rejection+romance: the first kiss

Ah, the first kiss.

Molly Ringwald & what's-his-name in "16 Candles." Molly Ringwald & Andrew McCartney in "Pretty in Pink." Eric Stoltz & Mary Stuart Masterson in "Some Kind of Wonderful" (she's hot, yeah?)

Dear God, please, please let my first kiss be like a kiss in a John Hughes movie.

I'm 16, a senior at Madison High School, Madison, Ohio. The Blue Streak is our mascot, Ronald Reagan our president, and nothing's changed since my chink-days on the playground. Sure, I'm taller, more active--cross country, swim team, marching band, French Club. I've graduated from spelling winner to highest levels of nerddom: a sculpture wins an art show; I'm badminton champ in P.E.; I hold third chair, clarinet, in band. I'm even salutatorian of my class of 300.

Still, nothing's changed. I'm one of two Asian-American kids in my class. Timmy Stanton is the other one. Timmy has a Korean dad who owns a Chinese restaurant. There's a rumor of a black child in the school district named Love Singleton, but I've never seen Love for myself. Timmy Stanton and I are pioneers in a sea of pink-white, all-American teens who dribble basketballs, dry-hump in back seats, and aspire for fall admission into OSU.

Prom season, who do people tell me should be my date? TIMMY STANTON. Fuck Timmy Stratton. His nose too wide and porous, his house smell of sweet and sour pork.

I want to go to prom with Matt Hudson or Steve Gibbons or Scottie Smith. I want to date the quarterback-types who date cheerleaders who give blowjobs under the stadium bleachers. I'd give a blowjob. I'd sneak under the bleachers and undo a varsity jacket and stone-washed Guess jeans. Tastes like salty mayonaise, I've heard one of the popular girls say.

No, no prom, for April, no kiss, no fairy godmother and bibbidi bobbidi pumpkin coaches--not until after graduation.

Summertime. Better late than never. His name is Chaz, and he isn't Chinese or Japanese or dirty knees. Chaz is blondish, shortish, popular-ish. Chaz is two grades below me and drives a AMC Pacer and hasn't heard yet that I'm a nerd. We hook up at a party. I'm drinking wine coolers through a straw, we're giggling, we're on the parents' bed. The kissing's juicy and rushed and uncoordinated--not that great and not that bad, like wine coolers.

Then--I don't know where I get the idea, from Judy Blume or salty mayo or natural mammalian lust--I move my hand below his belt. I've no idea what I'm doing ... and then... Chaz tells me to stop. Amateur that I am, even I know stopping's no good.

Chaz gets up and leaves the room.
What did I do next? Did I sit on the bed alone? wash my hand? get another cooler?  Half an hour later, I see Chaz through the cracked door of a bedroom and Chaz is making out with Jenny. Jenny from the cross country team. There's tongue action, there's hip action, there's swivel and thrust between jeans. Hands disappearing. My Chaz, my first kiss, my first went-down-there is now going down there with Jenny. 

I wander into the den where five kids are squeezed across a couch watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on TV. Snow White--the adult version. Someone's found the porn tape in Jenny's dad's toolbox in the basement. Flickering hills of flesh on screen, entwined limbs and tongues and appendages I can't count, and suddenly I can't drink and watch at the same time, as if swallowing, as if tasting has become all wrong. 
I dreamed of being Molly Ringwald. But I could only hope to be as cool as her sidekick, Duckie. I could listen to Duckie's soundtrack, to the Smiths and New Order and Psychedelic Furs, I could sit in the rain alone by the graffiti.