Christina M. Currie: Kissing cousins
September 21, 2007
Craig — I was in a restaurant idly listening to a conversation between a mother, her son and her niece. When she told them they had to share an order of fries, the girl exclaimed, “does that mean we’re dating?”
From the amount of laughter at nearby tables, I wasn’t the only one listening.
There was discussion about whether mom should nip this in the bud or whether tolerance in the face of their youth was called for.
Opinions were mixed.
I am generally a person who votes for tolerance, but I have my own issues with kissing cousins to deal with. And, if that experience has taught me anything, it’s that this is a situation that needs to be clear from the start.
What is it about cousins?
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I remember being 10 and discussing with my also 10-year-old cousin whether we should kiss. I was naturally opposed. I mean, we were cousins. He on the other hand, thought that one or two kisses wouldn’t make a difference in the big scheme of things.
But it’s a recurring theme. Five-year-old Nikki loves her cousin, Isiac. She’s forever eschewing a hug in favor of a kiss. He, at the wise age of 7, is tolerant, though disdainful.
I caught the roll of his eyes in the rearview mirror when Nikki draped her arms around his neck and laid her head on his shoulder for the ride home.
She didn’t even care when her 6-year-old sister said, “Nikki, you loooovvveeee Isiac.”
Her reply, “Yep.”
Katie was really aiming for her sister’s goat and that wasn’t it.
“But you can’t marry him,” she screeched.
“I know,” Nikki said. “But I’m going to love him anyway.”
So, I’m fairly content that Nikki knows, although isn’t happy about, the boundaries.
But just in case, communal bathing is no longer an option.
Still, when Isiac spends the night, Nikki will slip out of bed for one quick kiss.
Isaic, in his boyishly tolerant way, smiles a half smile and gives me a look that says he knows the line, but he’s OK with putting up with unabashed affection for a little while and maybe longer if none of the other guys are around.
My thought is that two girls whose older brothers live 1,600 miles away are enamored by the thought of having a protector, a path paver and a friend with just a little more seniority than theirs.
Or, it could be the beginning of those experimental years that I already fear.
Either way, I still argue that nipping it in the bud is the best course of action even though I’m positive they’ll hit that stage where boys are gross and cousins are dumb.
I’m sure Isiac won’t like that one either.