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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Dating Thu Nov 10 2011

Chicago Dating 2.011: The First Kiss

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Next Entry: The THIRD Date

The weight we give to the first kiss seems to be disproportionately heavy considering the silly physicality of it, the putting together of two relatively unimportant body parts. And yet for as important of an act as this seems to be, I don't think I have been fully sober for a first kiss since I was 12.

Yes 12, when I kissed my first boyfriend at Jackie Delie's beginning of summer party. Oh, the magic of Truth or Dare in the basement with 20 other sixth graders watching! At least I didn't have to eat a pickle dipped in peanut butter and hot sauce.

After that stereotypically innocent kiss, I had a bit of a dry spell from 14 to 16 when I kissed my high school boyfriend drunkenly in Paris. Not only was it our first kiss but it was also my first time being drunk on purpose. (Yes, if you are from Wisconsin you can get drunk by accident. It is called hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps and it is delicious to 11-year-olds.) To be honest all I remember about that sloppy first kiss is that the show Jackass was playing in the background in French. Tre sexy.

And then there was college, where I don't think I was sober for the majority of my classes much less kisses. I certainly know I wasn't sober that night I decided to make out with three complete strangers and call them all Guy X because knowing and acknowledging real names would tie me to the patriarchy.

Even my first real boyfriend post college I practically dry humped on an old futon. (Three years later I would like to officially apologize to that futon and my very best friend who happen to be fake sleeping on the sofa next to the futon.) And since that epic first kiss, there have been a series of drunken first kisses mainly at bars in dark corners and stairwells. And although not all have been bad (I'm particularly fond of the one in a car at a bus stop in Buenos Aires with a bus blaring its horn behind us), they have also not been of sober mind.

Joining Match, I was excited at the prospect of changing this sad little pattern. I mean, I couldn't possibly imagine getting drunk on a Match date and making out with a person who I had first met pixelized. That would be weird. Right?

Apparently not. Apparently the common tie between online dating and real life dating is the drunken first kiss. In fairness, I'm officially drunk after three beers, which seems to be a pretty standard amount of drinks consumed on a typical second or third date. Still I am a bit surprised to find myself in similar dark bar corners.

Originally I had thought that this certainly would not be the case. Online dating is awkward but honest. Certainly if we could stand the awkwardness of the profile vetting process and initial meet up, we could handle a sober touching of lips. But as it turns out there are some things that are too awkward even for the dulling effect of online dating and this is acknowledging in physical terms that you are interested in another human being.

Sure it's just a kiss, but really it can be a make or break kind of situation. If the zing isn't there in the first kiss, it is pretty much over. We invest all this time and energy into a series of dates basically to see if we are compatible -- but as compatible as we are after the first few dates, we can't guarantee the chemistry will be there. We invest into another individual not knowing if the litmus test of the first kiss will result in a positive thumbs up.

So when it comes time for that test it only makes sense that we need a little courage booster. Just as someone has a few drinks before they open their GRE scores or read the paternity test results, we need a little liquid courage before we find out if this person we sort of like is going to be a person we could really like.

Of course not everyone needs a few drinks before they seal the deal. There are people better than me called recovering alcoholics, liver-cancer patients and 12-year-olds who seem to commit to a first kiss sans alcohol. I give them mad props but unless Prohibition is reinstated, I'll probably use a little of God's gift to the Irish to make the first kiss litmus test a little less awkward.

I'm still looking of the best of the worst date stories! I've already collected a few involving puking dates and vegan anarchists. Send me your stories at write2fritz (at) gmail (dot) com.


There are tons of "single" meet up opportunities available in Chicago. From dating for nerds to "nut and bolt" parties (which if possible with emoticons would be followed by a rolling eyes icon), there are lots of ways to meet other singles. And if this is all you are looking for, a nut for your bolt or vice versa, these types of intense meet ups are great. But if you are looking for something a little less intense and maybe looking to meet more than just a mate, check out Minglers from Saya Hillman's Mac and Cheese Productions.

I've been to a Mingler and a few additional events including a comedy night and dating documentary screening. I've found that in addition to being hosted at Saya's sweet loft, the people at the events are open, interesting and pretty chillaxed. Events are usually BYOB with some sort of surprisingly non-cheesy icebreaker in the beginning.

Minglers are particularly good if you are looking to branch out from your current group of friends. Everyone must attend solo and Saya balances out the group between gender and age. There are noninvasive games, discussion topics and general mingling all over a potluck. People have met dates, friends and new business partners at the event.

Mac and Cheese will also be hosting Fear Experiment Two starting this January, which coincidentally this writer will be doing! Yes I will be conquering my dancing fears which first started after not making the show choir roster in eighth grade and like online dating, I will be writing about the entire traumatic experience. Over the course of four months I will be learning some sweet sweet dance moves along with some fellow dancing novices. The show will be in April at Park West. Check out more details on Saya's website. Look for more details about the experience on Gapers Block starting in January.

Previous Entry: The Second Date
Next Entry: The THIRD Date

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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