The Excellent Kissing Boy

The Excellent Kissing Boy

Figure 1: Little Baby Reedus. This has nothing to do with anything.

Figure 1: Little Baby Reedus. This has nothing to do with anything.


The Excellent Kissing Boy was like all of the boyfriends of my youth. Kind of unloved and from a shitty family life and always smoking, always with a lighter in his pocket. Didn’t talk too much. Even after we started being together, he didn’t talk. He was very slow. Deliberate. I thought this was on purpose, back then. Like he had a plan. Or he was just stoic and unspeakably cool. Now I’m thinking he was scared shitless. I was a year older than him.

He played the guitar. Very well. He had the entire basement as his bedroom and I’d go over there and he’d play the guitar for like, 2 hours straight, while I sat on his bed. Upstairs, there was either nobody home or his drunk mother was passed out in front of the TV. Clearly there was a lot going on here.

You might think my boyfriend’s drunk mother upstairs was one of the main things on my mind. But she never came downstairs, even when she was ambulatory. She even let us smoke in the house, because she smoked herself. Kind of depressing, but I didn’t question it.

What was always on my mind was that I wanted to make out with him, but I was too shy. I couldn’t figure out a smooth way of doing that. I mean, it probably didn’t matter, how I inserted myself into his face – he always kissed me back and stuff. But at the time, the whole ballet of how you came to intersect with another person’s body really mattered. Would it be an accident or intentional? Did I seem too aloof or too eager? I couldn’t get it right.

All I know is that I listened to him play so much guitar my head nearly exploded in frustration.

But one weekend, I was brave, because he was playing his guitar on his bed and I sat beside him while he played chords along with Deep Purple (or Led Zeppelin? Who the fuck knows. Some old-ass 70’s band.) And then, I did whatever move it was, I can’t remember. Like, I put my hand on his thigh or head on his shoulder – those were my moves back then; pretty suave, I know – and we ended up making out.

Two things you need to know.

One: he always had MTV on when I came over. Back when MTV actually showed videos. He sometimes had the sound on (so he could play along with the music) but sometimes he just left the TV on mute and it was the only light in the room. Which was convenient make-out mood lighting, I guess.

Two: As you might surmise from his moniker, The Excellent Kissing Boy was a champion maker-outer. Like, it was just pure enjoyment for me to kiss him. Once either of us got up the nerve to make a move, we could kiss for HOURS. And he was the last boy I’d ever be with that wasn’t hustling us through the paces, trying to move the ball, if you will, gain yardage toward a proverbial touchdown. He never prodded or pushed or shoved. It was all super chaste and above-the-waist. He was, now that I think about it, like the perfect YA boyfriend. He was broken and talented but at the end of the day, he just wanted to take off my shirt and kiss me forever and ever. After being a guitar genius for several hours.

Of course, I couldn’t see that at the time as okay. As maybe something to do with his own internal struggle or lack of confidence or part of all the gross shit happening in his house with his fucked-up family. Of course I took it to mean he didn’t like me or didn’t want to do ‘it’ or that my hair was bad or something dumb like that. I was used to having to deflect and defend against sex stuff I didn’t want and once I found a guy who lacked such ambitions, of course I couldn’t just be, you know, happy about it.

Okay, back to the story. We’re making out. My shirt’s off, his flannel’s off, but he’s still wearing his t-shirt. And at one point, the videos on MTV stop and there’s this special on. It’s about Satanic references and heavy metal music. And we hear these preachers talking about how the music is making kids have sex and go to hell, and we both look up from each other and stare at the TV. Seriously, we were a perfect example of what those religious freaks wanted to happen; it was like they’d hoped they’d intercept young kids like us from immoral premarital sex or whatever. Obviously, this was kind of a buzzkill. After a while, we both sat up, disentangled from each other, leaned back against the wall, our legs in Levi’s hanging over the edge of the bed, his flannel in a ball between us. Him, lighting a cigarette, raking his long hair out of his eyes. Me, hypnotized by the television, grabbing the smoke from him for a drag and crossing my arms over myself in bra. The TV shouting damnation at us one minute and blasting Alice Cooper the next. I think I went home soon after the show ended. No more making out.

I ended up dumping the Excellent Kissing Boy not longer after.  Two days after he got suspended from school for smoking, in fact. Because I liked Another Boy. I was kind of fickle like that, in those days.

I don’t know if there’s a point to all of this. But I liked remembering it.




  • Incog Ninja on Sep 29, 2013 Reply

    Man, I’m in tears. I knew that boy well. <3

  • Loretta Ellsworth on Sep 20, 2013 Reply

    You made me feel like a teen again, Carrie. Do you know what happened to Excellent Kissing Boy? – lead guitar player with major band?

    • Carrie Mesrobian on Sep 20, 2013 Reply

      Nope. I’m not 100% on the details, but I don’t think it’s anything that successful.

  • Matthew MacNish on Sep 20, 2013 Reply

    You’re a fucking excellent storyteller, Carrie.

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