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Last year, when Peter was a freshman, the school newspaper did an article on first kisses. Peter read the article with interest later. Most of the girls didn’t think much of their first kisses, evidently. They said that either the kiss surprised them (one quote read, “Out of the blue! I reached for popcorn, and bam! Out of the blue!”), that the boy who kissed them was totally not who they wanted to be kissing, or that the kiss itself was sloppy, slurpy, or clumsy. One girl said he chipped her tooth. Another, somehow, got poked in the eye, and spent the rest of the evening being able to see clearly on only one side.

The boys told different stories. The girls, they said, thought they were great kissers, and their first kisses were “hot,” “romantic,” or both. One boy claimed he’d had so many first kisses that they blended together.

A student reporter, a girl with gold, wire-rimmed glasses, a splash of acne on her cheek, and a devastatingly nice smile, had interviewed Peter for the article. She gave him a short survey that included how old he was for his first kiss (Peter wrote, “13”), how romantic it was on a scale of 1-10 (9), whether the kiss was repeated later (yes), and whether they were still together (no).

The reporter said, “Do you have any advice for the way to make a first kiss memorable?”

Peter thought for a moment before saying, “Make sure you always have breath mints.”

She said, “Good one,” wrote it down, and the quote ended up in the article.

Everything was a lie, of course. Peter had not been kissed yet. Dante teased him about the article for six months.

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