First Kiss Selfie 20 Years Later

When we were growing up in the 1980s and 90s, there were no selfies. We didn’t have cell phones, let alone smart phones or Facebook. We took pictures with plastic cameras the size of a rectangular tissue box (mine was hot pink). I used my camera mostly for family summer vacations at the National Parks, taking pictures of buffaloes and waterfalls. We didn’t take many pictures of ourselves back then.

We also didn’t live with the stress of 24/7 online peer pressure or cyber-bullying. I am grateful that my teen years were not instagrammed to death. A friend who educates teens in the public schools about mental health  told me during a lunch conversation that when he surveys classrooms, the number one most stressful thing for them is peer pressure on social media.

While at my 20 year high school reunion extravaganza,  I ran into my “first kiss” back in seventh grade and without thinking, I snapped this selfie with him. Take away the facial hair, and he’s got the same great smile.

I remember almost 25 years ago sitting in a circle on the floor in a friend’s basement on a Friday night. We sat boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl. And inside the circle was an empty soda bottle that spun with the flick of a wrist. Butterflies twirled in my stomach. 

Physics and adolescence created the occasion for two kids in the Bible Belt to kiss for the first time. As the bottle slowed to a stop, I saw that its top pointed at me, and its bottom pointed to Jason, a tall and goofy basketball player who I had a crush on. 

It was a time of innocence. We laughed and stood up from the basement floor. We walked into another room and closed the door behind us. Not knowing what we were doing, we kissed fast. It was an advanced calculus kiss in an algebra class. 

I didn’t text anyone right after that first kiss or post a relationship status on Facebook. The whole world didn’t need to know that my world had just changed. It was a smaller world in the late 1980s.

Right after I took this picture of us standing at the bar at the reunion, I said in Jason’s ear, “You were my first kiss.” He said, “Me too.” 

That first kiss led to a short summer of dating. My mother remembers driving me to his baseball games. I remember a few more kisses.  

Like the first time you taste fine chocolate or authentic maple syrup, some experiences stay with you forever. Now it’s Facebook official.


Published by Sarah Griffith Lund

Leader, preacher and author of *Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Church and Family*

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