Ball Bearings Magazine Story: ‘A Kiss Isn’t Just a Kiss’; An Interview with Ball State J-Student Lindsey Gelwicks

In the photo, the two college students from Indiana are leaning toward each other, eyes locked amorously, lips puckered in anticipation– and hands blocking their mouths.  The odd last detail is a playful symbol of the couple’s vow to save their first kiss until after marriage.

The image ran alongside a recent report in Ball Bearings Magazine at Ball State University focused on the small segment of students who have pledged to refrain from kissing until their wedding day, even as hook-ups and half-night stands take place in bars and dorm rooms all around them.

During her reporting, Lindsey Gelwicks, a Ball State junior and Ball State Daily News section editor, found that for students saying no to lip service “a kiss isn’t just a kiss.”  There are religious considerations, family expectations, peer pressures, emotional intimacy issues, and the media-created fairy tale of what the experience is supposed to be.

As Ball State psychological science professor George Gaither told her, “We get these ideas of just how magical kissing is. Think about all the different Disney movies and how much that one kiss, how just important that is for everything, for solving all the problems that the couple has and overcoming all kinds of obstacles.  It all boils down to that first kiss.”

Lindsey Gelwicks, a Ball State University junior, is an assistant features editor at The Ball State Daily News.

In the Q&A below, Gelwicks talks about how she first stumbled onto the “Waiting to Kiss” story and what the featured students told her about their just-say-no decision and the benefits they believe it has brought into their lives.

Q: What initially piqued your interest about this niche group of students playing the kiss waiting game?

A: I had actually started thinking about the idea around a year ago.  I was getting lunch with a couple of my friends, and we began talking about a Christian group on campus that one of them used to be involved in.  She mentioned that some of the girls in her Bible study group wanted to save their first kiss for marriage.  When I got home, I wrote the idea down on a sticky note and stuck it to my bulletin board where it stayed until I finally had the opportunity to develop it.  I never thought I would be able to make it into a full feature-length story.

To read the rest of the piece, check out my USA TODAY College “Campus Beat” columnClick here or on the screenshot below.

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