HE SAID: Absolutely and unequivocally, yes. I will never forget my first serious first kiss. I was fourteen, had a huge crush on a girl I went to school with, and when I kissed her for the first time I nearly passed out. To this day, I remember the hair on the back of my neck standing up, my heart beating out of my chest, my knuckles going white as I held her arms and pulled her closer to me.
Now, this wasn't my first kiss. It was, however, the first kiss where I saw fireworks. And honestly, the things I felt then are the bar that I measure first kisses against to this day. Here's the thing: after a first kiss, I should want to kiss you more to the point where I have to fight myself to pull away from you. A good first kiss validates the attraction between two people and confirms that sexual chemistry exists. After a good first kiss, I should know whether I want to sleep with you.
Not every first kiss, though, is a great kiss. They can be awkward, especially if the moment is not right or even forced. Even still, we are physically wired to tell the difference between a bad kiss from a good kisser and a "this does nothing for me" lipsmack. If you feel compelled to try it again because of a bad first experience, then do so. In the end, though, trust your instincts. When you find yourself in the company of a bad kisser, end it. Quickly. Be honest, and explain that the chemistry isn't right. Whatever you do, do not drag this out — unless, of course, you feel that you're a master at making out and can teach your partner how to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Good luck with that; every relationship I've had with a woman where our kiss chemistry was off went nowhere, regardless of how much I hoped, wished, or tried to make things different.
SHE SAID: A bad first kiss isn't a dealbreaker for me until there's a follow-up bad second kiss, but I'll be honest, I've rarely been so impressed with a guy on a first date that I've overlooked a truly bad first kiss. And when I have, repeat unsavory encounters have tended not to get me terribly excited for a potential relationship full of more of the same.
That said, there's a difference between bad and awkward-bad. I'll cut some slack if we're kissing under the influence and are knocking teeth, but face-lickers, tongue-thrashers, and my-lips-are-sealed kissers need not apply. If a kiss feels like a dental procedure or a peck from Grandma, I'm probably not going back for seconds.
And let's be honest here, ladies—how many times have you forgiven a bad kiss and moved on to more R-rated activities to find that the dude totally rocks your world in every other department? In my experience: never. Perhaps I'd change my tune if I was proven wrong, but until then, please take your excessive saliva and drill-like probing elsewhere, thanks.
Of course, the bad kiss burden doesn't always fall on the guy. Kissing is a team effort, so even two good kissers can have a disastrous lip-lock if the chemistry isn't right. But if it is right? Frankly, a great first kiss should have me picturing him naked by the time our lips part ways, not planning my escape.
ON THE SOAPBOX
Abraham Lloyd is a divorced dad, closet geek and aspiring author dating in New York City. He believes all men should own at least five jackets, know how to dance, and pay on a first date. You can tweet him at twitter.com/abrahamlloyd.
Diana Vilibert is Marie Claire's Associate Web Editor, a chronic oversharer, closet romantic, and blind-date addict. You can e-stalk her at diana-vilibert.com.