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12th Jul 2018

#ShiftHappens We asked a load of Irish women about their first ever shift

Jade Hayden

first kiss

Shift Happens

Ah, your first shift.

An iconic, memorable, and totally harrowing experience for everyone involved.

Whether it occurred in a teenage disco, on a family holiday, or round the back of an XtraVision, it’s a kiss you’re unlikely to ever forget.

So in order to bring those questionable, sloppy, washing machine-based memories absolutely flooding back, we decided to ask a load of women to tell us, in detail, about their first ever shift.

An eye-opening portrayal of mid-to-late noughties Ireland.

*some names have been changed to protect the identity of the shifters.

Anna, 24

It was my third teenage disco at the local GAA hall and I was 13. I’d studied what went on at the last two and I was ready.

It was a classic “will you meet my friend?” – his friend approached mine and brokered the deal, I agreed my terms and we got together against the back wall as music blared and lights strobed.

The embrace, like any good first kiss, was a tangle of Lynx and acne and fear that we were somehow doing it wrong.
It was literally as transactional as that but I was thrilled; a fridgit no more.

Ruth*, 25

My first shift could easily have been my last.

It was Wezz. The year? I couldn’t say. But we were both young teens, and it was the sloppiest, most wiggly, revolting encounter ever.

It was like a wet, flapping fish flapping around my mouth and honestly, before I saw you ask this question, I thought I had managed to banish it from my memory. But this is just proof that it’s well and truly seared. An experience that may well have me scarred for life. Excuse me while I vomit a whole 11 years later.

Denise, 24

My first shift was before my first period.

I was on holidays with my family and their friends from Drogheda in France. My parents friends son, Leigh* decided to bring his bff, Jason* which luckily for me was really hot in my 12-year-old eyes.

Problem was, the boy and his friend were 14 so, I had to pretend like it wasn’t my first shift which was so scary because they asked me who I’ve shifted before and I started listing all fake names.

Keep in mind, I had no gals there to back me up bar my 8-year-old sister who had zero fucking clue as to what was going on but anyways, we snuck into the pool at night (me, Jason* and Leigh*) and we shifted in front of Leigh because he didn’t believe we would do it if he didn’t watch… as you do… and it actually was not that bad.

He texted me after, which was the day we were all going home, saying that he really liked me but sadly, I never saw him again.

He still likes my gram pics though… and he is now a RIDE.

Ciara, 38

I am a fridget.

Claire*, 27

My first shift was the literal worst. It was in Irish college and I was with a group of girls whose attitude was that you couldn’t go into secondary school having not kissed a boy.

At one of the discos, the girls and a group of lads formed a circle around me and some guy and kept moving closer together until the guy and I were shoved up against each other. So there was no real choice other than to kiss him.

I honestly don’t think I’d had a full conversation with this guy over the whole Irish college course so, as you can probably tell, I was delighted. Can’t remember exactly what age I was, either 11 or 12. I was just about to go into first year.

0/10 would not recommend.

Andrea*, 23

My first shift was backstage at a show. I was in a pantomime at the time and had to do a lot of waiting around in between shows so what better to do than get the shift?

I was 14. I think it happened around 5 o’clock just before we had to get ready for the next show that day. Of course, the rest of the kids in the pantomime knew about the shift and even gave us a bit of encouragement from the room next door.

At the time all I could think of was “am I even doing this right?” I think it was a good first kiss though, was pretty happy with myself afterwards.

Jade, 24

For the past nine years, I have believed that I lost my fridginity at an average age. I now realise that I did not.

I was 15. I was at Wezz – the Donnybrook rugby club based disco. I decided that I didn’t want to be a fridget anymore so I targeted a boy who was approximately 6 ft, 6.

We shifted. It was sloppy and my neck hurt. The walls were sweating behind us. All of my friends were watching and we later rendez vous-ed in the bathroom to discuss how the experience had gone.

It was only fine. My shifts have thankfully improved since then.

Patricia*, 29

I was a late bloomer, personally. Holding onto my fridginitiy proudly until I was 15, which was a lot later than most of my friends, I was told that the upcoming GAA disco was the night it would go down.

Yes, the time was set, the location was chosen and now all that was left to do was find the lad. Being dragged around by the girls all night, they waited patiently for me to give them the nod when I spotted the right guy.

But, when you’re subconsciously more interested in the girls than the boys, it’s hard to find the ‘right guy’. Settling on one of the lesser popular boys from the ‘popular’ group, the decision was made and my friend made the approach to ask that almighty question… “Will you shift my friend?”

With a quick shrug of the shoulders, we did what all teens do for their first shift – absolutely dive in and make like the movies. A mouthful of braces and saliva, it was not the romantic experience I thought it would be.

Everyone watched and jeered, and quickly afterwards our respective friend groups swarmed around to hear all the goss. But I did it, and everyone wanted to be my friend and hear all about it after.

Olivia, 23

So, I hadn’t kissed anyone before (obvs), and I think I was a little late to the game compared to my friends – around 14 maybe. One of my guy ‘friends’ (who ended up being my second kiss so how fucked up is that?) set me up with a guy at a GAA teenage disco.

The walls were wet, he was sweaty, his tongue was sloppy and it was just a rotten experience. I think my guy ‘friend’ wanted to know if I was a good kisser tbh, because he kissed me a few weeks after. Yeah… not great.

Kate, 25

My first shift was at a school rugby match with my far more experienced first boyfriend (I was a late bloomer) who proceeded to dart his tongue into my mouth – like a hardened slug making its way between two closed gates – as I asked him did he want some of my chips.

It was bright November daylight and it happened in front of some 1,000 other people in Donnybrook Stadium.

Still wanna die thinking about it tbh.