Confession #11: The Missed Kiss

My senior year at Wash U, I started to get to know a girl who had a long-distance boyfriend. Let’s call her Marsha.

Marsha had been dating this guy for many years. He was her first and only everything. That had long been planning to finally live in the same city after college and get married and have kids named Marshette and Marshall.

We started flirting.

The harmless flirting grew into a harmless mutual crush, and soon–under the guise of harmlessness–we were essentially dating. We went to parties together, we held hands, we’d lay in bed and talk deep into the night.

Marsha was completely transparent about her relationship with her boyfriend. She told him everything we did, and she didn’t try to hide him from me at all either. I wasn’t trying to win her away from him, nor was I trying to have her cheat on him with me. I just enjoyed the feeling I got when I was around her, and I went with the flow.

One day we went back to my place a little tipsy after a party. We found ourselves inches from one another as we stood in my living room.

Marsha looked me in the eyes and said, “I’ve never kissed anyone other than my boyfriend, and I’m never going to kiss anyone else. But I want to kiss you.”

I wanted to. Trust me, I wanted to. But I said, “Are you going to regret it tomorrow?”


That was our answer. We didn’t kiss; we never did. Eventually we realized that even without kissing, what we were doing wasn’t allowing Marsha to be true to her relationship, so we stopped.

It’s the little choices in life that I think back upon now and again, and this is one of them. I could have kissed Marsha. I know that. I don’t think it would have changed anything. Her life would have proceeded as planned.

But instead of not having a kiss that I blogged about someday, we would have had a kiss. Perhaps it’s the romantic in me that makes me wish we had that.

What do you think? Should I or shouldn’t I? Do you have a missed kiss in your past? Or a kiss that you’d take back?

24 thoughts on “Confession #11: The Missed Kiss”

  1. i have a lot of kisses that i wish i could take back… i guess it’s weird… those who think too much miss opportunities… those who do not think at all live with many regrets… i guess that’s just life…. 🙂

  2. I think you did the right thing. There are times in my life when I’m confident I would have done the same, and there are times and situations where I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have made the right choice. Reading this story makes me proud of your convictions as a person. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

    • I try. I guess I made the moral decision. I guess I wonder about that missed kiss because I truly think that Marsha would have gone about her life as normal after that, and instead of only kissing one man her entire life, she would have had at least one other kiss to tuck away in her mental scrapbook. I wonder what she would say about this. Is there anyone out there who has only kissed one person? What’s your take on this?

  3. I like that you asked her if she would regret it the next day and then did not kiss her. I think you made the right choice.

    I also laughed for several minutes about Marsha’s children being named Marshall and Marshette. Haha. 🙂

  4. Oh Jamey, not enough space here to fill up the “missed” moments in my life as well as the moments I regret. I rather look ahead and move forward than reminisce.

    • Like I said above, I don’t have many regrets. But I think one of the benefits of the human brain is that we remember those fleeting moments where we had to make a choice. I sometimes like to think back on those moments–not with heart-aching regret, but with a bittersweet wistfulness.

  5. Jamey, I think you are in love with the idea of being in love, but the reality, for you, is frought with disappointment. When you become ready to go back to “your life” and your routine is when things start to fall apart. I was the same way for awhile.

  6. oh jamey, jamey, jamey! don’t we all have something we could have, should have done!?! my thoughts on kissing…I regret only a couple of things. I regret NOT kissing my first kiss more! I also regret kissing one of the guys MORE than once. if I didn’t feel it the first time, why would I subject myself to it a second time!?! lesson learned! I’m sorry you you didn’t get to kiss marsha, but I think you made a good & respectful choice! I’m sure her guy is thankful to you now! would you have wanted a guy to do the same for you if it would have been your girl in that situation!?!

    • That’s a fantastic question (and thanks for sharing your regrets): In that same situation, if I was the only person my girlfriend had ever kissed, would I want her to kiss another guy. My answer, truthfully, is unquestionably yes. I WANT to be compared to other men. I don’t want to be a default choice. That’s not even a choice. Maybe that’s why a part of me regrets not kissing Marsha.

