Son, we have established that if you grow up to be like me, you’ll never actually ask anyone out in high school. The bummer, of course, is that your lack of any real experience won’t exactly build your male confidence over time. The result will be both a growing desire to seek a girlfriend and a paralyzing fear of actually finding one.
This is the part where you’re probably looking for some fatherly advice on girls and here’s what I have to say about that: I have none. In fact, if you’ve been paying any attention at all so far that shouldn’t be a surprise.
In the absence of actual advice, I’ve been trying to think of what I could say to help you avoid being like I was when you’re in high school—what approach I should take to try and protect you from the traps that I fell into as a kid. But I think this one’s too big for just some loving advice and suggestions anyway. This one calls for more of a “Scared Straight” approach. And I can think of nothing more likely to scare the heck out of you than a good, close look at me.
So let’s put you in my shoes for one night in junior year of high school:
You’re out with the girl you actually wish was your girlfriend, her boyfriend and a few others. You and your friends stop to pick up a girl you’ve never met. While at her house, she starts to talk about a date she recently had with some guy. She’s not going out with him again, she says. It turns out that he’s a sloppy kisser–all wet, too much tongue, or not the right tongue action—too up and down instead of side-to-side or something. She rips on this guy like he should never have been allowed to possess a Y chromosome in the first place. Whoever this guy is, you’re glad it’s not you getting verbally castrated in front of everyone.
You eventually head out and as the evening progresses, she starts coming on to you. Girls had probably done this before but you’d have been too scared to allow yourself to notice. She walks up and sticks her hands in your jacket pockets and pulls you to her. That won’t be enough for you to get the hint, so in the car later, she’ll put her hand on your crotch and move her face an inch away from yours.
OK, now you get it.
Oh Shit! you think to yourself as your mind instantly flashes back to what she said earlier about the lousy kisser. You’ve never kissed a girl before and here’s the World’s Kissing Authority, Senior Contributing Kissing Critic for Make Out Weekly Magazine ready to see what you’ve got. There is no way you’re going to kiss her. The carcass of the last unfortunate lip-locker is probably still twitching on the couch at her home.
What if you turn out to be a bad kisser? Of course you’ll be a bad kisser, you’ve never done it before. That could just as easily have been you she was emasculating earlier in front of your friends. What did she mean by “too much tongue”? How much is enough tongue? Are you supposed to go side-to-side or up and down? Or is she supposed to do one thing and you do another? She must have kissed hundreds of guys to be such a critical kisser.
Now you’re wishing you had taken your Cousin Amy’s offer to sneak into the closet at her sister’s wedding.
You let your noses touch and try to distract her from what she’s really looking for. You say something lame like, “boy your nose is cold,” then rub her nose with yours like you’re doing her some kind of a favor. After a minute of this, she returns the focus to your lips. With fear flushing red in your face and your feet going numb, you go for more distraction, blurting out something like, “Are your ears cold too?” You move your nose to her ear, thereby avoiding lip contact for a second time. Finally, she says, “Kiss me,” and you panic. You can’t kiss her; one wrong move and you’ll be so embarrassed that you might as well have shown up at school in your mother’s underwear.
All the blood that just rushed up to your face now reverses itself as if gravity was just switched back on, swelling your feet and spilling into your ankles when your shoes can expand no further. Your mouth goes dry–so much so that you fear your tongue would stick to hers like Velcro. You wonder what’s worse, too dry or too wet. It doesn’t matter—both are most certainly bad. You freeze. You try and pretend you didn’t understand what she said. You say, “What?” It’s the best you can do; maybe the extra two seconds will be enough to think of something. It isn’t. Maybe you’ll get in an accident or arrive at your destination before she repeats her request. You don’t.
She’ll finally just give up and assume you must be gay. She slumps back away from you and retrieves her hand from your crotch, an attack dog sent in affection and recalled out of pity. Ironically, the blood that should have all gone there in the first place now evacuates your extremities and arrives there fully pressurized and ready for action. Too late.
She doesn’t say a thing to you the rest of the night and you’re just fine with that.
You spend the next several nights and most of your hours in class imagining what it might have been like to kiss her. The rumors that you’re gay will eventually fade but not before every cute girl in school will have cried on your shoulder about the boy she wishes would ask her out.
I’ve done all I can do. The rest is up to you. Good luck.