Spring of 1981, on an exchange trip to Germany. I was just a couple of months shy of 16 and lying through my teeth about it so I could drink beer with my friends. A group of maybe eight of us (guys and girls) were sitting in a bar in Berlin, talking and laughing, when three young men in US Army uniforms came over to us.
“Excuse me,” said one of them in English, “but are you American?” From across the crowded bar, they had picked us out by the sound of our laughter. German girls, one of them explained, don’t giggle.
They joined us at our table, and I slid over to let one of them pull up a chair. He told me his name was Tim. He was kind of cute. There was a lot of small talk around the table, and some discussion of the NBA playoffs, and Tim spent a good deal of time flirting with me. I remember being fascinated by his accent -- I’m from New England and he was from the deep South.
When our group had to head back to the youth hostel a couple of hours later, the soldiers walked out with us, and when we reached the corner where we had to go in different directions, Tim very smoothly pulled me aside and kissed me goodnight.
Up until that moment I had been finding him rather attractive, but he was a sloppy kisser -- very sloppy -- and that turned me off completely right there. I remember smiling and waving as I waited for him and his buddies to disappear around the corner, and then wiping my face on my sleeve.