There is probably nothing more stress inducing, more nerve-wracking or fear-sweat triggering than the first kiss.
Outside of “How do I meet girls?”, “when should you kiss her” is easily the most common dating question I get.
It’s an area where just about everyone feels some sort of anxiety because there are just so many unknowns oh my godohmygodohmygod. “When do I kiss her? How should I kiss her? Do I ask first or just go for it? When’s the perfect moment? What am I supposed to look out for? Oh God, what if I get the cheek? What if she freaks out and calls me creepy?1 What if she tells all her friends? And they tell all of their friends? Oh Jesus, I’ll never date in this town again, I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO MOVE?!?!?!”
Chill the fuck out, Beavis.
That’s why I’m here. To walk you through all this confusing shit and teach you that when you just need to shut up and kiss the girl.
When Do You Kiss Her?
Well shit, when you both feel like it, really.
HELP MAKE DOCTOR NERDLOVE INTERNET FAMOUS…
That’s Really Not Helpful, Doc.
Fine, fine. You want answers?
I Think I’m Entitled!
Do you want answers?
I Want The Truth!
The truth is, you’re asking the wrong goddamn question.
OK, fine, let’s try this again.
When Do You Kiss Her?
When you both feel like it.
OK, wait up, hear me out.
It’s all dependent on mood and circumstance. If you’re on your first date, the good-night kiss is almost ritualistic; I’m sure you’ve already gamed out in your head the moment you’re standing on her porch (or sitting in the car in front of her apartment building or what-have you), you’re saying your good-byes and how you had a great time and want to do this again and you can feel your palms sweating as you’re not sure whether to go for the kiss or a hug, whether to go for the cheek or the lips or just to just damn the torpedoes and hope that you’re getting a good-night beej instead of a dry peck on the lips.
I can guarantee you, your date has probably spent just about as much time thinking about how the night is going to end as you have.
Now personally, I’m not a fan of all the nervous anticipation that comes with the end of a date, so I’ll usually kiss her long before we’re about to say our good-byes and go. Because, shit, who wants the tension? Get that out of the way early.
Thing is I spent a fair amount of time brushing up on my game. I spent a lot of time making mistakes, moving too fast, moving too slow and getting cheeked, dodged and in one memorable case, getting a drink tossed on me2 to really work up my calibration. So I’ve learned how to recognize when someone is receptive to being kissed and how.
And critically, I’ve learned the most important part about the first kiss.
There Is No Perfect Moment
When you’re asking the question of “When do you kiss her”, you’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for “the moment,” which is a mistake. Some people think the moment comes at the end of the date and trying for a kiss earlier is a mistake.
These people are wrong.
Sometimes it’s not a case of waiting for the good-night kiss; some girls don’t kiss on the first date, some do, good for them either way. So maybe you’re on your second or third date and you’re busy scanning for signals that maybe she’s expecting you to kiss her. You’re parsing her every word and body movement like it’s the Zapruder film and you’re trying to figure out where Waldo is in it and whether he was the shooter on the grassy knoll. You’re leaning in, pulling back afraid that it’s the wrong moment, trying desperately to set up The Moment. You’re doing everything short of hoping that a singing crab is going to show up and start giving you pointers.
Here’s the thing: there’s no such thing as “the perfect moment”. There is only this moment, and the more you dick around trying to figure out when and where, the more time you’re wasting that could be better spent on sloppy make-outs.
I realize that pop culture has drilled into our collective heads that the first kiss has to be “perfect” and at “the perfect moment”. Funny thing about those “perfect moments”? We make ’em up. It’s a fun quirk of the human brain: we’re really good at retconning events to fit how we want them to be. We will quite cheerfully round up a moment as “the perfect moment” because we want the first kiss with our girlfriend or boyfriends to be a magcial moment. Even if it was in the middle of a crowded bar and some ugly sweaty dude was flirting with your date five minutes before you made your move – it will feel like the perfect moment in her memory. Screw up the kiss and get her nose instead of her lips? She’ll be telling her friends how adorable the mistake was and how sweet the moment ended up being because of your little slip. Quit worrying trying to recreate a scene from a movie and just be in the goddamned moment.
Should You Ask Or Just Go For It?
Well this is a tricky one, i’nit?
I’ve done an informal poll on the Dr. NerdLove Facebook page and Twitter feed and it was almost a 2-to-1 case of “Make the move”, followed by a variation of “It depends/fine either way/I like them both”. This corresponds rather well with other places where I’ve seen the topic come up (Google “Ask for a kiss” and do your own research): a majority of an incredibly unscientific sampling of women seem to prefer that men make the move rather than ask for it.
Now let’s be clear: this is obviously not representative of all women. But it does tie into a topic that I’ve mentioned before: some people actively dislike verbal sexual (or relationship, for that matter) communication.
My thoughts: it’s generally better to know when she’s interested in being kissed and take the initiative. If you’re on the socially awkward side or are bad at reading social cues, it may be better to ask. Of the women who responded to the poll, the ones who preferred to be asked thought it was sweet and romantic.
But I still say you should shut up and kiss her.
- Side note: this almost never happens. I say almost because if I say “it never happens” inevitably somebody is going to show up in the comments with a story about how it happened to them. Regardless: it’s about as likely as it is for me to hit the Texas Mega-Millions tonight. [↩]
- amaretto sour, in case you’re wondering and yes, I’d paid for it [↩]