of a Kiss
eternal -- just that and no more --
When ecstasy's utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut, and lips meet!
-- Robert Browning (1812-1889)
that there is nothing more intimate, more passionate that two people can share
than a kiss. Kissing is good for your mind, your body, and your soul. A kiss
can lift the spirits, ease the pain, and energize. Most importantly, it connects
two people at their most vulnerable and passionate level for an instant in time.
a kiss I received once. It wasn't a kiss of love, not even of passion, but one
of magic. It was a kiss out of a fairy tale -- glorious, wondrous and fleeting.
I was a young girl, still innocent, still unburdened by all the responsibilities
of life. And I had the biggest crush on a man by the name of Jon Stewart.
It was the
summer of 2002, "The Summer of the Intern," as they called it. That hot, unusually
dry summer when not one, not two, but three key political figures confessed
to having affairs with their office interns. The evidence and confessions all
coming to light within weeks of each other turned the nation upside down. It
was chaos in Congress, a field day for the press and bounty like no other for
comedians and satirists.
was an intern that summer. I worked at The Daily Show, a fake news show that
combined satire with the variety of a nightly guest. I mostly ran errands, served
as a correspondent stand -- in during rehearsals, and once a week they'd let
me sit in on a writers meeting.
It was in
one of these meetings that it all began.
everyone's got one," Joe said, spreading his hands out in the air as he talked.
"We can write it like it's the hottest new trend."
filled the smoky room. Gathered around a long table, they all sat -- eating,
smoking, writing furiously. The shades on the windows were closed, but the hot
New York sun filtered in between the slits, making little golden stripes on
the floor. I was seated in a chair near the corner, where the cool breeze of
the window fan blew gently across my neck. It was my job during these meetings
to record everyone's ideas for jokes to use on the show.
up next, "Yeah, yeah, we can even get a couple shots of young kids asking their
parents for an intern for Christmas."
fighting over them in stores!" Gary added.
get CEO's talking about how they've had to increase intern production!" Seth
to scribble all the ideas down as their escalating voices competed with the
whirring of the window fan. CEO's, children, Christmas…hmmm, I hope they could
read my handwriting.
minute, wait a minute," it was Jon Stewart, the host of the show, and the man
of my dreams. Even though I was 20 years old, I was young enough to still be
prone to those obsessive crushes like you get in High School. The kind where
you idolize the recipient of your youthful lust, ranking them right up there
with such important people as George Washington, Thomas Edison, or Carson Daly.
is like six months away or something," Jon said, taking a bite of pizza.
but this will have all blown over by Christmas," Dave argued, leaning back and
putting his feet up on the huge oak table.
for a minute and then swallowed, "How about this, we go with the interns are
the hottest new trend thing, but expand it to ourselves. Not even we're immune
to the intern plague."
plague, are you getting this Eve?" asked Joe.
am," I said, scribbling on my steno pad.
"OK, I know
where you're going with this," Seth said. "How about we do something like, pair
each of the correspondents up with an intern, have a hidden camera or something
them can do a segment on 'How not to sleep with your intern'" Dave suggested.
Jon said, leaning forward lightly banging the top of the table, "And they can
be uh…walking around the office and wherever they go they uh…you know, see interns
making out with people!" He finished with a slight flourish of his hand.
exclaimed, swiveling around in his chair in excitement. "Each of the correspondents
can have one…even Nancy and Lauren."
shouted, "You! You have to have one too!"
was full of pizza, but he choked it back as he laughed.
the very end of the segment," Dave said, "We can be looking for you to do the
show, and it can be from the camera's point of view, and we can open the door
to your dressing room and…"
be making out with an intern on the couch!" Joe said.
know guys, you know how I feel about love scenes," Jon joked, "I don't think
it's in my contract."
won't be expecting it," Gary said.
know, cause you're the host, you're making fun of everyone who has…you know,
an intern lover and you then surprise, you have one too!" Dave said, wildly
gesticulating with a piece of limp pizza.
and thought, "I'm seein' it…I'm seein' it…" he said, nodding, "It could work…"
long till rehearsal?" Seth asked.
hours," Gary replied, "We'll have to work fast on this."
an idea," Joe said, "let's use our real interns. We've got like ten, don't we?"
fell silent. I looked up to see everyone staring at me.
it down, I swear I did," I said, smiling.
