You read that title right .. Spin the Bottle, eventually replaced or followed by 7 minutes in heaven. I was recently was looking at some old pics from 8th grade, gotta love Facebook just when you thought your awkward outfit that you had absolutely had to have "please mom every one has Gunny Sack dress puhhhhleeeze", yes that one, and which you hope is not going to leave the pages of the sticky clear page family album is on the internet.
The outfit, 1981, lilac, lace at the top - did I sport a cameo at the neck? Yeah you bet, Gunny Sack (love my friend who called it at first sight), is the epitome of the late 70s early 80s, before hair got big, skirts got little and everything went from muted tones to neon. It looks like any moment I could break out into "You've got a Friend". My friend in the picture fares no better on the fashion front. She is wearing an off the shoulders (remember this is before one shoulder down Flashdance made that the style - when we all went and bought sweatshirts just to cut the necks off them so they could hang off... just ... so) white number - she too could break out in a folk song.
All of this led to a discussion about that era and somehow the spin the bottle topic was there. Spin the bottle ... for many it was their first foray into a kiss. You remember you prayed and held your breath and tensed every muscle, hands balled into fists cutting off circulation and getting a little clammy, hoping... yes... it's stopping... aww crud it stopped right next to the boy you wanted to kiss, right next to him, would anyone see you slightly pushing fate and tilting it toward him in the darkened basement on the floor where you all gathered???? Maybe you didn't push but instead kissed what may have been a perfectly nice other boy -- who looked much more thrilled than you or not, maybe he too wanted the bottle to match him to someone else. There were giggles, nervous laughter, as you both leaned across said bottle, awkward at best and if it was the boy of choice stomach was getting 10s in Olympic worthy gymnastic tumbles, hoping your breath was ok. You made it to the middle, balancing on knees and you could feel his breath on yours .. did you part your lips slightly maybe? A kiss is a magnificent thing. There is no in between, to quote my dear friend "it's like coffee or sex - it's either great or awful there is no in between" she is brilliant along with being pretty. A good kiss is transporting, takes you away, makes you feel places that deliver all over your body, you do not want it to end, it gets deeper and you anticipate it happening again. The other kind of kiss - which sadly at 7th and 8th grade is the more likely scenario was at best rushed, smack lips, pull away, blush, sit. The other kind is such a let down from the anticipation of the kiss .. it almost makes you angry. It is sloppy and it sounds almost like you are in a Get Smart ending in your body.. slam, crash, doors, gates closing on anything other than "eww".
They were exciting times this spin the bottle - and then the more awkward 7 minutes in Heaven, where many times you spent the first 6 1/2 giggling at each other, girl always walked out slightly mauled, boy always walked out slightly taller. They were innocent though. I mean really - as wonderful as some of those kisses were they ended there. There may have been some touching but there was an audience and that actually held you back.
In laughing and remember the spin the bottle stories it made me think of my kids today. I hoped that they too would find this a good entry way into the wonderful world of early dating, long make-out sessions to come later (now those with a bad kisser should be down right illegal... surprised that I did not drown from some of them, or suffer severe tongue damage from others). I hope that they find the anticipation of watching that bottle and being slightly awkward and in awe of just a kiss still exists for them at that age. Today so often, boy you know you are getting older when you start a sentence with that, you hear of the too many kids who are having various acts of sex at that age - and worse they are taking pics. Pictures that unlike my "ooh yeah but that was the fashion" comments could actually be detrimental to the people in them and downright haunt them.
I wish that my boys enjoy the rush of what the dimming of the lights in a room means, the sheer excitement that you may get caught by adults, of sitting in a circle with a bottle in the middle and knowing that while you may get a kiss that is it... it will leave you wondering what else is there and looking forward to it. It is ok to tell our children that as they get to certain ages they will find themselves dreaming about the other person and wondering.. all sorts of stuff. They do need to answer the wonder before they are emotionally ready for it. They should be ready to responsible and use protection against pregnancy, diseases and the consequences that these acts come with emotionally. If they are not well then they need to rinse out the bottle and give it a spin in middle school because that kiss .... well sometimes it is more amazing than what you could handle at that age anyway.