Thanks a Latte: 5 Lessons 10 Years After My First Kiss
I’ve made a commitment to myself (and to any readers that are out there… are you out there?) that I would blog at least once per week. I’ve been doing better than okay since I started but found myself stumped this week for something to write about. Then it hit me: I realized it’s been almost exactly 10 years – yes, an entire decade – since my first real sloppy make out kiss. God, I’m such a romantic.
Over the years, I’ve come a long way from that semi-tragic night down a dark alley on the streets of Nyack, NY when 16 year-old me let a 24 year-old (supposed) dream boat ram his tongue down my throat (actually, looking back, that probably shaped a lot of experiences I’ve had with men over the years. Hmmm… something for the therapist’s chair). Hopefully, I’ve come out of the last decade better prepared for the next ten years. I figure now is as good a time as any to reflect on all those boys that came after Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee and what I coulda/shoulda/woulda learned all those years ago.
Lesson #1: Listen to Mom
Trust me, this kills me to write, but really, Mom knows best. All those years ago when I’d get in the car (because she was schlepping into town to pick me up on Saturday nights) I’d be all giddy on caramel macchiatos and the gorgeous, older guy who gave them to me for free. Really, I should have stopped yapping on about how he totally liked me and just listened to her. She warned me it was weird for a 24 year-old to be interested in a 16 year-old. She forbid me from going back to my beloved Starbucks. And I hated her. I was all angst-ridden and emo and thought she DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, SHE COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND. So instead, I wrote loads of poetry and listened to Saves the Day and wasted my summer crying over someone I would look at now and go “you’re hot, but ewwww you’re a creep.” Mom, I know you’re reading… I should have listened!
Lesson #2: Always tell your friends where you’re going
I was a smitten little girl. I was totally in love with the idea of this guy with his black satin pants and coffee stained tee (really, I wish I was making up these details). He smoked cigarettes, for God’s sake and oozed sex and bad decisions, which let’s be honest, I’m still a sucker for. So I proceeded to leave with Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee one night while he was on break and go for a walk. Down a random street. Without telling anyone. I’m pretty sure my girl friends thought I was getting raped and killed while I was really on cloud 9. And when I came sauntering back to Main Street all grinning like an idiot, I knew I was in trouble. Oopsies? What a lesson… don’t run off with strange men in the middle of the night without telling anyone, especially when you don’t have a cell phone.
Lesson #3: On to the next…
When I say I was heartbroken after Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee, I’m probably being polite in saving myself the embarrassment of going into how devastated I was. I was such a loser. Really. It wasn’t until I found an equally cute boy my own age to start dating a few months later that I really snapped out of my teenage funk. It’s absolutely hysterical to look back and think of myself that way. But, I mean, that’s what being 16 is all about right? If I could go up to stupid little 16 year-old Mallorie… well, I would slap her and tell her the lesson she should have learned then. When it doesn’t work out with one guy, move on to the next! No sense crying about it. And really, no sense writing bad poetry about it. Because poetry is permanent and really, really embarrassing.
Lesson #4: Make sure they buy you stuff first
If you’re going to waste kisses on losers like Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee, make sure they buy you things, whether it’s dinner or diamonds – get what you deserve. That was one thing I did right all those years ago, I got loads of free coffee and free paraphernalia from Starbucks. You know how expensive fancy lattes are? Yeah, they’re pricey. Score one for me.
Lesson #5: Go after what you want
Sometimes we don’t want things that are good or right for us (ummm… hello, a 24 year-old when you’re 16?). But you really can’t help what you want – whether it’s the wrong guy, the impossible job, or the ridiculously expensive pair of shoes. What matters is that you want it. And if you want it, then you should get it. I spent months swooning over Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee and for better or worse, I got what I wanted. Over the last ten years, I’ve channeled that conviction and belief in myself to accomplish more than I thought I would at 26.
So, regardless of the outcome, I guess I have to take some time and say a silent thank you to Mr. 24-Year-Old-Starbucks-Employee for teaching me more at 16 than I ever learned in a high school classroom. Perhaps we should all say a silent thanks to our first kisses. Dare you share your first kiss stories in the comments? Come on…