One of life’s great pre-pandemic pleasures was kissing near or total strangers in public. Nothing replicates the high of brushing up against a hot stranger in a bar or the dark corner of a house party, making knowing eye contact and a little let's-get-to-the-point small talk, then diving in for a big, occasionally sloppy smooch.
Hopefully, the later months of 2021 will herald the possibility to dive back into this divine lifestyle—and the arms of randos—safely, and with abandon. VICE asked people to reminisce on these precious, skanky memories to hold us over and remind us of all the people we're looking forward to hooking up with as soon as possible.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
The Adam Driver doppelgänger
I was out at a rave with a large group of friends, around 15–20 of us (lmao, remember going out in large numbers?). We're huge EDM fans, and one of our favorite DJs was playing a show in Chicago. The venue was one of the smaller venues in the city, but it's one of my favorites because of how intimate the environment is.
I may or may not have taken a few party favors before this show. By the time the main guy came on, I was rolling balls, just feeling myself and vibing out in my own little world as the bass kept pounding. In my euphoria, I locked eyes with one of the guys in our group who I wasn't super familiar with: an Adam Driver doppelgänger, but with a softer nose bridge and longer, fluffier hair. You can probably guess what happened next: We were locking lips and, my God, it felt incredible. A little sloppy, but I was high, so I didn't care. I ended up ghosting him right after because I was gunning on hooking up with a different friend in the group, oops. — Bella, 21
A three-way kiss on stage
Oh, god. It feels like forever ago at this point. But: Memphis. The Lamplighter. A tiny, packed, smoky dive bar on karaoke night. Punks, gays, and hipsters, all smooshed together.
It was my favorite bartender’s birthday, a week before he was moving to Chicago. About 2 a.m., drunk off my tits on $2 PBR. One Marlboro Red left. Got up to sing a very tone-deaf happy birthday to Thomas, and a couple more people got up to sing with me, or for me, because I can’t sing. Thomas comes up, and we all drunkenly sing. At the end, two of us hug Thomas, and, in the moment, there was a three-way kiss.
Don’t know her name and neither did Thomas. Never saw her again. Memphis went into a half-assed shutdown two days later. — Brent, 23
About three years ago, I was at a bar in Austin with my friends during our senior year of college. We ran into one of my roommate's classmates, and he tagged along. We all got super drunk off of a few giant, shareable margaritas (phrases that repulse you in COVID times). Me and the guy danced, then made out. I had only kissed one other person before—a guy I dated early in college—so it was exhilarating to make out with someone I barely knew. It may have just been the alcohol, but he was a great kisser. He was much taller than my ex and smelled really good. Our group hopped to another bar, and the guy and I made out again.
Everything was great until the nausea hit.
It was about three seconds between when I started feeling woozy and when I threw up on his shoes. He and my friends helped clean me up and we all Ubered home. He ended up texting me later that weekend to check on me, reassure me that he and his shoes were OK, and to ask me out on a real date—but I ghosted him. It was the most embarrassed I've ever felt in my life, and I couldn't bring myself to face him. We ended up at a few of the same parties later, by which point I was in a new relationship, and we were friendly and acted like nothing ever happened.
I feel a lot of different things when I think back to that kiss. Obviously, I'm still a little embarrassed—more so about ghosting the guy, which was pretty rude. I'm also glad it happened. It was really a big step in coming out of my very shy shell. I had never done anything like that before, and I'm glad I took a chance and had a nice make-out sesh, even though I should have had way less margaritas beforehand. — Meg, 25
Four a.m. cacio e pepe and a bean bag
God, it was one of those nights where you’re like, I’m just having one drink and then going home!!, but of course you end up having four drinks and dancing till you’re sweating through your outfit. I was in Brooklyn, at one of the only bars where there’s good dancing, and this was in February, when we shouldn’t have been out anymore, but were all still going out.
We met at literally the water fountain: I was slamming Dixie cups of water (because of the drinks and sweating). When he walked up, I drunkenly was like, “Here’s some water!!!” We made our way to the dance floor. He was visiting from Paris (of COURSE) and either I was just riding the high, or he was a really great dancer. My friends were standing a few feet away, which I was keenly aware of but did not care about by the time dancing inevitably led to a lot of mouth and neck kissing. Neck kissing!!
When the bar closed, a bunch of his friends appeared from the ether and we went back to one of those stupid high-rise buildings along McCarren Park, and—I swear to god—one of his French friends whipped up a big pot of cacio e pepe for a 4 a.m. snack. We sat and kissed some more on this giant bean bag and then I called an Uber home because I am too old to stomach taking a morning cab home from a tourist’s loft. — Haley, 27
A wordless makeout sesh
This group of my male buddies always gets together for Boston Calling Music Festival. One is a booking agent, so we have access to most events. His company had a lot of talent on that year’s bill, so a lot of his co-workers were at the fest as well. We all hopped from stage to stage, watching various artists. At some point, the two groups gelled and started hitting stages as a collective: me and my guys, and a group of girl co-workers. There was some innocent flirting, but nothing overt. I'd taken notice of this one girl, but she'd be giggling at a table, I’d walk over, and she'd go radio silent. I assumed she wasn’t interested, and fair enough.
