On Tuesday, Jenna Guillaume, the Editor-at-Large for BuzzFeed Australia, shared a Twitter thread about her first breakup that went viral because it contains all of the classic elements of ’90s rom coms: an awkward kiss, a bet, a mean dude, and his even meaner best male friend.
It goes like this: back when she was 13, Jenna started started dating this guy named Ryan, after their mutual friend, Ross (Ross!), made a three-way phone call in which Ryan was secretly listening in. Ross asked if she was into him and she said, “uh I don’t not like him I guess.” Before the age of online dating, this was how most high-school matches were made.
Jenna wasn’t really very interested in Ryan, but like Drew Barrymore’s character in Never Been Kissed, she had never been kissed, which was a point of consternation since back then not making out with someone by the age of 12 was a sign that you were doomed to become a loser.
“I wasn’t that into the guy but I was really worried that I hadn’t been kissed yet,” she wrote. “But then when we started going out I didn’t really want to kiss him. We just held hands at lunch time while actively trying not to talk to each other.”
Again, another classic ’90s high school love affair.
“Anyway, I’d been ‘dating’ Ryan for about 10 days when we collectively decided it was about time we kissed (collectively, because his mate Ross was included in all decisions. Like we kind of talked through Ross because we were too afraid to talk to each other).”
Then the big moment arrived.
“I met Ryan and Ross at the beach. I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend and was keeping it a secret from my parents. So I used the cover of taking my dog for a walk. She was a large and beautiful Old English Sheepdog named Sue Sue. I handed over Sue Sue’s lead to Ross to take care of while Ryan and I were ~doing it~. Ross informed us he was going to time the whole thing on his watch. Ryan and I walked about two metres away up the sand dune from Ross and Sue Sue, for privacy.”
Spoiler alert: the kiss was not good.
“Ryan proceeded to come at me with his tongue already out and kind of slobbered on my chin before finding my mouth hole. He flopped his tongue around in my mouth for like 10 seconds. I was horrified.”
All good rom-coms include a kiss foiled by a dog, and this story is no different.
“I guess holding Sue Sue and trying to time the kiss got too much for Ross, because the dog, who had been barking this whole time, broke free and launched herself between me and Ryan. Saved by the dog.”
She ran away and avoided Ryan for the next three days. Then the Act III phone call came. Ross called her on her landline (!!!) from a payphone (!!!) to tell her that “he was with Ryan, and was calling to let me know Ryan didn’t want to be my boyfriend anymore because I was frigid.”
Clearly, this is messed-up, but also typical for the era.
“Because I refused to relive the horrific experience that was our first attempt at kissing, and didn’t want his mouth anywhere near me ever again, I was being dumped. For some reason, this conversation went on and on and on. I didn’t say much, but Ross had a lot to say I guess.”
The conversation went on for so long that another boy from their school, Stephen, stopped by the phone they were at and, upon hearing that Ross was talking to Jenna, shouted into the receiver that she and Ryan made a very cute couple.
“Ross and Ryan must have been standing nearby making desperate gestures to get Stephen to stop talking, because after about 30 seconds he realised what was going on, stumbled, and was like ‘oh, um, well. I guess you guys aren’t together anymore.’ There was an awkward silence.”
This is why payphones are one of those things from the ’90s that people are nostalgic for but shouldn’t be. Now, here’s why landlines also belong to that list. Remember that Jenna wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend.
“Ross got back on the phone and the conversation went on, but I really can’t remember much more of it. What I DO remember, most vividly, is what came next, after I hung up the phone. It was the cordless phone, and I was on the floor in my room. 30 seconds later, my mum and my 7-year-old brother came into my room. They wanted to know if I was okay. Well, my mum did anyway. Because both of them had been listening in on the WHOLE CONVERSATION via the extension in another room!!!! I tell you, I wanted to die.”
In the romance of nostalgia, it is easy to forget how landlines used to make it way too easy for your parents to spy on you. At least the phone call was interrupted by her little brother trying to get on AIM. Still, not the best way for your mom to find out you had a forbidden beau.
“That was how my mum found out I had a boyfriend. By listening in on the conversation in which I was dumped.”
But here’s where it gets really She’s All That.
“Ryan then told everyone that ew, he never even liked me, anyway. He went out with me ON A BET from Ross.”
This was probably a lie he concocted to save his ego from the shame of having a girl flee after you kiss her, because he was obviously more concerned about his own feelings than about how his tongue-attack affected her. Hopefully, Ryan has gained a little more emotional intelligence since then.
Anyway, the experience was so bad that Jenna spent the next two years saying she’d never been kissed, because she did not want to acknowledge the episode on the beach. But, as with any ’90s rom-com, this one has a happy ending, though it isn’t Ross apologizing and them making out by a swimming pool or a baseball field. Two years after the horrible incident with Ross and Ryan, she started dating the man she would later marry.
“My first kiss with my now-husband happened at the local under-18 disco. I was wearing Supré from head to toe. ‘Ms Jackson’ by Outkast was playing. We were surrounded by friends egging us on to get it over with. It was not romantic. We got better later though.”
For those asking, my first kiss with my now-husband happened at the local under 18s disco. I was wearing Supré from head to toe. “Ms Jackson” by Outkast was playing. We were surrounded by friends egging us on to get it over with. It was not romantic. We got better later though. pic.twitter.com/A5ZbwZgT17
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) August 1, 2018
Now, imagine this next line as appearing in the period between the end of the movie and the rolling credits:
“Ross and Ryan are still friends.”
For more great stories, check out 20 Adorable “How We Met” Stories That Will Warm Your Heart.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!