I could tell you a lot of things about going to visit B. this weekend. I could tell you about how my friend S. and I drove for six and a half hours just listening to the radio, or about this cool wall that we saw while driving, or about how road signs in Pennsylvania sound like Aunt Bee shouting matronly advice (Buckle up next million miles now, hear?), or about this completely out-of-place Cajun restaurant that served alligator and hush puppies in the middle of Amishland. But instead, I am going to tell you the story of how I kissed B. a little bit.
And by a little bit, I mean that after we had some surprisingly delicious vodka-infused pineapple, there were two surprisingly nice, vodka-pineapple-infused kisses.
Huh, I thought. We've never done that together before.*
Before there could be any more kissing, I had a very small, private freak-out inside my head, as just what was happening really sunk in. So, instead of talking about it like a normal person, I went to go “check on S,” as he had been in the bathroom for a while and I suspected he was feeling sick. I could have handled the situation much more gracefully, I know, but I have the social competence of a sea slug. So yeah, if you want to judge me, that's cool. I kind of judge myself, too.
We did end up talking about it the next day (briefly, because when have I ever been good at communicating my feelings?). He waited for S. to take a shower, at which point my insides seemed to solidify inside me.
We were sitting on the couch next to each other, watching a '90s-era Kathy Griffin dressed in a ridiculous heart ensemble as she introduced comedians. As soon as we heard the water turn on, B. said to me, “So, last night….”
At this point I turned to him and muttered something noncommittal, like a stroke victim trying to sound casual.
“That wasn’t anything, right?” he said.
I quickly shook my head. “Oh--no! No.”
“You sure?” He tilted his head and scrunched up his face a little, the way people do when they’re asking if you’re sure you don’t mind looking after their drunk, vomiting cousin after a party while they go off and have loud sex.
My eyes widened as I nodded my head vigorously, which I realized seconds later could have been a little bit insulting. You want to think about that for a minute?
He gave me a fuck-yeah-just-friends-type hug, which, because we were sitting next to each other on the couch, meant that he pulled his free arm around me and we pressed our cheeks together. Unable to cope with how uncomfortable I felt, I desperately made some sort of joke about it, calling attention to the very awkwardness of the moment. A moment later, however, I ruined my air of casual humor by sitting up to shift and fluff the pillow I was leaning against, using utmost care and minute precision to mold it just perfectly. Then I leaned back again, my skin hot with embarrassment.
“By the way...” he said after a moment, a little suggestively, as he held up his hand for a high five.
I slapped his hand, and then I probably giggled a little too loudly, and then I started mumbling again. I'm pretty sure I was channeling Frankenstein’s monster.
I probably should have told him that he was a good kisser, too. You know--after my vehement insistence that the entire incident meant less than nothing to me.
Instead, we just sat silently watching Kathy Griffin’s out-of-control hair bob around her face.
Thinking about it still makes my stomach seize up in shame. But, on the bright side, it’s all in the past, right? The next night, after one of the many stories and jokes we all told each other, I made an off-hand comment about how I am so incredibly awkward. B. assured me that I’m not as awkward as I think I am, which was probably unrelated to this little episode but still made me feel better. Maybe in the future, when he thinks back on that vodka-pineapple-drenched night, he’ll only remember that I am a good kisser, not that I handle romantic situations about as well as a zombie first-grader.
*B. and I went to college together, along with S; both of them graduated last year. B. and I were in an improv group together, which has a loose policy of NO DATING WITHIN THE GROUP. Only drunken hook-ups. Even without this policy, I had a boyfriend for those first two years, so this was really the first opportunity for any kisses to occur, you see. Okay, back to the action.
Image from How I Met Your Mother, via Fanpop.