First kisses are memorable in some instances and not at all. The first time you kiss somebody you love you think you'll remember it forever. The taste, the smells, the moment - seared into your memory to be recalled, remembered and cherished.
Until you fall in love again.
And then THAT is the one that you think you're going to remember forever.
But in truth, the only first kisses I recall are those that were, for one reason or another, excruciatingly awkward.
Kiss 1: The first time I kissed a boy I had a crush on.
Angelic. Solid of limb, blue of eye, blonde of hair, uniformed. The kind of Aryan specimen a mad Austrian revered more than any other. I liked him because he was funny, and seemed nicer than the average 14 year old male and I thought back then I liked blonde haired boys. He seemed to like my 12 year old, bespectacled, brunette, freckledness enough to snog at a party one exciting evening and went to it with all the finesse of, well, a 14 year old boy.
I'd seen Dirty Dancing, I knew the gist of it, but I'd only ever had chaste, close mouthed kisses and close body hugs at school dances and in the shadows of parties where older teens went about their 'french kissing' with the ease and abandon of young drunk people. Which they were. So as he thrust his thick, slobbery tongue into my mouth and swirled it around as if trying get the last of the ice-cream out of a cone, I swallowed my revulsion and 'did kissing'.
We remained in this tortuous embrace for what seemed like a lifetime before separating and him announcing that 'I kissed like a fish' and re-shoving his tongue down my throat. All hot eyed and embarrassed, I mentally resolved to spend more time practising on my hand and to talk to my bestie about 'my technique', before shoving him off and pretending my parents had arrived to collect me.
He went on to snog the 15 year old with the curly hair who could blow smoke rings before I'd even left the room, so I suspect it wasn't my heavily rehearsed, sparkling wit that led him to kiss me.
Kiss 2: The first time I kissed a girl.
In my 20s I was doing volunteer work a couple of evenings a week with a hospital up in Brisbane, the kind which enables you to be all cheery to small people living with chronic or terminal illnesses and ensured that there were a number of social activities with the other volunteers to make you feel as supported as possible.
I went on a weekend away to the mountains with this group of people who were huge amounts of fun. I'd become very friendly with a few of them during my training, and I was looking forward to getting to know them better. They were a mixed bag of genders, ethnicity and sexuality but that bothered me then about as much as it bothers me now. Not at all.
We'd had a great afternoon pottering about going for walks and building a huge campfire. We sat around drinking cheap wine, eating overcooked sausages and near melted marshmellows while we talked the crap that can only be talked at campfires and shared the kind of stories some of us only share with near strangers.
Some guy could play the guitar and as we got slowly drunker and subsequently more talented and hilarious, we sang through his entire repertoire of self taught tunes and tried to outdo each other with our sketchy knowledge of constellations and bush based horror stories.
I realised that I was at that point where sleep was my only option and so hauled myself and, at her request, the girl from the cabin next door off the ground and we wandered up the hill to the accommodation walking twice the distance needed due to the wine consumed and having a good giggle about it all. I opened the door to my cabin and said 'Night night' and she leant against me and kissed me. A very soft, sensual, port flavoured kiss to which I responded not at all as I tried to work out how to say thanks but no thanks while at the same time thinking 'girls are WAY better kissers than boys'. All of a sudden she broke it off, pulled back, looked at me and said 'I got it wrong didn't I?'.
With the awkward meter up to high I said 'ahh... ummmm.... I think you're really great, I am really flattered or some such bollocks' - which is the universal non-sexuality specific code for 'sorry dude - this particular scenario never occurred to me so I haven't got the right thing to say ready.'
And she never spoke to me again. Which was a genuine pity because I really liked her and in addition it made the Wednesday night volunteering slightly awkward for a few weeks until I decided to move to Gympie. But that's another story altogether.
Kiss 3. The first time I kissed my now husband.
We met in a share house in Deptford in South East London in the second half of the second year of my 'one year abroad'. It was a gloriously balmy entirely non-English English summer and the group of house mates and various friends spent lots of long, lazy, smog scented evenings in the backyard pontificating about the world, arguing politics, profaning, philosophising, calling bullshit on each other's housekeeping claims, drinking wine, laughing at our insane wit and incomparable cleverness, smoking too many Malboro lights and on occasion, Irish dancing in Tescos.
While the other house mates remained completely oblivious, my man and I would hold hands under the table and stay up way later than the others talking the language of love (which is basically to say we fabricated reasons to stay up and watch crap TV* and talk about it so we had an excuse to stay up and keep talking).
And then one night, we kissed. A soft but insanely intense kiss which I can still taste and which took us both completely both surprise. He then turned around, jumped over the short wall down into the kitchen and bolted upstairs to his room. And didn't come out until the morning.
By then I didn't even kiss like a fish any more. Believe me, in the intervening years I'd practically got written references supporting me in this.
It was, it remains to this day, my favourite and without a doubt, the most awkward, first kiss of all.
*A really bizarre series on freak weather conditions - predominantly twisters stealing churches from brides and the like over in America. Obviously ESSENTIAL TV viewing at 1 am on a school night EVERY NIGHT for WEEKS.