  7. I was in the same kind of relationship but we actually kissed and it screwed everything up. Your images of what could have happened are probably better than the real thing anyway. Good choice, young grasshopper.

  8. This reminds me of getting the kiss I wanted for a long time.

    I just graduated not a long ago. There was this guy I had a crush on for what it seemed an eternity. I didn’t do anything about this because I was too chicken to even say “hi”. On the last couple of days before our graduation, I decided to go kiss him. I wanted to end my college career with, what I considered, a BANG! I thought of many worse-case scenarios; getting push back, a slap in the face, etc. that could happen if I do this. Because this guy was a very private individual with a few words and also smart and good-looking with a body that went with it. I got hold of one of his friends’ number to find out where he lived. I went to his place, knocked on the door, gave a small kiss on his lips, and left. It was a great day! I still think about it once a while.

    I don’t want to have many regrets in my life. The less, the better. I like to take action, complete it, and move on to the next. Otherwise, I know I will just keep thinking about it until the day I die. Of course, one must also look at if the situation is appropriate to the desired action. I’m glad that you and Marsha didn’t kiss. The desired action was not appropriate in that situation. Kiss or no kiss. You can’t go back, so why not just let it go?

  9. Glad you two didn’t kiss. 🙂 It sounds like this was a turning point in recognizing that what you had was a romantic relationship, not platonic. A lot of marriages today end because of friendships that become emotional affairs that become physical affairs. I sometimes think dating is like marriage training… we can use dating to play with fire or we can use it to build character and restraint that will later come in handy. I know a kiss sounds like a small thing, but it sound like this experience was good “marriage training” for both of you and showed a lot of character. 🙂

      • Ah, interesting! That stinks. Sounds like it was way more romantic than platonic! It’s also possible she was protecting her heart… I’ve done that before. A guy I am attracted to wants to stay friends with me while I’m in a serious relationship… and as much as I want to stay friends, I can’t seem to handle the friendship in a healthy way (us girls are SO good at growing emotionally attached to people!).

        • Interesting. I can see that about women. And people in general. It’s tough to be friends with those we’re attracted to. I’d like to do a post about men and women as friends someday. It seems like a lot of fellow bloggers have something to say about this.

  10. Wow, did this ever stir up a hornet’s nest in my gut. Mine isn’t a missed kiss, but a missed “I love you” to the first guy I ever fell in love with. Now how’s THAT for something you can’t ever get back. I’ve written a memoir on the subject, lectured myself (and been lectured) to leave it in the past. I have, mostly. There are times, though, (like when I read a story like yours, lol) that my stomach twists and I close my eyes and wish more than anything there was a way to go back there. To be nineteen and not stupid and not afraid. On my dark days – I really believe my entire life would have turned out different. The rest of the time I can joke about it and hope he’s happy.

    • A missed “I love you”…so much was hinged on that. Did the guy love you too and just not have the strength to tell you? Isn’t it amazing how the key choices we make can change the entire path of our future?

      • Of course I’ll never *know* the answer to that, but my gut instinct is yes, he loved me. He wouldn’t have said it first – I’d insisted on “just having fun” never intending to fall for him. Or vice versa. Sigh. Yes, it’s scary how every decision has the potential to alter our course. Sometimes forever.

  11. I know I’m jumping on this a little late, but great topic Jamey.

    Kisses, whether absent, aborted, or given fully, are tied up with so many memories. Good and bad.

    One memorable kiss I received was one that haunted me for about two years. I’m lucky enough to think I was truly in love once in my life. I was in Chicago. We went out to one of my favorite restaurants. She broke up with me. We took the train back to our neighborhood (separate nearby apartments). Don’t know why I didn’t catch the next train. Her stop was one before mine. Before she got up to get off the train, she leaned in, kissed me, and said goodbye. Goodbye, indeed.


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