This is a memoir of a truth or dare moment which led to my first almost kiss.
FIRST ALMOST KISS
Truth or dare. The scariest words to an awkward, young teenager. Whether we liked it or not, everyone has been victim or witness to the silly, fun, embarrassing, and perhaps traumatizing effects of the popular pastime. Some typical dares, such as drinking repulsive ‘whatever we can find in the kitchen’ concoctions or knocking on a neighbour’s door and immediately scurrying away, are meant for simple and frivolous thrills; however, some dares, aimed directly at the embarrassment of the naïve victim, can cause your heart to pop out of your chest only to slip through your sweaty palms. I did not particularly enjoy truth or dare.
“Dating” at the tender age of twelve was basically classified as holding hands at recess, or at least it was in my very innocent case. My hand holding partner, Nick, and I were both extremely shy and as a result, very rarely saw each other outside of school. Our relationship was a series of instant messaging conversations and “he said, she said” updates from our best friends—this is why I was extremely nervous about the party. Nick had invited our group of friends from school to his birthday and this was the first time we would be seeing each other outside of the protective recess bubble. Yikes…
After a standard birthday dinner of pizza, pop, and cake, the gang retired from his house (and his parents) to find something to do on the beach. Inevitably, one of my genius friends suggested a game of truth or dare. It was an obvious set-up to humiliate the happy couple. They were practically strumming their fingers together like Mr. Burns. Normally I stay out of truth or dare festivities for sheer preservation of my dignity (which is what I liked to say. Really, I was just soooooooo awkward), but worming out this time proved impossible. So the nine of us gathered around our pathetic attempt at a camp fire and under a blanket of stars illuminating the eerily still water (I swear I could hear the Jaws musical score in the background…), we began the dreaded game.
Naturally, the first dare was for my birthday-boy boyfriend. “I dare you to put your arm around Lauren for the rest of the night.” Wonderful. My face felt hotter than the fire. But despite our collective embarrassment, he did it. I distinctly remember writing this in my diary that night: “We were so cold in front of the bonfire, but I was suddenly warm when he put my arms around me.” Wow.
A few dares later: “Lauren, I dare you to kiss Nick on the cheek!” I had never been so nervous in my life. After a fair bit of stalling and attempts to change the subject, I finally swallowed my fear, turned my head, and kissed his cheek. It wasn’t so bad. Kind of like chicken.
Nick’s next dare was of course to reciprocate the kiss on my cheek. And he did. Also with a fair bit of stalling. We just had so much in common!
And then. The ultimate dare. “Nick, I dare you to kiss Lauren—ON THE LIPS.” Eeek! I began my usual stalling routine, but my friends soon grew impatient and broke out into the lyrics of “Kiss Me,” the theme song of She’s All That (at the time, a very popular cinematic masterpiece). Nick and I smiled uneasily at each other as he began to lean in…Oh my God, this is it! Where should I put my hands? Do I still have pizza breath? Does he?...And just before the epic contact, a familiar, stern, father-like voice bellowed out from merely a few feet away: “LAUREN. It’s time to go.”
Thank goodness there was another Lauren at the party and thank goodness it was her dad that made the interruption. Needless to say, the moment was over and so was the party, but I went home beaming.
Maybe truth or dare isn’t so bad after all…