He was South African. I had met him earlier this year on a backpacking trip.
And now here we stood -after downing 2 pitchers of really strong margaritas, a full french dinner with a whole bottle of red wine, and 2 useless roobios teas that did NOT sober us up as planned- on 18th Street and Florida Street in the Potrero Hill district. It was 11:30pm. We barely knew each other.
He tilts his head to his right. I tilt my head to my right. Kissing position accessed. Now it was just a matter of inches to make lips meet. We look into each other’s eyes. Small smile of awkwardness. We both look down to the lips. Safer place to gaze. He licks his lips; in response, I roll my lips inwards and moisten. He looks back up at me, his eyes filled with “So what do you think?” I look back at him with “Well, what you waiting for?” And in one swift move, his right arm hooks around the small of my back and pulls me into his face and our mouths meet.
Yeah, it was a kiss. That turned into ‘kissing’. But this was different. “Why is this different?” I’m thinking to myself. “Why do I have time for thinking?” I think shortly thereafter. “OH wait, that’s IT!” I think. “Yes, it is!” I rethink. “Oh yes, that’s definitely IT.”
HE ISN’T USING HIS TONGUE.
Is it a cultural thing? Because he’s not American? I’m used to men mashing their tongues into my my mouth as early as 7th grade when Noel Alcantara first french kissed me behind the church’s school yard. Wait, I think I frenched him… somewhere in our adolescent memory, someone made it like kissing was incomplete without tongue. So I stuck my tongue out like I was saying, “Nyah nyah nyah!” to someone thru a car window. I think that threw Noel off. If I remember right, he recoiled, and then I think he stuck his tongue out too… and there we stood, like we had two erect penises coming out of our mouths doing sword battle with each other.
And thus it has been since. The swords have softened into pliable slivering snakes of charm-able titillation, but tongue has always been there. I wonder if it’s because “French Kissing in the USA” by Blondie was such a big hit in my childhood. French kissing was NORMAL kissing in my circles; kinda like how fellatio was common in my high school circle. (Well, maybe that was a catholic girl school thing. I digress.)
So here I am, with this man, who has no tongue in my knowledge of him. Only lips softly brushing mine, a nuzzle from the nose, closed mouth, then opened mouth, a pause to inhale each other’s breath, countless little kisses around my mouth, a tracing of his nose against my cheek, a pause again to inhale… and feel both of us breaking out into a smile. It was the nicest kissing I’ve had in a while. Almost polite. Almost gentlemanly. Almost tender.
We start again, one more long kiss in which we breath in and out together. And, what was THAT? One single flick. His tongue. A short, sweet touch. Enough to excite, but not enough to satiate. A tease.
I pulled back with surprise. He pulls back. His eyes twinkle mischievously. He offers his arm so we can continue our walk towards the 18th street overpass. And we walk, quietly, but both of us resting in our mutual attraction for each other.