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August 1, 2014 / TildeWill

Level Setting

Have you ever had an experience that changed the way you perceived an entire category of experiences? Before tonight, I’ve had this happen to me exactly twice. Once, when I was at my high school junior prom. I was out with my favorite people, on a date with a cute red head, and I was served the most amazing fillet mignon. Before that I knew what food tasted like, but I had no idea it could taste as good as it did that night with those people. That meal created a new gold standard for me by which I measure all meals. It has forever changed me.

The second time I had a life changing alteration of my perception was in fencing. Fencers in the US are either unrated or rated, once you are rated, you earn a letter, E-A. You can earn an “E” just by putting in the time and showing up. “D”s take a modicum of skill to obtain. I was a “C” and I had fenced enough B and A fencers to know 1) I was on the cusp of becoming a B, and 2) I could fathom the distance between myself and an A rating. One night at practice at Purdue, I had the opportunity to fence an Olympic fencer, who was in his prime 25 years before. I stepped on to the strip with all my “C” confidence, not expecting to win, but expecting to land a few good touches.

It was as if I didn’t even have a weapon in my hand.

No matter what I tried, attack, go on the defensive, focus on my feet, compound attacks, crazy unpredictable who knows what, I never even got close to scoring a touch against this guy in 50’s. That one experience opened my eyes to a totally different level of fencing that I had not understood to exist before that practice.

kiss faceTonight, I had a third such experience. I’m a good looking guy with my share of personality. As such, I’ve locked lips with a number of ladies in my time. Some kissers I’d consider to be good to great – with the right moistness of lips, the right tongue action, etc. Some were bad, too much teeth, weak kisses, bad breath, you know the kind. But tonight, I shared a kiss that was a level setter. Just the right pressure, the right slowness, the right height, and even the right hand/arm placement. A kiss that immediately made me excited about what’s going on. A kiss that simultaneously had me aware that we were kissing in a BART station, and not care about my surroundings all at once. A kiss so good that if drinks had gone bad, I’d still go out with her, just to have that kiss (luckily, drinks went great I think, so Yahtzee). I will never think about kissing the same way again.

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