The year was 1982, and Mrs. G. and her mom were sitting in a movie theater watching An Officer and a Gentleman. Mrs. G. was fourteen. She had kissed her arm. She had kissed a mirror. She had kissed a pillow. But she had never kissed a boy. It wasn't only because she was Catholic and purposefully avoiding the blistering fires of hell and the godless slippery slope to prostitution—no, Mrs. G. had other grounds for apprehension.
Rewind to the summer before when Mrs. G. walked next door to visit her classmate and neighbor Sandy and found her in her kitchen stuffing green grapes into her mouth. Sandy would chew four or five times and then cram more grapes into her clearly disturbed face. Mrs. G. asked her what was up and Sandy spit the wad of grapes into her hands and moaned that she had kissed Dennis Crawford. It was disgusting, Sandy gagged, I'm cleaning out my mouth. It was wet and tasted like Bugles.
Say no more. Mrs. G. took Sandy at her word. Hyperbole wasn't Sandy's bag.
Fast forward back to that movie theater where Mrs. G. and her mom sat munching popcorn they had popped at home and smuggled into the theater because, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the last time Mrs. G's mom checked, money did not grow on trees.
Fast forward to the scene where Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) and Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) experience their one night of passion in that dingy little hotel room and bare their asses souls. As Mrs. G. watched them kiss—no, watched isn't the right word. It sounds dry and passive—rather as Mrs. G. actively researched, investigated, eagle eyed, inspected and scrutinized them kissing, she knew two things for sure: there was an art to kissing and Richard Gere had it.
It would be a few more years until Mrs. G. kissed a boy and it would be even longer before she kissed one that had figured out he didn't need to ingest her face the true art and gave Richard Gere a run for his money.