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Doug Robinson: The first kiss and the long wait: Challenge costs Utah mom $20,000, but she's happy to pay

Published: Monday, April 14 2014 3:50 p.m. MDT

A couple of months after Abbie’s 16th birthday, her mother asked her, “Do you really want to wait?”

Abbie’s response: “Yeah, I think I do.”

For a while, there was safety in numbers. She had several friends who took up the same challenge. They called themselves the VL Club. Allison tried to create more incentive by offering to take the girls on a trip to a tropical locale — Hawaii, Fiji and Tahiti were mentioned — her treat. But one by one they dropped out of the club. Abbie is the club’s last member. She’s going it alone.

“I’m not judgmental of my friends,” she says. “It’s a personal decision. It’s what I want to do; I’m not judging what they do.”

Says Allison, “We know it’s not the norm. My son got teased a lot — man, you’re missing out. Some nights he’d come home and be emotional and say, ‘Is this too weird I’m trying to do this?’ ”

The truth is, Allison didn’t just fear the temptations that might follow a kiss; she feared her children would give away their hearts casually. She says she noticed the effect on teenage girls who gave up The Kiss only to find out it meant little to the boy. He moved on to other girls, leaving behind a broken heart.

“Then their whole self-worth is hinging on what a boy thinks,” says Allison. “The boy's kissed her and she’s wondering what does he think of me? I think Abbie has the inner confidence of who she is, independent of a boy. If she had kissed early and committed herself emotionally, and given a piece of herself to the boy, it might be different.”

On Abbie’s 18th birthday, Allison asked her daughter the obvious question: “Are you excited to kiss someone?” A couple of months later, she still has not given up The First Kiss.

“I’ve waited so long, I’m not going to kiss someone till I really like him and we’ve dated a lot," she says. "I want that first kiss to matter.” Glancing at her mother she adds, “I like that my parents have had awesome things to teach me.”

Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: drob@deseretnews.com

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