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Naomi Major, "[sigh] Mark Holland"

I wasn't so much sweet sixteen and never been kissed as self-doubting sixteen and never fathoming a boy actually noticing me and wanting to kiss me. I spent most of my teens in fantasy, watching Molly Ringwald movies and imaging I too could be swept up by the cool guy and never have to worry about feeling ostracized again.

At high school in Toronto, I played in the concert band. Part of the program was to exchange bands with an American high school. The night the band from Evanston, Illinois arrived we all waited in the school gym to greet them, and that's when I saw Him. He was the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen. And he was popular; he was enveloped by friends laughing and joking; he didn't seem to notice he was in a foreign country surrounded by strangers. I thought I saw him look at me, but I knew I was mistaken.

They began calling out names. At "Mark Holland" he stood up. Instantly I thought of my options. Naomi Holland or Naomi Major-Holland. I thought he smiled at me, but I knew I was mistaken.

I wasn't mistaken. He did look at me. He did smile at me. And then during the four days of the exchange he talked to me. And then on the last night of the exchange he kissed me. We were at a party "slow dancing." Which in teenage terms means wrapping your arms around your partner and turning in a circle at a glacial pace. The kiss was perfect, even better than Molly Ringwald being kissed by Michael Schoeffling at the end of Sixteen Candles. It wasn't just that he wanted to kiss me, it's that he kissed me in front of EVERYONE! Everyone could see that I was worth kissing.

It turns out Mark Holland had a girlfriend back in Evanston. By which I wasn't just crushed, I was doomed: I spent years attracted to unattainable men who lived in far away places (but that's another story). Regardless of all that, when asked about my first kiss, I always smile, sigh wistfully and say "Mark Holland, from Evanston, Illinois."

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