How My First Kiss Changed Everything


first kiss young love
Author Frank Schaeffer remembers the girl who tempted him to break his parents' strict moral code.

I kissed The Girl Who Let Me with my mouth closed. Then, during the second kiss I suddenly felt this little wet sliver of something push through my lips, past the gate of my teeth, and then meet my tongue and flick back and forth at a rate of about fifty revolutions per second. I was fascinated and delighted. She was doing something to me on purpose.

She initiated all phases of our physical contact, while I carefully lay across and away from her at a right angle, not on her. I was keeping my crotch pressed firmly to the ground. I didn't want this wonderfully accommodating and supremely kind Girl to feel my dreadful erection pressing against her, something I was embarrassed by and knew that she—and of course all Girls—would hate! I was sure she'd jump up and run for home if she discovered my shame.


Even after I learned that Girls don't mind feeling an erection pressed against them, for several years after kissing The Girl Who Let Me I thought that the light speed-tongue-flicking method was the proper way to use tongues when kissing. It took several more years for me to understand that maybe The Girl Who Let Me was as inexperienced as I was that blissful morning and that maybe she'd heard about tongues from a friend and misunderstood the technical details. Still, I had good reason to trust her expertise: The Girl Who Let Me was French. Mom always said that the French were tragically promiscuous.

Later, when I kissed other Girls, I assumed that they didn't know the right way to kiss. Their tongues moved so slowly. For several years I resisted all newfangled tongues thrust all the way into my mouth like slow writhing snakes. I loyally stuck to what I'd been taught by The Girl Who Let Me. After all, she'd been so kind—not once but every day for two golden nipple-exposing, tongue-flicking, hand-holding weeks.

What did The Girl Who Let Me want that afternoon? By patiently guiding my straying hands away from her lap (again and again), she made it clear that kissing—and a glance at The Nipple—was all I was going to get. And, of course, with an erection to hide, there was no climbing on top.

The Girl Who Let Me and I had a spiritual connection, too, that gave our inexpert tongue flicking a friendly foundation. As I said, her uncle was the village Protestant state church pastor. Even though he was a liberal Barthian, as Dad had called him, nevertheless The Girl Who Let Me and I were both connected to the pastoring trade. Also, she wasn't a villager but an outsider like me. So when one bright morning I walked down the path to the vicarage gate, and she wasn't there, my heartsick pang cut deep.

She'd said nothing about leaving! I walked back to the vicarage every day for the rest of the summer. The Girl Who Let Me never was at the gate again. I finally asked Alice where The Girl Who Let Me was. Alice (who always knew everything about my doings) said that ta petite amie had returned to France.

By early fall I drummed up my courage to go right up to the front door of the vicarage and ask the pastor where his niece was and if I could have her address. He told me that she'd been sent back to France early because of me and never to come to his house again. I spoke French to him, but he answered in English, as if to emphasize that I was most certainly an unwelcome outsider. I was a bad influence, he said. And he also said that his niece had traveled to Huémoz to breathe good mountain air, not to be molested by American boys.

I'm sure The Girl Who Let Me didn't tell her uncle about us, let alone what she let me do. She had always greeted every mention of her uncle with a sigh. So how did he know I'd molested his niece? Maybe the hay wasn't high enough by the edge of the forest path, and he'd been scanning the mountainside above the vicarage using binoculars. I could only be thankful that my parents and this local Swiss pastor weren't on speaking terms.

Four years after The Girl Who Let Me and I were kissing on that mountainside, I got Genie pregnant and she turned out to be my wife and we're still together. If the Girl Who Let Me ever reads this, then I'd like to say to her—rather to you, Ma Chérie—that all this stuff about waiting for the right time and right age and right person is nonsense. How long do we think we have? Many of my friends say they envy me my grandchildren. That's odd. Measured by their idea of success and how to achieve it, Genie and I and our children have taken the wrong path by having children too young. And the strange thing is that my aging and envious friends' childless children are doing just what their parents pushed, begged, even forced them to do: succeed, with a vengeance, while putting having children on hold.

Serendipitous, messy, and joy-filled bodily-fluid-lubricated natural Life, babies, and grandbabies (in other words, Love) matter most to me. I hope, Ma Chérie, that you found your own version of what Genie and I (and you and me almost) stumbled into by dumb luck and horny abandon—a life full of children, grandchildren, and friendship.

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