I’d never kissed a man before. Ne’er before a man had I kiss’ed.
His room was decorated with handwritten postcards.
“Sing a song and enjoy every word.”
“Savour the tastes of apples and cookies and mushrooms and pies.”
“Spend twenty minutes every day learning something new and five minutes the next day remembering what it was.”
“Find the good in every sexual experience.”
I’d seen him in a bar, teaching a friend how to tie a tie. He was very patient, very reassuring. Then some other people in the bar asked him to teach them how to tie ties too. Soon he was teaching everyone. When all the ties were tied, he came to me and said, “How about you?”
“Thank you, but I’m okay. I don’t wear formal wear.”
“I’d love to see you not wearing formal wear,” he said. Then he laughed loudly at his own boldness. And I laughed too. He was very disarming.
He took me back to his. Said we didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. Asked if I wanted to kiss.
And after he kissed me, he shouted, “Caprese salad!”
“Caprese salad!” he shouted again. He didn’t explain why.
Every time he kissed me that night, he shouted a different foodstuff. “Strawberry cheesecake!” “Beef lok lok!” “Black Sesame Froyo!”
It was the first time I’d ever kissed a man–maybe that’s just what men do when they kiss other men. I told a friend about it afterwards, and they were as baffled as I was.
I decided to go out and find another man to kiss, see if they did the same thing. The man I met this time was a gardener, I found him in an allotment on a sunny day. When the other men on the allotment took their shirts off because it was so hot, he left his on. I respected him for that. His apartment didn’t have motivational messages on the walls. Maybe he knew other ways to be happy. When we kissed, he didn’t shout a meal out, and I kind of missed it. So I shouted one instead. “Potato dauphinoise!”
“I beg your pardon?” he said.
“Potato dauphinoise!” I shouted again. I didn’t explain why. He got it immediately. We kissed some more, and took it in turns to shout food. “Mango chutney!” “Oreo mugcake!” “Osso bucco!”
I heard from friends in the following months that more men were shouting foods after kissing, to the point it was strange to kiss a man and not shout food. If you kissed a man and he didn’t shout food and you didn’t shout food, it felt terribly itchy.
Then there was a newspaper report about it, and shortly after the straights started doing it too, and by then it was kind of tired already. I stopped doing it.
Instead, every time I ate food, I thought about a kiss. Eat a nice meal, think of a nice kiss, it’s all nice. Try it yourself.