I do not want a relationship, either with a person I know or one I do now know yet. I emphatically want to be single for an indefinite period of time. After three years of almost continuous serial monogamy, I want some time to myself. I want to be able to leave town on a whim and do nothing but leave a note for my rommates, telling them not to worry. I want to be able to flirt with the pretty boys and girls that I meet without guilt (this is, of course, assuming that I ever learn how to flirt). I want to be able to make plans taking only myself into account.

However, I also want first kisses all the time. I want that scary, uncomfortable, exciting moment when you both realise that your lips are about to meet. I want the slight clumsiness that is present in all but the most chemically perfect first kisses. I want to touch my lips with my fingers hours later, marveling that what just transpired actually happened.

I want the first, most exciting moments of the relationship, complete with the racing heart and nervous stomache.

But I don't want a relationship.

*sigh* I think I always want the impossible.

I hate that.

I experienced my first crush in years last week... that predatory old monster in my belly has been quiescent so long I thought she was gone for ever, or at least tamed into easy domesticity: but she stirred last week, and her eyes still burn.

It was the five whole days away from home that did it: I found myself alone and free in a place dense with memories of a gloriously misspent youth, surrounded by exciting strangers and comfortable in the knowledge I probably wouldn't ever see most of them again. I was always a sucker for the same deceitful promise -- an uncomplicated erotic interlude, no strings attached -- and so it was this time.

He was what I have come to recognise as just my type: thin, guarded, fine-featured, with translucent skin and a certain darkness or brooding quality about the eyes that hints at a passionate nature. If I were single I would have jumped this boy's elegant bones by Day 3: as it was I made polite conversation by day, and was careful not to drink too much. I don't think he had any inkling of the role his long mouth and careful fingers played in the webs of elaborate fantasy I spun alone late at night, all centred on the same moment: that impossible, unbearable, electric moment of the first kiss.

The first kiss is the moment of perfect potential, it contains all possibilities; it's suspended at the lip of a waterfall or the crest of a wave; it's the dizzying instant before the floodgates are opened. The liquid flame it ignites in my belly (maybe yours, too) is not just lust, it's vertigo, the sudden glimpse of infinity and the promise that this time, perhaps, it will change everything.

It never does, of course: the possibilities all fade, sooner or later, in the light of real human grapplings with a real human other, which have a deep beauty of their own... and it's all good and I wouldn't want it otherwise, but... I'd give a lot to have that first incandescent kiss.

You can still experience (some of) the thrill of the first kiss, even if you've been a relationship for months!

All you have to do is both pretend you've never kissed before!

I usually compare all my first kisses to when I once pulled (as they say in the UK) someone in a club. She'd approached me, we'd just talked for hours, and then we'd gone to dance, both brimming with anticipation. First we joined hands, then moved in closer, then her eyes shut and her head tilted back... and slowly (because you have no idea what the other person kisses like), our lips met.

A perfect scenario to enact with your partner.

Maybe put one hand on his or her cheek, and slowly, slowly, come together, lips slightly parted, and kiss tentatively. This really does somehow work, especially since being with the same person you likely kiss each other all the time almost as instinct, without the passion and anticipation of new lovers..

But a first kiss I've found changes the mood, you're not just snogging each other's faces off, but you're doing it as tenderly as possible... time slows down, suddenly you become tingly, feel a bit warm, and squeeze your SO a bit tighter.

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