I Just Turned 24... And Still Haven't Had My First Kiss

Every birthday almost always comes with a strange compulsion to look back and reflect on your life. Questions like, “what have I accomplished?” and “is my life where I want it to be?” begin to circle the back of your mind like clockwork — and when you’re a single woman, the question of your love life will, of course, be the loudest, most incessant question of all.

I turned 24 on the sixth of January. You might recall it as that miserable, chaos-filled day in the U.S. Capitol (and honestly, part of me couldn’t help but look upon the events as an ironic metaphor for my existence, but... I digress). 

I think of the various aspects of my life — money and career, family and friends, hobbies and personal wellness — in a bar graph of sorts. The more experience and success I have, the higher the bars go. Most of my “life bars” are sitting in a good place. I’ve graduated college with lifelong friends, wrote and starred in my own feature film, attend the oldest and most renowned journalism school in Canada, and have my beloved formal and fictional writing published online. I’m doing pretty well.

But if you look all the way to the left of the bar graph, under all the dust and cobwebs, you’ll find- ah. There it is. My love life, sitting low and stubborn at the bottom.

You may find yourself wondering how someone can possibly go so long without ever getting caught up in a fateful teenage romance... or an impassioned tryst at a college party... or even a quick smooch over New Years’. It can’t possibly be that hard to get your first kiss.

Well, I’ll tell you right now, it’s not hard at all. Not even a little bit. Why? 

Because something can’t be hard if you’re not actively chasing after it. It’s… actually very, very easy.

The truth is, my first kiss could’ve happened an innumerable amount of times already. People have tried. Guys have openly admitted they wanted to and girls have (very drunkenly) jumped at me more times than I sheepishly care to admit. But every time the opportunity presented itself, I’d rear back like I was avoiding the touch of fire.

It’s not that I haven’t been on dates or am closed off to the idea. But something about going so long without getting my first kiss appears to have, completely unintentionally, built up some level of significance with every year that’s passed. If I’m on a 24-year streak… I can’t just waste it. I can’t just give it away to the first happy volunteer. No, no, the suspense has built up too much now. I have to make it count.

Maybe I’ve read too many romance novels, watched too many earth-shattering declarations of love on TV, but I’m going for the big-ticket. I’m going for actual, genuine, bona fide romance — because it is no less than what I deserve. I deserve an amazing kiss with someone who makes my heart skip and flutter in a moment I can remember behind closed eyes forever. 

I don’t want casual, forgettable, regrettable. That’s not what 24, 25, or even 26 years will ever amount to, not so long as I can help it.

This means the person I’m meant for will have to work harder. And you know what? I’m happy they do. Most people rarely work at all. 

In the age of swiping left and right on Tinder and sending lewd pics over Snapchat, it takes very little to get what you want and get it quickly. We live in an era of sexual liberation that’s come with a lot of perks, especially for women who’ve been tied down to this ridiculous notion of “purity” throughout history. Now, you can completely bypass the getting-to-know-you stage and jump right into the hot and heavy stuff. 

Except… I don’t work like that. I’m not interested in shortcuts or skipping the getting-to-know-you stage — and I’m definitely not interested in vying after people who make it a point to live their life this way. Especially because plenty of them will look at women like me and think, “oh, she’s just a prude” or “her standards are unrealistically high.”

You know what I think? I think my standards are perfectly fine. The problem lies in the general standard which has collectively dropped over the past, let’s say, 50 years. Now there’s something “wrong” with women who wait for something special, who won’t give themselves away to people expecting to hit third base by the second or third week of dating. No one “courts” anyone anymore, that’s crazy! Just take what you can get and be thankful for it!

Well, thanks — but no thanks.

Some might have you think romance is an unrealistic fairytale, a thing best reserved for bookshelves and cheesy popcorn flicks, but I refuse to believe it’s dead. Meaningful relationships — meaningful first kisses — can still exist, so long as we know our value and live our lives as the best, most complete versions of ourselves without ever settling for less. If someone happens to come along, catches your eye enough to give you pause, well you might just get lucky. 

My mantra? Never pause for someone who won’t put in the work. If they want you, really want you, they will go above and beyond to have you. Weed out the ones who can’t rise up to your level and fight to have your heart before any other part of you. Those who are poorly motivated won’t last long and will give up quickly; you should celebrate that. It’s less time wasted on undeserving people. More importantly, it’ll bring you one step closer to the one who will never falter in their fight for you.

Just don’t forget to jump into that arena and fight back for them.

So, yeah. I’m 24 and still haven’t had my first kiss. My love bar continues to sit low and unmoving… but the rest of my life graph is shooting for the sky. If it happens that the years continue to pass without any change to that little bar in the far corner, that’s okay. I’m still whole and have countless other forms of love within reach. As do you and as does everyone else, no matter how much society wants you to believe otherwise.

And if something changes by the time I turn 25… well, I would never kiss and tell.