"There are some things in life we never forget, our first kiss being chief among them. Mine was Winifred Healey when aged ten. We sat next door to each other in class. Ever since I first set eyes on Winifred, I longed to kiss her and when our lips first met, I knew that we were meant to marry, have a large family and live happily ever after. We first exchanged kisses during a party game of post man's knock. With neither of us being experienced in the art, we didn't know where precisely to place our noses. After a minute's fencing she landed her fatal blow. I found my virgin kiss to be like love's first snowdrop, innocent but oh so suggestive of spring to come! I must confess that I followed my mother's advice and didn't close my eyes when we kissed, just in case Winifred was laughing at me.
That night I went home happier than I'd ever been and was so pleased with my catch that I stole an engagement ring from the grown up sister of my best friend, Peter Lockwood, which I gave to Winifred at school the next morning. Being the only ten year old who'd given his ten year old girlfriend a diamond engagement ring, by 4pm that day, when school was out, an all points bulletin was out on me and I was the 'number 1' criminal on Windybank Estate. I was taken to the Police Station in Cleckheaton by my dad, where a stern Bobby read the riot act and gave me a 1952 police caution; a clip across the head.
I had captured Winifred's affections, but alas, couldn't keep them or her. By the age of sixteen, she had scurried off to a convent to live a life of penance and become a nun. That was the first time I ever contemplated becoming a priest, but that thought left my head as soon as I met the delectable Doonie from Portlaw in Ireland. Doonie taught me when we kissed where to put my nose, tongue, hands or any other body accessory required. That's the trouble with kissing the older and more experienced partner; one never know where it ends up. It can start quiet innocently, and while it does not necessarily spread germs, it does lower one's resistance.
Nobody ever knows what lies lurking behind a kiss, especially when it comes from the lips of one who knows how to kiss and both parties have crossed the threshold of their late teenage years. More often than not, an upper persuasion can lead to a lower invasion and before you know it, a shot gun wedding is in the offing with young parenthood soon to follow.
I have seen too many mates in my day (1950s and 60s), marry far before their time, 'doing the right thing' after 'having done the wrong thing.' Most marriages lasted or were made to last then, though I strongly suspect that after the birth of their fourth or fifth child, the kissing between the couple became less frequent and more peckish than one of romantic starvation. Perhaps the first sign of a marriage growing staler is shown through the nature of the kiss; whether it is given out of desire, mere habit or consolation?
I have long been interested in the different customs of the kiss between one country and another and the different language a kiss speaks. First, there was the kissing of the hand by both French and English gentlemen. Next, some countries greet with a gentle kiss on one cheek, others on two. Then there are the Americans, who hold the record for filling their life with empty gestures. The Yanks have always gone overboard with their superficial welcomes and displaying an art of falseness that enables them to kiss either friend or foe at a social gatherings in precisely the same manner. They simply get around this dilemma by kissing the air while they are really thinking, 'Kiss my ....'
I know that I was born in a different age and could never hope to compete with the expected kiss of a young boy and girl today. In fact, it makes me fair breathless just thinking about it. Imagine someone from the 1940s, 50s or 60s telling a young person today, 'I married the first man who kissed me', they'd think them a fool.
And then there's Sheila's kiss. While I never did marry the nun on the run, at least I settled for a convent-educated bride who had the power to capture my heart and soul. One kiss stolen from her and I was imprisoned forever. However many girls and women I have kissed over the years, I could now close my eyes and know Sheila's kiss without fail. In fact, I swear that were she to come back into my life and kiss me on my brow when I was dead, I'd feel it!" William Forde: April 25th, 2016.
My signature song during my wild days of youth by my then favorite singer Dion: