‘Honestly, I’ve never really understood French kissing,’ Why was I born with the ability to speak? Who could have possibly thought I would make good use of this feature? It has led to nothing but embarrassment. ‘Like, you’re just shoving your tongues in each other’s mouths. It’s fucking gross, right?’
Two people stared at me in complete awe. Stock images that you would find if you searched ‘wait, what the fuck did you just say?’ on Google images.
Those expressions told me more than my 17 years of life had taught me. I had never even considered that I was doing something wrong, but in their wide, incredulous smiles I could see all of the mistakes I had ever made on display.
This was what it was like to stare into the abyss, and without a doubt, the abyss stared back.
It all started with Lane. In the forest where everybody fucks. Of course, I wasn’t trying to fuck her. My 15-year-old brain would have shut down from even the thought of possible copulation. But there was still something on the agenda. We had just gotten back from a drama field trip and I was feeling inadequate.
We had been visiting another school’s drama department, and on the bus to and from we were seated behind another couple. A man whose mouth I had tongued who went on to date my sister and a girl Lane dated both after and before me (in that order). Strange times.
This guy liked to show off. Push the boundaries. See what he could get away with. So, on this bus ride him and his girl are making out in bursts. Brief segments while the bus driver isn’t looking. Get in and get out. Like red light green light for sexually developing teenagers.
I kissed Lane, trying to prove that I too was a cool boyfriend. It didn’t have the same effect, but me and her had never done the tongue dance before. I couldn’t just nonchalantly start it up. I didn’t even know how.
So here we were, back from the field trip and down at the Fuck Forest. It was time. If I was ever stuck on the bus with those show boats again, I would be ready. I’d lay down the fucking law. Lane and I, we’d give them a real show.
We’re sitting in this forest, not talking at all, just looking up at the trees. I think she was chilling out. Maybe. I hope so, because I was (as per usual) a ball of stress. I try to convince myself that it’s all cool. I’ve got all the time in the world. We’re just hanging out. Just chilling. It’s all good. Why would sitting in a forest with your boyfriend in complete and utter silence be weird at all? So, I try and think about it procedurally.
What’s step one? Put your arm around her. I guess. Only issue is I had never done that either. But, say I manage it, what’s step two? Just go for it? Mush my mouth against hers and pit our tongues against each other like two angry garden snakes? That didn’t seem right.
How did they do it the movies? My mind was blank. They always looked like they were just free styling. Throwing ideas out there and seeing what stuck. Sometimes they just mashed lips, sometimes the girl would like, bite the guy or some shit. In the really spicy scenes they looked like they were straight up trying to eat each other and drawing back every second for air.
None of this helped. It didn’t give any insight on how to get started, and it completely muddled the rest of the process.
I had no choice. Go for broke! See what happens! It was one of those things that just comes to you, right?
Let it be known that when people say something just ‘comes to you’, they are completely full of shit. That has never happened with anything ever. Life isn’t a movie. If you ever hear someone say that line in, it is said only as a predecessor to disaster and shame.
My arm crept around her shoulder at a quarter of the speed any normal human might operate at. If I had been optimizing my time, I could have written this entire story in the century it took me to get it all the way around her. I paused. I wanted to back out, but I had passed the point of no return. Nothing I could do now stood the smallest chance of being more awkward than backing out.
Continuing a lifelong trend that I have maintained to this day, I was wrong.
Fwoosh! Zoom! Whirrrr!
It felt like the world was rushing past me, wind forcefully sweeping through my hair. In reality, my head was moving only marginally faster than my arm had been.
As my lips crept at a snail’s pace towards hers, I realized one problem. They were closed. Was there a way to readjust after a bad landing? I didn’t think so. If I didn’t make adjustments, and fast, this would just be a normal kiss! This was way too much build up for a normal kiss!
Sometimes, the only way out is through. There was no backing down. No fucking up. This was my only chance! If I screwed this up it would haunt me forever! I thought I was being dramatic at the time, but no. Messing this up would truly haunt me forever.
At the last moment, I deployed my tongue, slipping it out to lay on my bottom lip. And suddenly, it was on her bottom lip too.
Oh fuck! Oh no! Oh, come on! No!
This definitely wasn’t right. My tongue was pressed limply between our lips, both mouths closed. I opened my eyes. Hers had never shut. In those eyes I saw true, unadulterated disappointment. A feeling so strong I will never forget it. Each of her irises held a word, and when put together they clearly read;
I broke off, averting my gaze immediately. I couldn’t bear to look at her. I was ashamed of myself already, I didn’t need her expression to confirm my offence.
‘Sorry.’ I croaked, taken aback by just how weak my voice was.
‘It’s okay, it’s fine!’ She replied in tones so nauseously oversweet they must have been rotten. It was not fine.