"Eve, how many interns do we have, you know all of them don't you?"
see. There are five guys and five girls. Not including me," I said.
enough," Dave said, looking at Jon. "We've got plenty!"
him an odd look, "Yeah, and if they refuse we'll just shock them into submission
like we always do!"
what I mean," Dave said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms. Then
he looked over at me thoughtfully.
Dave said, "how would you like to participate in this?"
up once again to find everyone staring at me. Talk about being put on the spot.
said, "Sure, it would be fun."
he said. "Will you do us a favor and go round up the others?"
I said, tossing my notebook on the table, "Good luck reading my writing this
the sounds of good -- natured groans as I closed the door behind me.
* * * *
* * * *
in Jon's dressing room, watching the crew set up the huge lights around the
couch, I thought I was going to puke. Not because I wasn't looking forward to
kissing Jon but because I was incredibly nervous. More than nervous, I was…PETRIFIED!
right. I had been picked to be Jon's "intern." After "rounding up" the other
interns, we met with another writer who talked to us about the goal of the piece
and what our roles would be. She told us it was all in good fun and asked us
if we still wanted to do it. Most of us wanted to. Then, just by looking at
us, she told us whose intern we were going to be. She paired me up with Jon
because I'm petite and Jon's a short guy. And then we went off to our assigned
locations to shoot. At first I kind of felt like a piece of meat, until the
writer started cracking jokes about the whole thing being a slave auction. At
least she saw the insanity in it all as well.
watching them set up the shoot, I felt more and more vulnerable. After all,
Jon was my celebrity obsession. As much as I tried to cover it up, I was just
another rabid fan -- a very rabid Jon Stewart fan. Long, long before I came
to work at The Daily Show I had cheered myself up at night by looking at pictures
of him on the Internet, or reading articles about him. I watched The Daily Show
twice every night, just to see Jon. I tried out for Fanatic on MTV. I, Eve,
was nothing more than a drooling, mindless fan posing as an intern. And I feared
that the jig just might be up.
the room, followed by one of the producers and the camera guy, Matt. He had
changed into a suit, minus the jacket. His sleeves were rolled up and his tie
and collar undone to give him a "been rolling around with the intern look" as
he put it. I smiled shyly at him. I'd had a cigarette with him in his office
earlier and he assured me that the shoot would be "quick and painless."
Madeline, the producer said. "Let's get started, we don't have long before the
show. Now Eve, you're going to be on Jon's lap. The shot is going to be from
the camera's point of view, we'll wait outside the door, with me calling for
Jon. Then we'll come in and the camera will pan up to see you two on the couch.
Jon will say his line and we'll cut there. You ready? Let's get in position."
my cue to climb into Jon Stewart's lap. Me, Eve, was supposed to just go and
get in his lap like it was a chair or something. I could never be an actress.
come on," Jon said, holding his arms out from his place on the couch. "Come
the room, I put one hand on Jon's shoulder and carefully got in his lap. How
many times had I watched The Daily Show and wondered what it would be like to
just crawl across that desk and into that lap? Well now I knew, kind of.
myself in, I felt Jon put an arm around my waist and rest his other one across
said. "Madeline, we've got to do more shots involving cute college girls. I
could really get used to this."
and I laughed, "OK," Madeline said, eying us, "that looks good, now I'll be
outside, remember to look up at the camera at your cue when we come in. I'll
leave the door open a crack so we'll know when to start."
that she was out the door, leaving me with the task of kissing Mr. Jon Stewart.
I would have pinched myself, but Jon would definitely have noticed. I was very
glad that no one else would be in the room, I had been having these visions
of 20 people standing around watching me do an on -- screen kiss for the very
first time. Later, I found out that Jon had asked that no one be there, in order
to make me more comfortable.
said raising his eyebrows and smiling, "This is an incredibly awkward situation."
do nothing but laugh. I was savoring the feeling of being so near him, smelling
his toothpaste and aftershave -- the hint of cigarette smoke that clung to him.
though," Jon said, lowering his voice and shifting his weight a little, but
holding on to me so I didn't fall off his lap, "I know you've never done…something
like this before, so if you get weirded out, just…uh…I don't know, slap me or
nervously, "OK," I said.
you ready?" he asked, smiling and drawing me closer.
