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To pucker or not to pucker?

(Source | Tribune News Service)
(Source | Tribune News Service)

I wouldn’t classify myself as a shy person. Sure, I like my personal space from time to time, but I don’t find myself uneasy in a crowd. Although lately I have found myself wanting to slip through the cracks in the floor whenever the subject of kissing arises.

It isn’t because the subject of kissing makes me uncomfortable. Instead, it is because of the stigma that seems to attach itself to me whenever the fact that I am on the brink of turning 21 and have not experienced my first kiss comes up.

Now, not everyone I have told this to has acted shocked or freaked out. I have had people tell me, “It’s not a big deal. It’ll happen when it happens.” Although it seems people with this opinion are few and far between.

Most people seem taken aback when I tell them that I haven’t kissed anyone. I’ve seen my fair share of raised eyebrows and not-so-subtle dropped jaws. And no matter how many times this happens, the reaction always seems to surprise me.

The question hot on their lips, all puns aside, is, “Why have you waited so long?” I suppose I could dream up some fantastical answer of why I haven’t experienced my first kiss, but I usually end up mumbling out some combination of “I don’t know” coupled with awkward laughter.

I never seem to be able to get out the real reason when I am asked this question. Maybe it’s because in social situations I feel pressured to have a better answer, or that I begin to feel embarrassed. The real truth is that it just hasn’t happened for me yet. I’ve met and known people I wouldn’t mind kissing, and it’s not that I’ve never been attracted to anyone. Kissing is just something that hasn’t happened for me yet.

I suppose I am a little old-fashioned when it comes to kissing, which is surprising, because those who know me best will know how hard it is to find an issue that I’m not extremely liberal on.

I don’t want to kiss someone before I’ve made a real connection with them. I suppose this might sound a little funny because it’s not like a single kiss means a marriage commitment. But for me, personally, I like the idea of saving that sort of stuff for after more than a date or two.

Now, I don’t want that to sound stuck-up, because that’s not my intent. The reason behind this is that I haven’t really ever put myself out there, so to speak. And you know what? That is okay. I’ve always been a busy person with homework, school, family and friends, that I’ve never really pursued anything in the dating world.

This is not to say that I don’t have interest or that I never will, it just seems that up to this point in my life it hasn’t been something my attention has been focused on. I do want to date, get married and have a family someday, but right now I am more focused on me, and that’s okay too.

I believe that all things happen in good time. I don’t think I need to put pressure on myself to date, or find someone to have my first kiss with just for the sake of having it. I am an even-tempered person who doesn’t like stress. I especially don’t want to stress out about something that is meant to be a symbol of love and happiness. When my first kiss happens, I want it to leave me with a happy feeling, not a “just because” kind of feeling.

So whether you’re smooching on someone as you read this, or you’re in the same boat I’m in, remember that everyone experiences all the “firsts” at different times in their lives. Whenever it happens is fine by me, whether it be weeks, months or even years.

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