My very first kiss
Irish celebs open up to Declan Cashin about the glorious and gory details of. . .
It's one of the defining rites of passage moments of our lives, and indeed a new book confirms that most of us never forget our first kiss.
According to Sheril Kirschenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, most of us can recall up to 90pc of the details of our first kiss.
With that in mind, and it being Valentine's Day, we asked some well-known Irish people if they can recall the details -- be they glorious or gory -- of their first ever smooch.
I think I was 12 or 13. It was all sorted out beforehand, with absolutely no romance attached at all. We went up to the woods beside St Raphaela's School in Kilmacud. The girl's name was Charlotte. I was terrified but she was less so. I've a funny feeling she'd kissed boys before.
There were about 10 other people there in the woods with us, all around the same age, and they were all half-hiding in trees, watching. We'd chatted beforehand and had agreed on the form of kiss: open mouth but no tongue, which I think was called 'barring'.
One girl named Tara stood there with a watch and timed us kissing. She said go, and so we just locked mouths, like a mid-air aircraft refuelling.
There was no emotion or sensitivity. It was just two people with their mouths together. I'm proud to say it lasted for 21 seconds. It wasn't the start of a budding romance: her older brother was in my school and he was a tough guy, so he scared me off.
I had a first kiss that was basically lips smudged together on a school coach trip, but my first proper kiss was as a teenager in a doorway in Charlestown, Co Mayo. It was wintertime and it was raining. I was visiting a friend and we went to a disco in a ballroom that's now a garage.
It was tremendously romantic. In fact I look back on that now and think that was the nicest kiss I ever had. The most romantic 10 minutes of my life. Isn't that funny?
What's funny is I just got in touch with the guy out of the blue a few weeks ago because I hadn't spoken to him in years. He's now married with kids, living abroad. I never got to ask if it was his favourite kiss too!
My first kiss was in 1955 when I was 15. It was in a dark cinema one Saturday afternoon.
I had always been a bit anxious about kissing before this time. I wondered how you would know which side of his nose to approach from, or be approached by. I was afraid of getting it wrong and breaking both noses.
In fact it worked out very simple. It was okay -- but only okay. I mean I didn't go round roaring for more kisses or anything once I had got the taste of it. But I did feel a bit smug as I went home on the bus. I was a kissing person now.
My first kiss was an awful and sloppy experience. I had lied convincingly to my friends that I had some limited expertise in this area, but had really just re-lived to them a selection of smoochy scenes from The Breakfast Club and other teen movies I had seen.
I don't particularly remember the girl. She was just someone I had spotted sitting down and after 55 sprinted laps of the dance floor on the final slow set of the night, I finally plucked up the courage to ask her to dance.
I lunged at the poor girl with the reflexes of an Olympic French fencer. Shockingly she attacked me like an excited labrador and I could swear to this day she may have even licked my forehead.
It was awful, both guilty parties involved as useless as the other. I didn't open my eyes. I was scared stiff, and wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, but still couldn't wait to gloat and tell my friends.
My overwhelming memory of my first kiss is how underwhelming it was. Seriously, I don't even think I counted it as my first kiss initially as I was so disappointed.
I only did it because my best friend had kissed a boy in Wexford on a holiday with my family. I was so indignant, and like, 'OK, bring it on!'
My friend returned the favour by bringing me to Brittas Bay, the scene of many first kisses. The boy was American, which was so exotic in my 13-year-old brain.
What was not so exotic was that straight after the kiss, he told me how he collected knives. Nice. I think he was some wannabe gangsta. Needless to say, at dusk the next night, I was not there at the beach to meet him again.
My first kiss was very unromantic altogether. I was 15 years old and it was with a classmate who had been chasing me around since we were in senior infants in primary school. Eventually I got tired of running away from him and just let him get it over with.
I'm sorry to say it was a big, wet, sloppy mess! I think it might have been a disappointment for both of us as he gave up chasing me after that, but we've stayed good mates since.
I remember I was 12 years old. It was about October, and it was on our street. We spent a lot of time out playing back then. He was a guy I had fancied for ages.
The Isley Brothers had a song that was on radio all the time -- the title escapes me -- but it inspired me to make the move. It was very innocent. I remember his hair, his eyes and, of course, his lips. It was wonderful.
I was 13 and down in Irish college, and it was in the playground. It was the typical Irish guy thing: be infatuated from afar, sitting in the corner drooling at them, and thinking that by being a total dickhead, that would be attractive.
Anyway, we were sitting around in a circle playing spin the bottle. I had full train-track braces on my teeth at that time. My nickname was 'Jaws' (I'm just about over that now at the age of 44).
I started getting off with this girl during the game. This sounds like a scene from a movie, but she also had train-tracks on her teeth, and our braces got stuck.
I just remember being so close to her face and how petrified she looked when we copped that this had happened. She also had a smell of eggs on her breath. So I didn't go near a woman for 20 years after that.