After the fest, we all went out to some random Boston bottle club. Me and my buddies celebrated on the corporate cards and bought a few bottles at the club. We were hanging, dancing, partying, enjoying ourselves. The woman I'd noticed discreetly grabbed my hand and walked me to the other side of the club, away from our friends, and with no words, planted my hands firmly on her ass and kissed me hard. Straight desire and no control. I stood there, confused, as this was the same lady who had iced me all day, and then she walked us back to the table with our other friends as if nothing happened, and proceeded not to say a word to me all evening. — Nakim, 37
Long-lost love in Texas
The first time I went out in Austin, my friend Joseph took me to Cheer Up Charlie's, a gay bar. I was still closeted. I was inside dancing by the window and saw a cute boy on the other side of it. I tapped on the window and waved for him to come in, and he nodded. He disappeared, then, a moment later, parted the sea of people to get to me.
We briefly introduced ourselves; his name was Jake (or Jack?). We drunkenly danced for a bit, bodies pressed against each other. At one point, he kissed me on the neck—it was more like a peck. It was like in the movies where we almost were going to mouth kiss, but Joseph said we had to leave. It wasn't a proper kiss, but I still think about that moment all the time, and I’m pretty sure I’m still in love with that boy. — Kim, 29
Falling in love in broad daylight
I was traveling around Australia at the time, trying to make the most of being young, wild, and free. It wasn't technically a stranger kiss, as we went on a short date, but she was pretty much a complete stranger anyway, as I knew next to nothing about her.
We met the night before and danced and had drunken sex on the beach. The day after, we tried to be more civilized and arranged to go on a short date, but it was pointless, as we were travelling in completely opposite directions so knew it would never work out. We went surfing together and spent a good few hours making fools out of ourselves; one notable part of the date was my foot completely cramping up, and thinking I was going to drown in front of this girl I was trying very hard to impress.
We walked back to town, and it was time to go our separate ways back to our hostels. For whatever reason, we leaned in and had a full-on smooch in broad daylight that caught me (and probably her) completely off guard. I remember thinking that I must have gone completely wild by doing something so impulsive, completely sober, after knowing somebody for a grand total of one day. We never spoke to each other again after that, but for that moment, I was 100 percent in love with her. — Josh, 25
A spur-of-the-moment Irish threesome
A month and a half before the pandemic started, I took a 10-day, three-country solo trip to Europe. While I was in Dublin, the hostel I was staying at was promoting a pub crawl around town, so I signed up.
We visited five different bars. At the last one, around 2 a.m., my pub crawl group and I started talking to a couple local guys. One of them mentioned that he could get me into the VIP section upstairs, so I asked him to take me. It was closed for the night, so we started to walk back to our group, but stopped to make out against a wall. I was completely sober, but it was a decent kiss. I decided to go home with him, but, as we were getting ready to leave, he and his roommate asked me if we could have a threesome. It took me a while to figure out what they meant because they call it a “three-way” over there, and, with their accents, it sounded like “tree-way,” so I said, “What??” about three times before I understood, haha.
It was a new year, I was in a different country, I was 25, and I was really excited for 2020 (LOL) and wanted to say yes to more things, so I agreed to my first-ever threesome. I made out with both of them on the taxi ride to place, and we ended up at a three-bedroom dorm at the local university. I was not aware that they were only 21, but the show went on.
Whenever I think about that night, I feel embarrassed because it ended up being really bad sex, haha. I should’ve been a little more tipsy. I didn’t get any of their information, so I don’t know what they’re doing with their lives, but I hope they’re doing well on the other side of the world! — Maggie, 26
A first-ever girl kiss and tater tots
My first girl kiss was with a stranger. I think her name was Bella. I was only out to a few people and was dating a nice white guy named Ryan.
Auguste, a friend from college, and I had gone to a concert, and afterwards we went to a smaller Chicago club called Berlin. It's a nice spot, but I wasn't much of a clubber. I ended up losing sight of Auguste. Once I found her, she told me some older guy was harassing her. I, 5’3” and filled with alcohol and rage, took Auguste to look for him.
I found the man, who was standing near Bella and some other girls, and pushed him, and this six-foot-something guy was clearly confused. I yelled, “Get the FUCK off,” and he fled. I'm not sure if he knew exactly why I pushed him, but I felt like the toughest person in the club. Not even a second into my basking like the knight in shining armor I was, Bella swooped in for the kiss, rewarding my bravery. It was wonderful. Her lips were as soft as rose petals and tasted like what I imagined every secret crush's lips probably taste like, too. I remember feeling so infatuated with her as I bought her some sweet potato tots at the Cheesie's next to the club. We never saw each other again. — Geri, 24
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