My first kiss was in Kindergarten when Kristie Holstein kissed me once when our teacher was out of the room. It completely surprised and shocked me. Kristie and I did end up being "together" off-and-on through third grade.
Except that that story from Scott's past, told now and then, isn't really the truth. Because there is a story from preschool Sunday school class back in Miami, OK. I kissed a boy. And got in trouble. I was told that bad men did that and not to ever do that again. And it was a long, long time before I did. That's the story I should have been telling of my "first kiss" all these years.
In late elementary when classmates started "going together," it never worked out for me. In Junior High I couldn't get dates like other people did. Even in high school, I never dated, though I asked plenty of girls out.
As I got older and heard about all the pre-sexual and sexual encounters that straight and gay friends had when they were children or early adolescents, I was shocked. That just hadn't been a part of my world at all. I think things sexual were such a taboo in the world I grew up in, and I was a good kid who tried to live the way the adults in my life expected me to. I've said often that I think my sexual development was ten years behind other people's because of the influence of conservative Christianity in my upbringing. Those years in Junior High and High School I agonized daily over whether I was a Christian because I was having these thoughts and feelings that I was taught a Christian shouldn't have. If I got aroused, I felt guilty of mortal sin. Much less the confusion when my sexual fantasies were about guys. I kept thinking that maybe because I hadn't had any experiences with women that I was messed up and that once I had dated then I'd be okay.
I never was all that lucky with women. Between the ages of 19 and 29 I had only four genuine relationships. The second one lasted two weeks in 1996. The third lasted three months in 2000. And the fourth lasted four months in 2003. The first was the serious one. It lasted two and one half years while I was in college and included us getting engaged and then breaking up my senior year. In between these were various girls I went out with a few times but never considered girlfriends. Even that list I could count on one hand. I spent most of my twenties very, very lonely.
I had just not had a relationship of any kind before college and so much of that one was exploring being with someone else. Neither of us had ever dated anyone before, so the process of holding hands, kissing, etc. was very innocent and slow. We never did anything I'd even remotely consider sexual, even after we were engaged. But then we were good baptist kids!
What was this relationship about, then? Friendship, companionship, affection? I loved her. And still think that that was a genuine feeling. But I now know how different that feeling was from authentic, passionate, love.
We were sitting in his car outside his parents house in early March. "Now I know what everyone else has always been talking about all these years. This is so much more powerful than anything I've ever experienced. I thought I'd experienced passion before, but I hadn't. I thought I'd experienced love before, but I hadn't. I don't even recognize myself with you."
I meant that as a good thing. Any doubt, any confusion, any question I had quickly disappeared when John and I got together. Then all those years before seemed, in so many ways, wasted. Years that I could have been pursuing meaningful relationships that might have worked for me. What took so long?