Naomi Frandsen teaches English at a high school in Fairfax County, Virginia. She also sidles around the bloggernacle from time to time, and she’s honored to be able to guest post at BCC.
Being single well into my twenties has given me a lot of time to think about kissing. At least once quarterly, I deliver to my roommates a Brief Statement on the Proper Approach to Kissing. Here it is:
Now a woman who’ll kiss on the very first date
Is usually a hussy,
And the woman who’ll kiss on the second time out
Is anything but fussy,
But the woman who’ll wait till the third time around,
Head in the clouds, feet on the ground,
She’s the girl you’re glad you’ve found,
She’s your Shipoopi.
The sophisticates among us will recognize this as one of Meredith Willson’s classic choruses from his 1957 Broadway hit, The Music Man (the cast recording of which, by the way, won the first Grammy). These words were graven onto my gray matter during long summer car-trips when our alternatives included tapes of South Pacific, The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Big River. But I’ve kept repeating them after ten years of being away from home because, well, I’m the type of Victorio-Mormon Prude that periodically worries about these things.
I remember my very first kissing-stories slumber party ever. I was in junior high; most of the other girls were in high school. One girl had met a guy at EFY a few months before and brought home a steamy story about evading counselors and tete-a-tete-ing behind the Morris Center. “I just feel sorry for the poor girl who isn’t kissed by 16,” she said. Lying in my sleeping bag, chin-on-hands, several bodies away, I impressed her words firmly in my mind. Must get kissed before 16.
Imagine my dismay, then, six years later when I found myself in another slumber party, this time with college roommates, still unkissed. “I think the hottest guy I ever kissed,” one roommate began, “was this surfer I met the summer before my freshman year. We were all at Cabrillo, and he left his buddies and we just walked all day long and then he started teaching me to surf, and then…” There’s a certain sort of despair that a 20-year-old feels when she realizes that she may not even get to “anything but fussy”.
It wasn’t until after my mission that I finally had a story I could boast about. A guy from Men’s Chorus who was standing next to me on the risers at the Combined Choirs Christmas Concert. A few flirtatious exchanges at the few rehearsals before the performance. His off-handed invitation to hot chocolate after the last show. Then coming home that night, respectably late, and knowing that I could hold my head high from that day forward.
Which brings me back to Victorio-Mormon Prudery. The fact of the matter is I want to be that girl “who’ll wait till the third time around.” I like the idea of proceeding slowly, deliberately, patiently, confidently through getting to know each other, wondering if we like each other, finding out that we do, and then waiting for something wonderful that will probably, almost definitely, maybe tonight happen. I don’t know this for sure, but it makes sense to me that the best relationships would start off with that kind of respect, openness, innocence, self-restraint. And yes, on a few occasions I’ve somehow managed to wait till the third time around, head in the clouds, feet on the ground. But a girl needs something to reflect on during all those times that she’s being prudent. A few stories that let her hold her own among her sisters, even if she chooses not to elaborate. So that’s why Meredith Willson is mostly right, but kind of wrong. Deep down inside–well, not so deep, since it will come out at any given slumber party–I’m proud to be a hussy.