It was summer, we were at camp, and Karen was willing. Starting when I was 10, I had seen every James Bond movie, so I knew how to kiss and how to handle women. You brought her face to yours. You inhaled deeply - since you wouldn't have a chance to breathe for a while - then you went for the kill, uh, kiss.
I'm not sure I drew blood in those first few sessions, but I must have startled Karen, or at least, annoyed her a bit, although I'll imagine she still liked me.
"You kiss like James Bond," she said.
I smiled, content, taking in the compliment.
But it wasn't, of course. Maybe she had a bit more experience than I did, since she set out to teach me that gentleness, exploration and languor should really take the place of mashing my lips and teeth against her mouth. Things went better after that.
I was reminded of this upon viewing our James Bond slideshow, and thinking about how Sean Connery as Bond must have influenced the lives of millions of young men across the world.
It got us interested in cars and gadgets, in drinking and traveling, in kissing - and all the rest. And it instilled a funny kind of patriotism. What Bond did as he battled all those villains, after all, was done in the name of Queen and country. We imagined that we'd do the same.
The biggest erotic charge this twelve-year-old got from those early movies was in Goldfinger, from that dastardly murder I can picture to this day. First you imagined the naked woman, then pictured the villain who dipped her in gold paint. There was some pseudo-scientific nonsense about how she would have lived if a bit of her back had escaped the paint. But, who cares. The image of her body is forever burned, golden, into my mind.
And I hope I've learned to kiss a little better, too. Now if I can just work on my Daniel Craig abs...
Image - courtesy of Johan Oomen via Flikr