In middle school I was always on the outside of the cool group, wanting in. By some miracle, when the chaperones of my eighth-grade field trip divided our class onto two buses for the ride to Washington, D.C., I ended up on the bus with all the popular, cute boys I’d been obsessing about for years, while their female counterparts were on the other bus. It was like a Judy Blume novel come to life.
While the exhausted chaperones sat up front, some of us went to the dark back seats with a deck of cards to cook up a kissing game. At first just the girl and boy who drew aces kissed. Luck was with me, and I got the first three aces. I was in heaven. The other girls grew annoyed, and the rules were quickly changed so that any matching cards resulted in a kiss: king with king, queen with queen, jack with jack. When that didn’t satisfy us, the girls took separate seats, and each boy spent two minutes with each girl. You could “just talk,” or you could “do more.”