What’s In A Kiss?

What is a kiss? Is it a lip-locking, tongue-thrusting, mouth-watering pressure-packed-punch of passion-producing-probing? Or is it soft, sweet, and sensual? Where do your hands go? Are your eyes open? Do you nibble?

I want to know! So, answer the damn polls!!!

(polls are also available on the Polls Page.)

Dating the Young (an Informal response to Cougar Hunting)

OK. You’ve read about dating a 27 year-old (4 years isn’t really much of a difference) friend of my brother. How’s that going? Pretty good. He doesn’t want anything serious, since he’s fresh off a disastrous breakup. I seem to perpetually shy away from anything serious. But, how much younger can I go?

A few days ago, returning from a trip to the flooded airport, and unable to leave the airport (the flooding included the whole area around the airport), I asked a sweet-looking kid at an information booth to let me charge my phone. Nothing strange there, right? While my phone charged just enough to keep me communicated, the boy (seriously, a boy) straightened his tie, closed all the chat windows on his computer, and offered me a seat in the booth. I hesitated… Surely, I would be able to call home and figure out a way to get there soon (boy was I wrong, but more on that later).

He smiled; he thought that surely I was tired from my trip. I reminded him that I’d been sitting down during said trip. He asked me where I’d been. I answered.

“Is it nice?”

“Beautiful, too bad I was caught up in boardrooms most of the time.”

“Do you travel much?”

“Too much.”

“I’d love to travel, that’s why I studied tourism.” That’s when he decided to strike. “I just finished college, I graduated last month.” (He glowed when he said this, sure that his achievement would hook me.) “This is my first job, at city information booths, I’ve been here a few months, but this is the first time I was assigned to the airport.” Shit! So that’s why his suit looks so polished and he looks like he doesn’t belong in a suit (I’m pretty sure his mom bought it). He’s barely out of his teens! I mean, I knew he was pretty young, but that’s about a decade younger than me.

I smiled and tried to look unfazed that a kid that young was hitting on me. A call from his boss gave me time to regroup, and I decided that this innocent flirting with a kid was actually flattering. He hung up and told me the news, “It’s official, the airport’s closed because of the storm.” Considering the fact that my plane had landed in a puddle after 20 minutes of intense turbulence and lightning, this was not surprising.

“Well, at least my plane managed to land. I guess I’ll take a cab home, no need to have anyone else drive in this weather.”

He smiled at my perennial optimism. “It’s closed to traffic, too. No one can come in or out, the streets are flooded.”

That floored me. I was stuck at the airport, and all I wanted was to get home. On the other hand, there was the smiling kid on the other side of the counter. I called a friend (she’s been house- and cat-sitting). She told me the whole city was flooded, there was no way to get home. I hung up and let the phone finish charging. The airport already looked empty. No one had been able to get there in a few hours, and now, with no new planes landing, there were fewer people wandering the halls. Most of the stranded passengers were making arrangements at the airport hotels. I considered it. A bed is a bed, right? Then I decided to wait. The kid got another call from his boss, sending him home. Right! Home! As if he could get there. He closed up the booth for the night and tried for home:

“Since we’re both stranded here, how about some dinner. I hear there are some OK restaurants and bars here.”

I faltered. Dare I? One thing was flirting, but dinner… I told him I wasn’t hungry, but I could go for a drink. We walked over to one of the airport bars, and sat down. He told me about his plans to work at a hotel somewhere far away. We talked about the places we’ve been, and the places we want to go. His boss called his cell phone. An airport transport but would be taking employees out of the flood in an hour. He smiled, said I could go with him if I wanted to. I smiled, and used the exit I’d been given. No, I didn’t go with him, I was sure I’d be able to find a way home not that the rain had stopped. The flood had to subside at some point. We kept talking, and he left.

And now I wonder, does this kid have any idea how old I am? Do I look younger than I am, or is a thirty-something woman a cougar to a 21 year-old? In my favor, short, spiky, purple hair usually tricks men about my age (seriously, how many people travelling for business do you find in jeans and tank tops, with the aforementioned hairdo?). Do 21 year-old college grads look for women in their 30’s like 30 year-olds look for cougars?

Either way, I’m flattered.

Is age anything more than how we feel?

I want to revisit those emotional stages for just a few lines, Scott, because they really left me thinking. I think the transition from one to the other can be so slow it’s hardly ever noticed. Sometimes the smallest details are the most tell-tale signs of change, for example, becoming comfortable with our age. There is a very long period of girlhood when you long to be considered somewhat older than you really are. Some of us had the advantage of actually looking older. I loved it. I never corrected guys who thought I was 16, 17 or even 18 (I was around 14 at the time). I actually dated a few poor slobs who never knew my real age, and there was one particular 25 year-old who was (rightfully so) shocked and angry that his girlfriend, whom he thought was 20, was actually only 15.

College, of course, changed that attitude. I was over 18, therefore, proud of it. Also, I looked my age, not any older or younger. But then came a reversal. As I inched towards 30, my inner girl began to rebel against time. Birthday 26 caused a weeklong depression, 27 was NOT celebrated or even mentioned, 28 was shockingly close to the end of the decade, and could not be dealt with, and 29 caused a fit of drunken partying reminiscent of those days when, at 14 or 15, I could get into bars through dating older guys. And then it came, the dreaded day when I turned 30… Nothing happened. I did not immediately develop a need to find the love of my life, get the urge to procreate, or change in any way. I didn’t feel different, or look different either.

And then began the reverse age denial in public. Well, honestly, it started around 29. Guys in bars that hit on me got my age wrong every time… I looked 26, 27 tops, guys would go as low as 24 to make sure they weren’t insulting me by actually guessing my real age. How flattering! I let them believe they had it right. And so I sailed past 30 and into 31 looking 26 or 27 and acting 16.

Then something changed. I still find it flattering that men think I’m 26 or 27, but I smile at them and tell them I’m 31. I look younger, I act (way) younger, and I feel younger… but then, younger according to what? To a society telling me I should, at the very least, be married, have a home, have settled down in a job? That’s when it hit me! I look younger only because I don’t act my age according to what society expects of women my age. I’ll be 32 soon enough and it isn’t threatening anymore. I’ll still look 26 because I live my life according to what mainstream society expects of people in their 20’s. I’ve never been mainstream, so why start now? The fact that I’m comfortable in my skin, happy with my life (despite the job) and planning an unstable yet fun future actually makes me more mature than most women my age, despite what my brother might say.

And this brings me, in a roundabout way, to the dating conundrum I’m facing today. My (younger) brother has asked me once again when I plan to settle down. Not going to happen, especially when a lot of his friends are actually convinced that I’m younger. I said no, and moved on to the next drink. Then, one of his friends started hitting on me. No problem. I actually told him my age after he’d let me know that he was “also” younger than my brother by a couple of years. That party merged into another one and I ended up exchanging numbers with this man around sunrise. I’m going out with him tonight after I watch him play at a jazz dive. The problem? I don’t have the best track record with my brother’s friends, which means that he will completely freak as soon as he finds out, and the age difference will be a huge thing for him. Not that I’m considering not going on the date because of my brother, but I will have to deal with the aftermath. Also, last time I dated a friend of my brother’s, he fought tooth and nail against it, because of my consistent inconstancy, and then watched me trample on his friend’s heart (not on purpose, I swear), so this time there are more incentives. How do you handle brothers who insist on having a say in your love life? Should I warn this poor man that he’ll be told horror stories about me?

I’ll update the events as they unfold.