more than four minutes.
  6. Move in for the extreme close-up moment as slowly as you can to give the other time to change their mind or avoid the unsynchronised head dodge game i.e. you lunge left, she lunges right, one of you head butts the wall and no one gets a kiss.
  7. Don’t make ‘mmm’ noises – you’re not eating a steak or ice cream and it will kill any ‘buzz’ in a flash.
  8. Try to control your saliva flow (gulping if necessary) – ending a kiss dripping with spit is up there with gum-sharing – something you out-grow at 15 and if she wanted a drink, she’d get one in the usual way.
  9. Don’t bite – at least not for the first kiss – it will just scare off your ‘kissee’.
  10. Don’t wear heavy or over-vibrant lipstick – it is intimidating to your kisser and screams ‘don’t touch me, I don’t want my precious make up ruined’ and most don’t want to wear your lippy themselves (although some may).
  11. If you feel a burp brewing, swallow it back or end the kiss, if it’s beyond your control – having someone belch in one’s mouth is a no-no.
  12. Eyes closed, eyes open? A chicken and egg kind of question. I would say, play it safe and close eyes, but after 30 seconds, you could discreetly peek through one eye to check what he/she is doing.
  13. Slow, soft, gentle, tingly, light-headed – all the things you want to feel, but you can only find out by actually doing it, going with the flow and not over-thinking it (apart from noting the above).
  14. If you are taking this step with someone you want to impress, good luck and remember they will be worrying just as much as you. If you both end up butting heads or missing target, just laugh about it.

Fear of diving

She had sparkling brown eyes, a wide and bright smile and olive skin. I never read anything into the fact that her eyes and smile always lingered on me for a few seconds longer. I just smiled back.

I had enrolled on a year-long postgraduate course and met Colette on the first day. It turned out that we used the same bus, so we started travelling to and from college together with her flat mate, Mandy. We would chat about our previous lives before the course and her time living in Japan.

I had no idea about her personal life or her sexuality. It just never came up, as we barely knew each other and she never enquired into my affairs.

The turning point was a big night out we had arranged with the rest of the course. Colette seemed very animated and excited about this for someone who had claimed she preferred a night in front of the telly. But, I just assumed she was looking forward to letting her hair down after a busy few weeks.

On the night a big group of us went round a few bars and predictably finished up in a club. Colette, wearing her trademark black t-shirt, pin-striped blazer and smart jeans had chatted and giggled with me all evening. I did notice that Mandy had left us to it rather a lot, but just assumed she was mingling with everyone else.

As we shared a taxi home, Colette suggested I stayed at theirs which would be cheaper than the extra 20 minute journey it would take to get to my house. I accepted without any thought, tipsy, tired and open to most suggestions by this point.

Back at her house she made us both fish finger sandwiches and showed me to her room. I just meekly followed, gratefully accepting the set of tartan pyjamas she offered me. She had a co-ordinating set on herself in a green shade while mine were blue. We climbed into her bed and settled down for the night.

I just thought ‘Well, this is nice and clean and organised – much better than crashing out on the sofa in a puddle of sweat and drool.’

After a deep sleep I rolled over to see her sparkly brown eyes watching me. She extended an arm and pulled me into a cuddle. Everything smelt clean and fresh, like we were in an interactive washing powder advert. Colette looked flawless, her makeup-free skin meant she would never be one to wake up with panda eye smudges or crusty foundation tide marks.

I cuddled her back, as it felt warm and comforting. Then, as we unfurled, she stroked my hair and slowly, moved closer to my face. I wasn’t even thinking about where she was heading. As her lips touched mine I felt their softness and smelt the clean linen smell again. I put my arm around her and kissed her back.  It felt warm and gentle but delicate and soft at the same time.

I closed my eyes and got lost in the moment, running my fingers up and down her back, feeling her warmth and soft body against me.

When I came round I started thinking about the rest of the day, what I had to do and getting home. I hastily got back into my own clothes and hurried off for a bus. She said something about going for a drink, but I just told her I would see her on Monday. I didn’t even stop to think about how she was feeling.

But on the way home, I thought about what had just happened. I had never kissed another woman before but I actually liked it. But then again, I loved sex with men, their smell, their sweat, their stubble, their hairy bodies, their strong arms and particularly their penises.  Could I live without penises, I thought. Absolutely not.

