I Finally Got My First Kiss At Age 20, But It Wasn't What I Expected

Everyone remembers their first kiss. That moment when they or someone else finally chalked up the courage to go for it (with consent of course). That moment probably involved thousands of goosebumps, messy beats from two chests and sweaty palms brushing against clothes. Your first kiss might have been magical or a mess, but it happened and you can’t deny that. I, however, was missing an experience that I never had. 

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For me, being 20 and not really experiencing a first kiss was frustrating. Everyone around me was experiencing the delights and horrors of hooking up, like being in committed relationships or overall just living their lives being sexually content. Yet, there I was, feeling as if I was miles behind in what I thought was a race in sexual activity. Before even coming to UCLA, I daydreamed multiple simulations of what I thought the perfect first kiss would be. Maybe I’d be swimming late at night in the recreational pool, and my first kiss would end up being with the on-duty lifeguard. Maybe I’d be dancing with a one-of-a-kind, down to earth frat boy, and we’d find our own private corner of the party. Maybe I’d be on a study date, frustrated with math homework, and instead of wasting my life away on memorizing equations, we’d take a break for each other. Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated that none of that came true. Granted, most of my personal simulations were way too perfect to ever come true.

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Well, freshman year flew by, and I somehow managed to get a high-to-low crush-to-kiss ratio, with my crushes ranging in the teens and my kiss rate stuck at zero. I had come close to kissing a few random guys at frat parties, but every time I got close, I would back out at the last minute. I always felt a pang of regret right before I did it. I guess kissing a tipsy frat bro was not part of one of my simulations. Sophomore year was probably one of the more tumultuous and stressful years of my college career. I was so preoccupied with not failing out of UCLA that I forgot about my ultimate goal. My goal went from trying to get my first kiss before age 19, to trying to get my first kiss before age 20, to now trying to get my first kiss before I’m legally allowed to drink. For me, age 21 was the last milestone that mattered in my young adult life.

I’m here to say that I reached my goal. And it was nothing that I expected it would be. I had gone back home for Easter and ended up at a high school friend’s 21st birthday bash. It ended up being an unofficial high school reunion with each table housing all the different cliques. For the most part, I recognized everyone except for this mysterious cute guy. After talking to him for a bit, I realized that he was a year older than me and apparently everyone else knew him but me.

After a few drinks, and about 3 replays of "Old Town Road," we hit it off and got pretty close. As we were saying our goodbyes, we exchanged social media and a few half-hearted jokes and then, we kissed. In the moments leading up to it, my heart was literally going to burst, and I couldn’t focus my eyes on any particular spot. But then we both just leaned into it, and it happened. I was on cloud nine, but surprisingly it wasn’t because of him. I was honestly happy to get it over with. No offense to him, but he wasn’t the best kisser. Even with my lack of experience, I could recognize a good kiss from a bad one, and ours was more of a “meh.” It didn’t fulfill any of my simulations; that’s for sure. It was obvious that we both agreed that the kiss was just a nice way to end the night, and looking back on it, I think I was just grateful that I kissed someone I tolerated and was comfortable with.

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I want to remind readers that my obsession with trying to get my first kiss wasn’t necessarily a healthy one. I was placing a non-existent value on something that exists as a social construct entirely. In reality, the idea of a first kiss meaning something actually has no meaning whatsoever. A kiss is what you make it. Your terms, comfort and consent are what matters. If you want it to be something special, then you and the person consenting to your kiss can make that happen. If you just want to get it over with, then the same rules apply; just don’t expect anything marvelous from it.

I had spent years obsessing over this moment. And I finally got what I wanted. But now, I’m looking forward to naturally finding someone who makes each kiss feel like a first instead of like a chore. In the meantime, I’ve got many more milestones to make up for myself.