When I was a teenager I had four posters on my bedroom wall.
I say wall, I wasn’t allowed to put Bluetac on the walls incase it damaged the paintwork so my posters were attached to the sliding doors of my wardrobe. The posters were an ‘eclectic’ mix - Nick Berry from Heartbeat, Brian Harvey from East17, Mick Hucknall from Simply Red and then a racoon taken from the centrefold of ‘Girl Talk’ magazine. I grew up in the 1990s but you’d never know it.
The posters had various purposes. I felt they made me look cool to my friends (they didn’t), they covered the dent in the wardrobe (they didn’t) and they were also they were good for kissing practice (not the racoon). It might seem unorthodox, but it worked for me. I didn’t snog all of them, I wasn’t a floozy. My steady was Nick Berry with an occasional weekend smooch from Mick Hucknall when he was going through his dreadlock phase.
After a while, the posters on the wardrobe just didn’t work for me. There weren’t any brakes on the doors and anything more than a peck saw Nick sliding away so instead when I needed some practice I’d put the posters inside my pillowcase, that way I had something to hold onto. When my actual first kiss came with an actual real life non-paper person, I felt fully prepared. I was 13 and it was with a boy called James Billingham. He’d never kissed a girl and I’d never kissed a boy so he suggested we should try it in the name of science. He was quite clear that he didn’t want anyone to know that his lips had been anywhere near mine. I agreed to his terms, and one sunny afternoon after school on the playing fields when James could be sure that absolutely no one AT ALL was watching and could ever EVER find out, we tried it. It was wet and slobbery and I informed him immediately afterwards that Nick Berry did it better.
The calls this week on your first kiss stories were INCREDIBLE. Emma in Dewsbury had a tale that was shared by many – a cheeky kiss at the end of a school disco. That moment when the DJ stopped playing Superman or The Birdie Song and suddenly put on Boyzone’s ‘Love me for a reason’. Everyone would stand still knowing you had an instant decision to make – pair up immediately or pretend you were going to get some apple juice and that it was your choice that you weren’t slow dancing with Matt from 8b and that you didn’t like him anyway.
Jennie in Middleton called us with her story and what I loved about it most was the ever so romantic restaurant: “I was 14 and had a crush on David Appleby for two years. I was goofy, had untameable hair and really thick glasses and I’d never even thought him liking me back was ever an option but it was and he asked me on a date. We met at the Hyde Park Picture house where we saw Notting Hill and afterwards he took me for lunch at Subway. I remember being really impressed with how he ate an entire foot long meatball marinara. After lunch he walked me home and he kissed me against a tree and it was magical until I got home and my Mum asked me how I got tree sap on my jacket and I went bright red.”
Then there was Dave in Crossgates. Oh Dave. His first kiss was with Emma Jakes. They were 13 and had been dating for 2 months: “We both talked about kissing, we just hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it. One weekend I was invited to her house as her parents were having an anniversary party. At one point in the evening Emma and I snuck into her parents utility room as it was the only place that was quiet. There was no one around so we turned the light off and I kissed her. All of a sudden the light flicked on again and it was her Gran who said “Way to go!” and then walked out.