The story I am about to tell is a little embarrassing, but very helpful to newly-diagnosed Celiacs.

Back when I was freshly 18 and a recent graduate of high school, I had a silly summer crush. I had just returned from a big Eurotrip with my best friend and was enjoying my last weeks of freedom before college when I met a boy I really liked. He was cute, con?dent, and seemed to like me, so I thought I could have a fun little relationship before leaving for the dorms.

We had never kissed, but one night the two of us were hanging out and I knew something was going to happen. The chemistry was palpable, and it was the first time we had seen each other alone, instead of a group situation. Imagine being 18 with your crush, you’re over analyzing every movement, every word, trying to pick the right moment to lean closer ever so slightly. I was nervous. My hands were so clammy that I kept thinking, “I hope he doesn’t hold my hand.”

But then, the worst thing happened: he broke out a bag of cookies. Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies to be exact. I could not believe it! The whole situation was unraveling before my eyes. Suddenly, my vision turned to slow motion and I knew I needed to stop the inevitable. “Don’t eat the cookie!” I shouted at him, my hand jutting out to literally swipe the cookie out of his hand. I knew in that split second that if he were to munch on that cookie, that all hopes of kissing would go down the drain.

I knew I would get sick from the crumbs.

Instead of being a hero (for myself) and getting the guy after all, I ruined the vibe with my awkwardness and nothing happened. In hind sight, this was a very good thing. Who wants a new boyfriend before college? But let this be a lesson to all Celiacs out there: if your partner eats gluten, they must wash their mouth out before anything romantic happens. My boyfriend knows my gluten free living inside and out, and is often more vigilant than me. His tricks are waiting 20 minutes after a beer or gluten food, washing out his mouth with water and/or mouthwash, teeth brushing, and chewing gum among other things. It makes kissing less spontaneous, but Celiacs need to be safe rather than impulsive when there is gluten around.

And of course, you can always share cheek kisses in the meantime!