The other day, during one of those rare snatches of time when I have nothing to do (which seem to be rarer and rarer these days), I made a list of all the people I've kissed. I had to cheat a bit to remember everyone's surname, but I got them eventually. Next to eight of the twelve people who made up the list, I put a little star in black for the ones with whom I went on to have sex, and highlighted in pink the four who were actual relationships (I'm not counting Soldiergirl, or snowdrop, as neither of those really happened for very long).
This is the first time I've ever done this. It's usually the sort of thing people do at school, or in their first year at university, where they may put it next to a shag chart.* My sister has one such list, which she's been keeping since she was 13. It takes up several pages of A5 with two columns on each page. Mine is much easier to manage, and out of all my kisses, only one of them was particularly drunk. Hooray!
[*NB. I have never seen such a chart. At my alma mater, an article came out in our university magazine advising us not to have a shag chart on the wall. Most of us cut out the article and stuck it on our walls.]
For all my life, I've been enamoured with the idea of a full-on kiss being something special and unobtainable, barring exceptional circumstances. I am reliably informed, however, that I am relatively rare in thinking that. I've seen people taking part in 'pulling' games, where you have to snog as many people as possible in as little time as possible, so as to win points (albeit nothing else). I've seen people get drunk and work their way around the room at parties. I've even seen my friend with the huge penis locked in an embrace with a number of different girls (although at several points over several years; I just remember it more vividly than others, for whatever reason).
At school, there were more. Music Man, Lightsinthesky, my token black friend, Lightbulb and the guy who looked like Dewey from Scream all managed to be quite prolific at it. My friends who were girls were all relatively coquettish, but shy when asked, but they also kept lists - especially in the sixth form, when they started keeping a book which everyone added to, including a list of the hottest boys in our year (I was number 11).
And yet I still feel that way. During the three-and-a-half-year gap between Louise and Alicia, there was nobody. I went though university seeing couples wrestling lips in clubs but never managed to get anything more than a kiss on the cheek, or a hug as thanks for being understanding while I listened to another female friend's relationship problems. Each peck on the hand, or swift hug, or even bright smile in my direction ignited a spark somewhere, but nothing ever led to a kiss. In the end, that was all I really wanted.
I'm in a relationship now that's lasted, as it turns out, over five years. It still feels like a new one in some ways. I get a kiss every day now, but it's not always a long one. Just a swift peck on the lips before whichever one of us goes to work first departs, maybe. Except for last week, where - completely by surprise - she pressed her lips to mine and went in for a long, passionate, deep and relatively messy snog.
A nice reminder of what my desires all involve.