But I liked kissing Colette. And Colette liked me. And it was evident that Mandy had been aware of this for a long time, which was confirmed on the bus ride to college on Monday. She had the smug look of someone who had brought two people together in the vein of a dating TV show presenter. “So, how are you two today?” She asked, simpering.

I felt a little nauseous, not just at Mandy’s simpering, but at the thought that everyone would now assume I was gay, which would ruin my chances of ensnaring my real object of desire at college – a sexy, beautiful younger guy called Jamie, with whom I had been flirting for weeks. Things were just starting to look promising at this point, so him finding out that Colette and I had exchanged saliva would kill this stone dead.

A week or two passed and, while Colette still smiled and chatted with me, she didn’t push things, so I was happy for everything to be in limbo. Then someone had the bright idea of another big night out.

I decided this was my chance to go ‘hell for leather’ hetero and wore my best cleavage top.

Jamie wasn’t there. What was I going to do? I downed alcopops like they were going out of fashion – they were very ‘in’ fashion in the late 1990s, where we found ourselves at this point.

A ginger-haired chap called Ian was being more chatty than usual with me. I had always dismissed him as rather quiet and dull, but ‘hey-ho,’ I thought, ‘Maybe this is my big chance’ So, I became very attentive towards his ramblings, half of which were inaudible due to the loud music. As I had hoped he paused, looked into my eyes and leaned in to kiss me. I had checked first and yes, Colette was standing in a position where she could see us.

Ian got a bigger, more passionate snog than he had probably bargained for. And Colette got an eyeful. But, even in my inebriated state, I could not bring myself to turn around and look at her. I knew I had stooped very low. Ian and I left together not long afterwards. I spent the night at his house, but we didn’t have sex and both knew this wasn’t going to be a big romance.

Colette and I didn’t speak for several days, but when we did, I felt as guilty as I deserved to be. I apologised several times, knowing I had crushed her and our friendship was never the same afterwards.




The Italian job

Fabio came and went. There was little remarkable in the whole episode. It was over before it had started.

But his passing through did mark one thing – the start of my Italian phase. As Picasso went through his Cubist period, his blue period and African period, so I went through different ‘periods’. There was the ‘snogging people you don’t really fancy, but, what the hey, it’s still a snog’ period; the ‘long-haired or dreadlocked – whatever, just different hair’ period; the ‘desperately in love but sadly rejected’ period; the ‘oh I must find someone with commitment’ phase and the ‘series of really bad fuck-ups’ period. And this is just to name a few. I could give Picasso a run for his money, unless it came to producing amazing and priceless paintings. On that score I would have to hand him all my brushes and canvasses.

So, Fabio was the first of three. I met him in a night club in Camden when I was staying with a friend. It was the late 1990s; we were young, free and up for fun but had reached the point in life where we had seen it all, in terms of the nonsense men use to ‘pull’ at such venues. We were drinking, dancing and having a reasonably good night, but it had been slightly marred by a procession of creeps who had tried to either grope or proposition us.

I had also noticed a group of dark-haired, olive-skinned guys standing in the corner of the dance floor. They stood out as they were all well turned out and quite handsome (a cliché, I know, but true).

The shorter one of the group, with shoulder length dark hair and a leather jacket was staring at me, then he came over. I looked behind me to check he wasn’t approaching someone else. But no, it was me.

“My name is Fabio. I am from Italy. Please may I dance with you,” He said in a thick Italian accent. After all the earlier creeps, I was taken aback by his politeness and unassuming approach. How could I refuse?

We did the awkward dance where neither of you wants to look ridiculous when you are trying to be cool, sophisticated and fanciable. You both move stiffly and try to hold a neutral facial expression – letting yourself go could produce an ugly gurning face, while smiling may look like you are laughing at the other person and being too serious could look like you are in muscle spasm or hating every minute.

We attempted conversation, but the combination of loud music and his limited English made that a big challenge. So, he leaned in for a kiss and I obliged. He had soft lips and smelt really good – a pleasant but not overpowering after shave.

It was the typical nightclub pick up scenario and the fact that I was only in London for a couple of days meant I didn’t expect to see him again. There was also no chance of ‘going further’ than a snog as I was staying with my friend’s parents.

