Gay Kisses

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I had planned the night running my drunken review of Parks and Recreation, a show I adore, that sadly gave itself over to fatphobia this week, but in the end Ugly Betty caught my attention with the following dialogue:

Justin: Our first kiss is going to be onstage… what if it’s like… bad?
Mark: Well you’re in a good place. You actually like this girl you have to kiss, so just let your feelings take over. You won’t be bad. If you kiss someone with feeling they know it and you know it.

And this was pretty much the story of my first kiss. It’s embarrassing, but I wasn’t as young as Justin when this scenario raised its head: I was sixteen, and the boy I was kissing in my play was hot beyond measure, but he was also my good friend’s boyfriend, so we never rehearsed the kiss, we would just hug in its place in rehearsal as M. (my friend) was generally looking on.

When the time came on opening night A. (the lead actor) tilted my chin up with his hand and I met his mouth with mine. Moments later, the actress playing his girlfriend was supposed to throw a glass of water in our faces, startling us apart. No need for acting there, I really jumped as I was thinking, basically, “Omigod he’s pushing my hair back, Omigod, he’s lifting my chin, Omigod, his lips, Omigod, omigod!”

I’ve always thought it was a little strange to have my first kiss be in a performance (my first real kiss was with B. only about 3 weeks later) but I never really thought to connect it to the queer experience– even though there’s such an overrepresentation of gay men in theatre– I bet this is really common. A first kiss that feels like it really means something in a moment, the structure of which, insures that it doesn’t.

And then!!!!! Justin’s crush kisses him! The other boy in the play! It’s completely adorable and I died times a million, because if there was one outcome better than A kissing me like he meant it it was A kissing B like he meant it!

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