The importance of firsts

Can you remember your first love? The music that played the first time you had sex? The music that you first raved to? The smell of the (cheap) aftershave of your first crush?

I am sometimes astounded by the phyiscal reaction that can occur when confronted with a 'first'. Smell is particularly good for this; the sudden whiff of a memory-inducing smell can cause your stomach to lurch forward in shock.

Do our 'firsts' help to shape who we become? Did my first love affect my choice for love number two?

My first music love, the music that made me feel like I could burst with pleasure when I heard it pumping from a speaker in a club was UK garage. I was at that age when I was exploring music, and UK garage was my first experience of feeling the power music can have. My clubbing experiences from 15 onwards revolved largely around this genre of music. Despite growing and changing tastes, I still hold a love for this music. An old favourite track can still make my heart leap. In the same way we have tea dances for grandparents now, will there be granny raves for us all to dance like we did when we were young?

The thing with first love is that whenever the next love comes along it can make it easy to shrug off all the love from before as not 'real love'. But I believe that if you felt you loved them at the time, then it was love. Each love will be different, as you will be a different person, but it doesn't lessen what came before. I would say I have been in love twice. The first one was young love, that all-consuming teenage love. Did that experience shape what I had to come later on? Are you still in touch with your first love? Would you want to be?