A couch in a basement.
Two couples. (Well, “couples” feels like a particularly weighty word since all four were seventh graders).
And two pieces of licorice.
It was the gross shoelace kind of licorice that you only eat because there’s no chocolate around. It’s the kind of “food” wise people avoid.
I was not wise. I was twelve. And I would take any pathway available to get to my first kiss - even a long red strand of gummy sugar.
Enough with childhood. Enough with the wondering about what it would be like. Enough with the fear that no one would ever pick me.
Mission accomplished. And the next day I called the kid’s best friend to deliver the “can you tell him I don’t want to go out with him anymore?” news. (Because that is what you did when you were twelve in 1991).
Did I mention that the whole reason we found ourselves on this basement couch was because we both had red hair? Apparently, “making a cute couple” was more important than actually liking a person. Granted, being freed of the the terror that I would die without being kissed was even more important than our friends’ idea of “cute.”
It’s #KissAGinger day, so I salute the young man on the other end of that strand of licorice. I do hope that the next ginger you kissed gave you a better time.
As Jonathan Swift wrote in In Gulliver's Travels:
It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity.
Indeed. But you have to get me tipsy before I’ll tell you the story of what it’s like when gingers meet over pints in Dublin, not candy on Cape Cod!