I don't remember the first time I held hands with a boy...but I do remember the first time(s) I was propositioned to hold hands with a boy.
I was only 12 (I think) and he was my neighbor.
A few of us went to see The Village. (Yeah, that weirdo M Night Shyamalan movie...no, no, not that one, the other one.)
We're watching Big Red run through the deceptive forest full of monsters, when my neighbor leans over to me and says, "Hey, do you want me to hold your hand?"
Granted, he was probably young and scared of the forest monsters, so I applaud his wording of, "do you want ME to hold YOUR hand?" Instead of saying, "Please, hold my hand. I love you."
I didn't know what to do. 1. I didn't want to hold his hand. 2. My hands were all sweaty anyway, so I didn't want to impugn my own reputation by being known as Kelli SweatyHands. 3. No prior pop-culture knowledge prepared me for this moment.
So what what did I say?
"Uhm, I think I'm fine. Thank you though."
We never talked after that.
The second time a boy asked me to allow him my hand in cinemas was when I was 13. We were watching the Day After Tomorrow because it came out on the last day of school and so I guess we decided to celebrate by watching the end of the world.
The thing is, I liked this boy. Or rather, I liked that he liked me. (Isn't that how it always goes?)
Also, he was a semi-celebrity. (He had a small role in a film with Keanu Reeves. So. Yeah.) Just in case he was famous someday, I figured I could let him hold my hand while Dennis Quaid traipsed across America in search of Jake Gyllenhaal. Whatever.
Here's the thing though, even though I was a wee bit older, I was still Kelli SweatyHands and I didn't want rumors to start swirling among Keanu and friends that I was some freak of nature.
He never explicitly asked to hold my hand, or let him hold mine or whatever, but I could sense the tension building between the arm rests.
And I was thinking, "Crap. What do I do?"
So I grabbed a napkin off the ground (in the dark) to dab the excess sweat off my hands (my life, man haha) when all of a sudden, I realized the napkin was covered in nacho cheese.
And now my hands were covered in a weird combination of cheese and perspiration! I was trying to hide this, but there was A LOT of cheese and it was gross and you could smell it.
So precious, young Keanu (who was watching me this whole time) who had such a way with words, said, "What are you doing?"
I tried to think of an excuse off the top of my head, "I dropped my nachos!" "When does Jake talk to the bunny?" "Is this the part where D. Quaid joins that baseball team?" "Are these your nachos?" "Who bought these dang nachos?" "So what's Keanu like in person?" but the situation was hopeless.
"Uhm...I think I got cheese on my hands?"
Needless to say, there was no hand-holding that day.