Alright, kids, I officially started to worry about my ability to finish the AKIJAK: The 28 Before 28 Project. By specifying strangers, I unknowingly made this project much more difficult than in could have been, as a number of people I know have indicated that they would offer to help if they weren’t ineligible. However, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t set an incredibly high standard and feel like I absolutely have to complete it to be successful.
If you didn’t already know, “Kiss me, I’m Irish,” is a phrase that was made up because kissing the Blarney Stone is meant to be lucky, but if you cannot do that, an Irish person will do the trick. (I’ve already kissed the Blarney Stone, and did not receive the fabled Gift of the Gab, which is why I like writing so much more than talking.) Due to my dislike of the idea of kissing anyone for this project while either of us has been drinking (consent is sexy), I kind of figured I wouldn’t find a participant this day.
First thing in the morning, I walked to the bus stop, wearing my green trousers and a scarf I got for St. Patrick’s Day when I was in Dublin this time last year, and nearly immediately started chatting with a Northern Ireland ex-pat, who commented on the scarf. We talked about the way the holiday is treated here verses in Ireland (I let him know I used to live there). Although we had quite a nice talk about his family fleeing Northern Ireland in 1987, I sort of figured this solemn talk wasn’t the best time to introduce my project, so I did not ask him.
Shortly after getting to work, I had a coworker ask me, “are you going around kissing people?” I had to explain the parameters of the project, but he asked in good humour. I guess my coworkers know about the project now.
Part of me wishes I hadn’t said strangers, not only because some lovely friends have offered to help, but because I’d have a reason to approach people I already found attractive before the project started.
Some feedback from people who saw my post on Facebook: a friend is afraid I’ll get oral herpes. “The thing about strangers is they are strange.” Fair enough, but I’m not kissing everyone in sight, and so far I have tended to kiss only people referred to me by friends, so I feel I have a relatively low chance of that happening.
After I had assumed I wouldn’t find a participant, I had one handed to me on a silver platter.
3. Jay. Longest first kiss in the series to date. There were multiple onlookers, of whom I was conscious the whole time, and I was also conscious of standing on a couch to get close enough to lock lips (not due to him height, but just the fact that the couch was between us when I explained the project and he emphatically declared, “Get over here!” as an indication that he wanted to participate).
My friend Marie asked if I had met Jay before, and when I said I hadn’t she immediately told me to tell him about my experiment. I launched into an explanation of how it is not an experiment because there is no hypothesis, and his reaction to this moment of light-hearted arguing/explaining was incredibly entertaining. Laughing can make the whole awkward experience a little easier to handle.
While we were in our lip lock, I heard one of my friends ask if her roommate (all of these people were all in the same room where I was kissing this stranger) if he was interested. I overheard him say, “Nope, that crosses too many boundaries for me right now,” which is completely fine, and made my life a little easier, as I didn’t have to debate asking him. However, it felt weird to hear people discussing their likelihood of kissing me while I was kissing someone else (and while I could hear them).
I found out afterward that Jay is actually seeing my friend, and is part of an open marriage with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Awesome – I dig “alternative” lifestyles (I put that in quotes because I really wish I could just say I did lifestyles).
I considered asking one (or both) of the cute tech guys at my usual Tuesday night volunteering gig to participate, and tried to hover close enough to bring it up in conversation with a mutual friend who was there, but I was feeling so drained that I couldn’t get up the energy to do so.
I received a message of “damn, why did I have to become your friend a month ago?” from a man who thinks it would be creepy if he did the project. I told him I was doing my best to keep the creepy factor low. I wonder why it seems to be inherently less creepy a project when it is being enacted by a late 20’s woman rather than a man in his 40’s. If you have insights, let me know. Also, if you are in Victoria, BC, and are interested in participating, please let me know.
This project is very draining to my introvert sensibilities. I am using up way to much time trying to figure out where to find participants, and then going to the locations where I might find participants, and then ignoring things like chores and the fact that I requite time to myself to recharge. It is getting to the point where if I have an engagement that has little to no chance of me finding a participate, I get worried that I’m not going to finish the project (instead of just being excited about the event itself). I won’t find a participant in my locked house, but I really do need to do laundry tomorrow night, for example. I’m going on a date today, and I doubt it is socially acceptable to look for participants while we are getting to know each other.
After thought: I completely forgot that I wanted to write about (or at least mention) how intriguing it is that people are talking about this project, to each other in person, and not just on Facebook. I was mentioning to a friend that I needed help with my project, and imagine my surprise we she replied “is that the same project Marie had been telling me about?” Crazy! I did’t know Marie knew about it, as I hadn’t seen her comment on it/like it online.