And Then I Kissed Him…

As I try to blaze a trail but, more often, wander slightly baffled and damp-squib-like through life, I leave behind me an oddly-shaped wake of skills tried but not mastered: the guitar aged 11 (I wanted to be Joni Mitchell), show jumping aged 13 (anyone from a Pullein-Thompson sisters’ book), ice skating aged old-enough-to-know-better (and I am decidedly no Jayne Torvill). Mostly I got bored, or forgot to practise, or had a shonky knee, which meant I was never going to master a double axel (it is definitely the knee, not the lack of talent). But there is one skill I have neither tired of, nor missed a chance to work on. And, luckily, it is entirely unaffected by my knees, unless they go especially weak.

That skill is kissing.

So here, in no particular order, are three things I have learned about a good snog.

  1. The first ever time is NOT like it is in books. It will NOT necessarily be with Prince or Princess Charming. In my case, it was at a school disco with a boy whose greatest devotion in life was to the farm club pigs. Needless to say the earth did NOT move, though I did worry my two bags of Wotsits and four bottles of Panda Pop might make a reappearance at any minute.
  2. It can’t be taught, but it can be perfected. Like guitar, or show jumping or ice skating, good kissing comes with practice. And though you may need to find a few frogs, it’s a lot more fun than grade 8 violin. Plus…
  3. The person you least expect might turn out to be the Prince or Princess after all. Or at least, some kind of wonderful. The first kiss that really, I mean REALLY made me do the Mia Thermopolis foot pop was with a boy who had been an enemy, then a friend. But certainly not someone I’d ever cast in the leading man role. He was the sidekick, the best buddy, the Buttons character. He was not meant to be my matinee idol. Only, late one night, after walking me, my bicycle and half an apple crumble home, under a fire escape at the back of a kebab shop on Beverley Road, he kissed me, and then I got it. I knew that that was what I’d been waiting for.


And this is kind of the point. You don’t need the violins or the sunset or the balcony. You don’t even need Brad Pitt, but more of a Michael Moscowitz. Like Charlie says:

It was a movie kiss.

It was Leonardo di Caprio and Clare Danes in armour and angel wings on the balcony in Romeo and Juliet. It was Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on a black and white beach from here to eternity. It was Rhett and Scarlet, Holly Golightly and Paul, Jack and Rose.

It was me and him on the front step, on a rainy night in Nowheretown.

But that’s what made it perfect.

(‘The Movie Kiss’ in And Then He Kissed Me, 99p at the iBookstore until January 6th)

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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