Love Labor's Lost

volumes of mis-adventures

Valentine’s Day: Just Another Day.

It is inevitably that time of year. The, now, Hallmark holiday of old has come back for another round of mushy gushy red, pink and white doilies. I’ve never really had a problem with Valentine’s Day. I’ve also not had the privilege of having a “valentine” per se, but the idea of having a day dedicated to the celebration of cupid, love, and kisses, well, why not! And, I’m sure, Saint Valentine deserves a shout out as well.  We all need love in our lives.

The Blues Brothers know what it’s all about!

A particularly intrinsic aspect of this amorous holiday, a quintessential moment in fact, would, presumably, be the kiss; lots of them. So, in jubilation of this ascendancy, let’s delve into that beautiful world when, to quote the love master himself, “lips do what hands do.”

**As a tangent: Romeo totally had it right, but then he went and killed himself. What. An. Idiot. Go see Gnomeo and Juliet for a fabled rendition of literary passion (of my fav. renaissance writer) and cuteness in gnome form!!

If that’s not Valentine’s Day love, I don’t know what is.

 The kisses in a movie are usually too contrived and perfect to be acceptable anywhere other than on the silver screen. I mean, if my first kiss was as great as Kat and Patrick’s…this blog wouldn’t exist, now would it?

10 Things I Hate About You, another Shakespeare inspired tale.

Let’s talk about kissing, baby!  First, last, passionate, sloppy, and indifferent. We have all had different experiences with different people and similarly, the kissing is always an adventure. I, for one, still don’t understand the secret.

There are plenty of kissing scenes in the world, both good and bad, and really you can take your pick, but rarely do movie producers and directors strive for bad kisses. Everyone wants to see the emotional and sexual tensions that make the moment of connection so..well, real. The thing is, that in (and I can really only speak for myself) REAL life, the good, the bad, and the in between are sometimes out of your control. As my valentine’s gift to you, I thought I would share the fruits of my proverbial kissing tree, or at least entertain you with all the follies.   image

Disclaimer: Always practice safe breath!

My FIRST—the unfortunately unforgettable moment—Kiss:

It really did go, “a little like this.” Maybe less twist…

Way back in the day, I mean, we are going back ages here, in the fall of 2008! The naiveté that characterized my innocence is completely to blame for having THE first kiss with a guy I will never see again.  He was older (26). In town on business. More attractive than most guys in Iowa. Seemingly intelligent, and, had killer blue eyes that trapped me. I made the mistake of inviting him over to my apt after hours, not realizing that he had been out drinking. A drunk, and yet relatively coherent, Zachariah pranced into my apartment. As I was babbling about something we had been talking about earlier that day, he grabbed me by the small of my back and with a gentle tilt kissed me as if he were planning it all along. I never heard from him after that weekend. And, let’s just say it was nothing like the foot popping kiss I had imagined in the lala landscape of my mind.

Now that’s just, A-Dorable.

The Forceful—contrary to popular belief I do have nerve endings—Kiss: No one wants to be attacked especially on a first kiss, but that’s exactly what it felt like. A bull charging at my face, harsh and unforgiving, ramming his lips against mine and flattening my nose as if his was a steam roller. The attack was unbearable, and all I wanted to shout was “Relax, my face is a stationary object, it’s not going anywhere, no reason to charge!” Word to the wise: a gentle kiss is a good kiss.

The Sloppy—I  was a dentist in another life and your tonsils fascinate me—Kiss: A person can’t be good at everything right? That seems to be the colloquialism that people tell themselves, or others, in order to diffuse a moment of confusion into normality. It stands to reason, that if everything is going well, it’s only a matter of time before something burns. It began with a scene picked out of the Zagat under “most picturesque and romantic dinner spots.” Short of being on Ocean Beach itself, this cute Mediterranean restaurant in the Inner Sunset, emblazoned with twinkle lights, an outdoor seating area with heating lamps for comfort, complete with flowers, and a scented candle illuminating every perfectly set table. It took my breath away just peering into a scene out of a fairytale, and then we sat down and dreams and reality collided. As we settled down to look at the menu, he pulled out a CD and said, “I made this for you. Just a few tunes I think you might enjoy after our last conversation.” A mixed tape of the 21st century, who would have thought? This great date moved from dinner to the movies where as cute dates go, we, naturally, saw Where the Wild Things Are. After the movie we drifted to a cute bar/lounge, where yet again, if he hadn’t planned this all, he got extremely lucky. The Lone Palm was, as the theme of the evening went, adorned with white table clothed tables and comfortable seating, each dazzling with a candle, flickering to set the perfect romantic mood. We took a seat by the window and talked for hours, until the owner came over and said, “Sorry kids, we’re closing up here.” This date was epic, and that’s an understatement. For a random kid, I met in San Francisco, he was not at all what I may have expected, and suffice it to say, that I was pretty happy with the night’s flawless execution. As he walked me back to my apartment in the Mission, he went in for the kill, but instead of killing it, I endured a slow and somewhat torturous process. (I like this guy, so to be fair he could have been nervous, or the drinks at the bar could have been stronger than usual, I really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but,,.) When my eyes had flickered shut to seal a lovely evening, Zeus himself struck me with a lightning rod of tongue, saliva and uncontrollable discomfort. My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. It was as if he were trying to inspect my tonsils for something; a more thorough job than any doctor of mine has ever done. My mouth was overwhelmed with, what I assume, he thought was, pleasantries, while my brain kept uttering, “toothbrush, breath mint, tongue scrubber!!” As his tongue slushed around from side to side, I believe a gag reflex was about to activate, when I was finally able to pull back, kiss him on the cheek and say, good night. Such a great night, right? Well, he couldn’t be great at everything, could he? Answer: apparently, unfortunately, not.  On the upside, months later I was back in the Bay area for a cousin’s wedding. Suffice it to say, maybe we were less drunk, maybe we were more careful, but I’ve never felt a sweeter more passionate moment with a person. His kissing was memorable, and lovable. If I ever lived on the west coast, J would be the guy for me.