‘Sorry.’ I repeated. Then I repeated it a few more times. Not much else to say, is there? Other than, you know, anything else at all. Laugh it off, get over it, try to dispel the tension somehow. Anything that’s not sitting in shame apologizing over and over and over again. Anything at all.
‘It’s cool!’ Translation; it’s not cool. ‘Stop apologizing!’
I was not capable of such a feat.
‘Calm down! Here, let’s try again. I’ll show you how it’s done.’
And right then and there, she taught me how to kiss.
Or so I thought.
In truth, what she taught me to do was an unholy ritual of what I assume to be Lovecraftian origins. You press your gaping mouths against each other and allow your tongues to duke it out ravenously in the no man’s land that has been made out (ha, get it?) of this combined space. Then, the two fleshy, moist tentacles writhe and push against each other wildly until finally the lips separate.
This obscure and unpleasant maneuver has come to be known as the ‘Torpedo Tongue’. I figured it was an acquired taste.
My apologies continued to spill forth endlessly as we walked back to school, neither of us knowing the damage she had done. Neither of us knowing that she was the one who should be apologizing.
As tends to happen, years pass. I get older, I get wiser (?), and yet I never learn anything new in this area. I get in my second relationship with Lane which only reinforces this habit. We break up again and I’m still clueless about the error of my ways.
Then I move away. Across the ocean to the great land of America, (did I mention most of this happened in Thailand?) but there are things you can’t escape. They’ve already made their mark on you, and they’ll follow you anywhere you go. So, this followed me across the sea. Through a year in Colorado it sat on my shoulder, waiting patiently for its time to strike. Lucky me, I have as much success with women as a dead gay man, so it didn’t come up.
After a year, I go back to Thailand to see my friends graduate. You guessed it, it follows me back across the ocean.
Here I am, drunk. Moreover, everyone’s drunk except for a certain blonde friend of mine who isn’t there because I’ve been told his mother reads this blog.
We’ve spent the whole night drinking in a friend’s hotel and it’s getting on to the part where everybody passes out. Some people are on the couch in the living room, and some people are in the bedroom having what they called a ‘cuddle puddle’. From my understanding, this was when everyone, guys and girls alike, just laid down in a big dog pile and spooned each other and shit.
As a brief aside, what the fuck? I was gone for a year and missed a few things with these people, but what the hell happened when I was gone? I have heard one man in this group described by multiple people as ‘violently straight’. Now he’s spooning dudes! Times are a’ changing, let me tell you…
Anyways, this cuddle puddle is but a shadow of a full-scale cuddle puddle as it only has 3 people and we’re all lying on separate parts of this bed. Felt like a rip off if I’m being honest. So, I reach over to one of the two other members of this puddle. Poor, unsuspecting Forest Fucker. I get as close and personal with her ear as possible. She’s half asleep, and I’m right above her breathing into her ear hole.
Leaning into her ear, in the gravelliest, Batman with tuberculosis-iest, unsettling-iest voice I can possibly manage, I whisper;
‘Hey, want to make out?’
‘Holy shit, Sam!’ She jolts like she’s just been struck by lightning. Somewhere in my head, I can understand that what I just did was unsettling. I decide I’m not too bothered by it.
There’s a moment of silence, and then, god bless drunk chicks, she says with a sigh;
And I’m thinking I’ve struck gold. I’ve only gone past regular kissing with one woman and that was Lane. I was ready to advance in the world. Time to take the next step!
So, she shifts her head up towards mine tenderly, and I… Well, I go ahead and
My tongue into this unsuspecting woman’s mouth, mashing it against hers like this was a Title Match. She didn’t reciprocate. Maybe I was too good? My tongue was Mike Tyson and hers was some unranked schmuck who thinks he can box.
She withdraws within a few seconds. This is an affront! I have been gypped! I’ve never heard a story about making out where the event clocked in at anything less than 30 seconds. I’d never made it past 5! What the fuck was this shit, though?
Poor Forest Fucker…
And that brings us back to the beginning. To looking at two of my friends who had more experience with this shit every day than I had in my entire life. To asking them possibly the dumbest question I’ve ever asked. And to them laughing at me for the rest of the day (week), and this story making its way to the rest of my friends who reacted about as kindly.
It’s not all bad, though. I’ve kissed a girl since the events in this story. Sure, she pushed me off and said ‘So, you haven’t done this much, have you?’. Sure, that was the last time I saw her, but you know. It could be worse… And knowing me, it’ll probably get worse.
At the very least, in this fringe scenario my non-existent romantic life saved god knows how many women from being on the receiving end of the much reviled ‘Torpedo Tongue’.
And I still wasn’t the last person in my friend group to learn how to kiss. I don’t think anybody has told Lane, yet. I wonder who will.