I’ve written before about having never been kissed. But that doesn’t mean someone’s never tried to kiss me.

Back when I was befriending this fellow blogger who liked to hold my hand, I’d had fantasies about what it would be like: kissing him, fooling around in my car. Never anything romantic or long-term — just a passing thrill to satisfy my starving imagination.

I’d never done anything with another guy.

We had such a good time hugging in the rain and such, and we quickly scheduled a second hangout. A month later, this guy came to visit me, and we repeated much of the same ritual: lunch, hand-holding, and a round of frisbee golf fraught with hugs.

It was a hot summer day, and he took off his shirt somewhere between holes 5 and 10. He was attractive with a nice body, and it was hard to look away. I could tell he wanted me to look. I intentionally walked ahead of him twenty paces between holes to avoid the constant hand-holding and hugging.

The way he looked at me, the way he talked with me seemed even flirtier than last time. It bothered me.

We finished our game and returned to my car, and he reached for my hand on the driving wheel and held it. He sat shirtless beside me, and I wondered how far this would go. Part of me wanted more; part of me most certainly did not.

By day’s end, we found ourselves sitting on a bench by a lake. Nobody else was around, and as he held my hand he set his head on my shoulder.

More escalating heartbeats. More thoughts and flurries.

Was this okay? Was this too far? How much touch was too much touch?

“You have such strong arms,” he told me, feeling them.

“Thanks?” I said, shifting in my seat.

We sat in silence for the longest time, his head on my shoulder, our hands clasped as one. The whole time we sat there, I wondered what lines I was crossing or at least toeing. I’d never experienced such perpetual physical closeness with someone, another man. I felt like a starship delving into a new frontier.

Then, without any provocation, the guy sat up from my shoulder and looked at me. I looked at him.

He leaned toward my lips, his eyes closing.

“No!” I said, leaping back, turning my face away as his lips neared mine. I let go of his hand and heard him groan in disbelief.

I don’t remember much after that failed kiss. I remember saying, “I love you too much for that,” or something. I remember walking back to my car. I remember his continuing to hold my hand as I drove him back to his car. I remember our hug goodbye as he filled up on gas.

And I remember never seeing him again.

I tried to stay in touch with him. I did enjoy our conversations and friendship, overly flirtatious though it was. But I think he checked out after his botched kiss. I suppose I can’t blame him.

We stayed somewhat connected online until I saw him start dating some guy, and that was basically the end of that friendship. We haven’t talked since.

I’ve relived his kiss attempt countless times over the years; it’s still the closest I’ve ever been to kissing anyone.

I wonder what would have happened had I accepted his kiss. How different things would be, how much more complicated my life and relationships and especially friendships with other SSA guys would be.

But the fact remains that I did not accept his kiss. For all my raging curiosity, I turned my face away with such an automatic reflex that still surprises me to this day.

I know my heart ultimately did not want a kiss with another guy. And everything else a kiss with another guy entails.

I’ve since realized that my heart longs for brotherhood, not a boyfriend. I’ve experienced health and healing in the confines of a man and men walking beside me, praying over me, hugging me, setting a hand to my shoulder, telling me I’m a warrior.

Not by kissing me. Not by having his way with me.

Not by sacrificing my convictions.

Thirty years on this planet, and I’ve never been kissed — though I still fantasize about it. Sure, someone tried it on me once. Someone as attractive as I could have ever hoped “my first” to be.

But I didn’t go for it. I just didn’t really want it.

Raging fantasies aside, I can’t help feeling I deserve something else, something better.

Did your first kiss meet, exceed, or fail to meet expectations? How do you reconcile short-term fantasies and the long-term reward? How has true brotherhood helped heal the wounded parts of you?

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