The Oops—I missed it by “that” much—Kiss: It was our third date, and I was beginning to question whether or not we were ever going to kiss. As dates go this one was on the creative side of the scale. He built an old school fort out of his couch and bed mattress. With sheets hanging from the ceiling like a modern day harem and little Christmas lights all around. We watched Duck Soup, chatted for hours, joking and kidding each other, ignoring the reality of two 23 year olds acting like 7 year olds. It was a childishly clever evening.  He drove me home, as he always did, pulling up to my house, we wrapped up our conversation, I thanked him for a nice night, and went to hug him. While retreating from our embrace, he took a bold step and went to kiss me. He seemed to be enamored with my nose, as he gently pecked it good night. He quickly, and innocently said, “Oops, I missed.” I looked up at him and retorted with a smile, “Yea…you did.” That was our first kiss, technically. Technically it malfunctioned, but I guess my nose was pretty content that night, so should I really complain?  

Just THAT much.

The Bearded—icky—Kiss: There is a reason why I don’t generally find full beards attractive. They are scruffy, fuzzy, and seemingly unkempt. On a fourth of July weekend of my past, after fireworks in the sky, I attempted some fireworks of my own with a Chemistry Ph.D student, who fashioned a beard that was meant to prove an air of excellence. That night altered my mind forever: bearded men? No, thank you. While the kiss itself wasn’t bad, the spiky facial hair scratched my smooth porcelain skin in an irritating manner. I imagine it’s akin to taking a porcupine and using him as a facial washing cloth. In the morning when I woke, I couldn’t get the feeling out of my mouth that I had swallowed a hair. I drank tons of water, brushed my teeth three times, gurgled to no end, and yet a sustaining and disconcerting feeling of icky remained. It may have easily been my conscience telling me not to kiss men with beards…EVER.

The Stop—Oh, I thought you were attacking me—Kiss: I wouldn’t describe myself as a forceful or aggressive individual in the slightest bit. In fact, I’m quite the passive aggressive type when it comes to most aspects of my life. One evening, unbeknownst to me, I had a new found courage, and as I leaned in to kissed my guy, he backed away. REJECTED! He quickly spat, “Oh, crap, sorry! I thought you were attacking me.” While I was not, in fact, trying to attack him, at that moment I had a strong urge to make a dark red imprint on the side of his head with the interior of my palm. Lesson learned: never be the first to kiss someone, you come off like an aggressive ninja.

And, finally, The Perfect—if perfect could be pluralized it would be—Kiss:   Imagine a sunset, the sky lit up with an auspicious orb of the setting sun. The atmosphere uplifted in jubilation of pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, purple, and a speck of blue for clarity, you are, indeed, still looking at the sky. As the sun sets and you sit on a cliff overlooking a serene body of water, a warm breeze grazes your body. Your eyes close and you breathe in the scent of pure bliss, perfumed with a mix of sweetness and pungent gratitude for something so naturally unbelievable and yet a sensation that every part of you helps initiate, and continues to linger long after its end. The perfect kiss begins with this compilation of images morphed into a feeling unlike any other.   A warm sensation on your skin as if you are sitting by a campfire. The uncontrollable urge of delight in your stomach, reminiscent of childhood butterflies. The tender touch of another’s arms around you. He was strong, he was unforgettable, he was gentle. I felt lost in the moment, and found at the same time. The kiss was sensual, and passionate; like the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful evening radiating with meanings of love, hope, and spirituality; a mirror of the twinkling starlight above it. My perfect kiss still gives me chills and tingles every time I think about it.

Every kiss is different. Every person is different. But, most importantly, I think, a good kiss begins with a connection. An old fashioned, “I like this person for who they are” type of connection. Without that, even a mediocre kiss is out of the question. When you find the person who thinks as much of you, as you think of them, hold on for dear life, because that kiss will be magical every time, I guarantee it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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