"I have to confess, I brushed but I had a cup of coffee a few minutes ago."
love coffee," Jon said, his eyes sparkling at me. "I need some caffeine anyway."
again, the implications of his last comment making me even more nervous. He
was beginning to turn his head THAT way, you know the way you turn your head
before you kiss someone. And the thought of him kissing me, although it was
a very good thought, was just making me incredibly nervous.
my head a little, aiming for his lips. I had stared at those lips many, many
times before in pictures and on TV. And many, many times had I dreamed about
kissing them, and here I was, only inches away from actually doing it. The whole
realization of what I was about to do dawned on me and all at once and I came
out of my giddy, subconscious state, and I froze.
I said, pulling away suddenly, just millimeters from his mouth. "I'm just a
bit nervous." Lowering my head, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
I felt Jon's
warm blue eyes on me, "It's OK, sweetie," he said, tenderly placing a hand on
my cheek and turning my face to his. "I'm nervous too. I haven't done this a
whole bunch of times. It's hard to find women who are willingly to kiss me."
softly and couldn't help but wonder if Jon knew of the legions of women out
there would give anything to be in my spot right now.
and relax," he said, gently guiding my head to his. "I will be the overly tense
faded just in time, as my lips connected with Jon's. My first thought was, "Oh
my God, I am kissing Jon Stewart. My lips are touching Jon Stewart's." But then
I decided not to waste the moment by overanalyzing and to just enjoy it.
heightened, I felt his lips move across mine. He was very gentle with me, kissing
me very slowly and softly. But as I began to relax into his arms as I felt them
tighten around me, it was just a natural response from both of us when our mouths
opened and our tongues slid together.
my first thought once again was, "Oh my God, Jon Stewart's tongue is in my mouth."
In fact, as Jon Stewart's tongue gently flicked at the tip of mine, I kept thinking,
"Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart." Every time his lips landed on a new
part of my mouth, every time I felt his hand moving up and down my back, every
time his tongue lightly and oh-so-sweetly grazed the roof of my mouth, all I
could think was, "Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart. I am kissing Jon Stewart."
So much for that not overanalyzing thing.
It was just
-- for that one moment -- that one brief moment in my life when I was kissing
this man who I had been obsessed with for so long, I felt that a little piece
of him would now and forever belong to me. And I was awed at the fact that for
one short moment in all of Jon's life, all of his energy, all of his thoughts,
all of his movements, were focused on me and only me.
my life had I thought that something like this could happen. My obsession, my
crush -- that guy on TV who I really liked, was here kissing me. It was magic,
pure magic to me. And right then and there I decided that Jon Stewart was the
best kisser in the world -- even if this was kind of a fake kiss.
voice called out sharply, "It's time for the show!"
Jon's cue to look up. Madeline's voice tore through my mind, bringing me back
to reality. Jon looked up and said his line and Madeline yelled cut.
I have to
admit I was kind of dazed there for a minute. It took me a while for my eyes
to focus, but when they finally did, I saw Jon and Madeline both staring at
me. I had gone limp and Jon was holding me up.
I killed her!" Jon said.
Madeline laugh. I managed to regain my composure and keep myself in a sitting
position without Jon's help.
OK?" Jon asked, that famous expression on his face of trying not laugh.
I cleared my throat, "Yes, I believe so," I said meekly.
up. Soon Madeline and I joined him.
said, wiping the tears from her eyes, "Do you mind if we do a couple more takes?
Just to make sure we've got it the way we want it?"
at me, "Is that OK with you?" he asked.
I said, nodding and trying not to smile too broadly. But to this day I swear
I saw Madeline winking at me.
from the top!" Madeline said, exiting the room with the grand flourish that
she always did.
very soft lips," Jon said to me, his eyes sparkling, "So maybe that lip balm
addiction thing we were discussing earlier isn't such a bad thing after all."
as he leaned in to kiss me again.