Love Averages

The typical hug
lasts 3 seconds.
So does the average
wave goodbye.
That first kiss
we longed for,
the one that stopped
time? Scientific surveys
among lovers show it took
about 10 seconds. Speaking
of kisses, most will experience
their first around 15 years
of age. By 17.4 years,
the majority will no longer
be virgins.

But back to kisses.
Wedding photographers
recommend 5 seconds,
maximum, for that first
marital smooch. Any longer
and guests may grow
uncomfortable. Perhaps shift
in their seats. Maybe even
think, eww….

For women, an orgasm
is approximately 18 seconds.
For men? 22. But so much
for beginnings. Everything, every
thing ends. And though it feels
outside of time, catastrophic,
of course there are standard
ranges for conclusions
as well.

If your romantic relationship
is one you would describe
as “intense,” expect a 3-month
recovery period. If it’s a marriage
in shambles, divorces take,
on average, 17 months
and 26 days to get over.

But for us, it’s those
final norms that don’t
ring true. We were young
when we were together.
Now, my hair shimmers
silver in the Floridian
sun. Time spots scatter
across the tops of the hands
you once held. (For the first
time, according to that lovers’
survey, on either Date 1 or
Date 2.) And yet, I still think
of you every day and of all
our extraordinary ordinaries.

I still think of you.

“Lipstick on the Mirror” by freestocks.org is licensed under CC0 1.0

Paula R. Hilton

Paula R. Hilton is a novelist who explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, and NPR’s This I Believe, as well as in a number of literary journals, including The Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Hilton’s debut novel, Little Miss Chaos, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit. The novel was also a short-listed finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and selected as a 2016 Best Indie Teen Read by Kirkus. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and daughter and is working on Daphne and the Delirious Girls, her second book for young adults.

Categories: Dating + RelationshipsFeaturedPoetry

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Paula R. Hilton

Paula R. Hilton

Paula R. Hilton is a novelist who explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, and NPR’s This I Believe, as well as in a number of literary journals, including The Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Hilton’s debut novel, Little Miss Chaos, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit. The novel was also a short-listed finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and selected as a 2016 Best Indie Teen Read by Kirkus. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and daughter and is working on Daphne and the Delirious Girls, her second book for young adults.

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