Fabio got my number but I didn’t expect to hear from him.

Then, a day after I got back to my flat, my phone rang. “’ello. I am Fabio,” said the voice on the other end. “When I see you?”

He was so cute, so sweet, polite and I loved the way he spoke. So, I did a rash thing.
I bought a train ticket to go all the way back to London for a day to meet a virtual stranger, who had a casual job in a restaurant kitchen and lived in a shared house with five other Italian guys.

“What the Hell,” I thought. “You only live once. Maybe I can move to Italy one day.”
He was just as handsome, but seemed shorter this time – about the same height as me and had a strange tuft of facial hair just below his bottom lip (a soul patch?). I just wanted to pat him on the head and squeeze his bottom, but restrained myself.
We went back to his house and he introduced me to various people – Luigi, Mario, Alonso and co. Then we headed to his room and he pulled me on to his bed. We rolled around and kissed before he nudged me in the direction of his throbbing erection. I dutifully unzipped and extracted it. He proved the point that a person’s height is certainly not proportionate to the size of their member.

His rather substantial member enjoyed some sucking and licking and rubbing as he moaned and said words I didn’t understand. But as I climbed on top of him so we could both share the fun, mini Fabio deflated.  He was apologetic, but at this point someone knocked on the door and we quickly adjusted ourselves, game over for now.

After going out for a coffee there was little time before my train home, so no chance of a rematch.

I again assumed this was the end of our encounter, but was proven wrong a second time. He rang me to arrange to come for a visit. Intrigued, I accepted.
He stayed for a couple of nights. I took him to a few tourist attractions, out for meals and drinks. We tried to talk a little, but conversation was limited.

The first night we tried to pick up from where we left off in his bedroom. Mini Fabio was a little perkier this time, so I was able to climb aboard as he sat on my sofa. We shagged furiously and Fabio reached his peak, shot his load and I got off, but there was little in it for me. I dismissed this as him being tired from his train journey, but each time it was the same. I was expected to ‘get him up’, deliver a ‘blowie’ or “you go down” as he put it, but he did not go near my area with his fingers or mouth.

He looked me up and down on one occasion, as I got us both a drink and said: “You a beet fat. Not too fat, but a beet. But no lose weight. If you lose weight you will lose these,” and he gestured at my boobs. “And I like-a these.”

That once and for all flicked off the switch – the one in my head that had stayed on in hope that things may develop between us. Us ladies are sensitive about these things. It is alright for us to call ourselves fat, but if anyone else says it, we are deeply hurt.
So, I was glad to see him leave. He did cook a nice meal one night (carbonara, I recall), but that was where his usefulness ended.

He tried to ring me a few times, but I screened my calls and never picked up. We lived too far apart for it to be worthwhile, my attraction to him had faded and clearly I was too ‘fat’ so I wasn’t even sure why he was still ringing me.

So, Fabio was the first. Then there was a second, shall we say, much longer term relationship. And the third was Benito, a UK-born Italian, who like Fabio was my height. Benito was excitable, funny, moody, fussy and fun – very similar to Fabio, but without the language barriers. He also had the best, most pert and grab-able bottom I have ever seen on a man to this day. I absolutely fancied him, and could have stared into his big brown eyes, framed by long black eyelashes, for hours.

But he had only agreed to go out with me after I sent him a series of emails after finding his contact details through mutual friends. Some may call that a form of stalking. I call it resourceful.

At least he gave me a shot. We had some long, heart-thumping kisses so I could enjoy his perfectly formed lips. But aside from him inserting two fingers inside me once, there was no physical interaction whatsoever. Clearly I was not as gorgeous and sexy to him as he was to me. But there are always going to be defeats. I am no Angelina Jolie, so am never going to ensnare all I seek to trap.

And there ended my Italian phase. Since then, there has been no common link between any of my ‘men friends’, but I am still holding out for a Scandinavian Thor-like period – a procession of tall, fair haired blue-eyed hunks – and maybe even a dishy, twinkly parade of Irish men next. The trouble is that I may be pushing a Zimmer frame before these chaps make an appearance.

*I hope this post doesn’t cause any offence to Italian male readers. It is only taken from my very limited experience.