Kissing...... Be warned...

The hardest part of kissing is figuring out when to go for it. Until you've gotten used to this dating stuff — and if you're reading this, there's a good chance you aren't quite there yet — there's one thing you can count on: Every time you're close to a girl you like, the relentless drum of blind terror will pound in your head, numbing your social reflexes and rendering you clumsy, bashful, and poor at timing.

Your shimmering hope is that you're dealing with a girl who finds clumsiness charming. In that case, your date is going to go really well. Eventually, you're going to start wondering if it's kissing time. (Good news! She's probably wondering, too.)

What you're looking for is an invitation from your date. This won't be a verbal invitation. Do not ask her permission. Never, ever say, "I'd like to kiss you now." This is important. Don't do it. It's embarrassing for both of you, it puts her in a weird position whether she wants a kiss or not, and her awareness of your awkwardness will be heightened. You don't need that.

No, what you're looking for is a non-verbal invitation. Some long-lasting, silent eye contact is a common indication that the time is right,  provided you're within a convenient kissing distance. (Convenient. Don't dive over the table onto her face.)

How long should the eye contact last? Long enough to make you feel weird.

There is a point during most extended eye contact when one party usually diffuses the tension by laughing and/or looking away. Fight the urge to do that, and if she fights it too, you'll wind up staring into each other's eyes and feeling more and more hideously self-conscious. This is it! At this point, you'd do just about anything to get out of the blue-hot spotlight of each other's intense gaze, and a kiss is the perfect thing.

Once you've got your moment pinned down, try to let your instinct take over. Don't rush it or you might wind up surprising her (in which case she might dodge you) or breaking her nose (in which case she might cry), both of which are surefire mood-killers. When you're nervous, going in slowly for a kiss is going to make your whole stomach turn inside out. It's going to feel like slow motion. Your life will flash before your eyes. You will feel little pinpricks all over your body as you begin to sweat. Your face will go hot and you will wonder if the pressure in your skull is enough to make your head actually get bigger.

Do it anyway. It's worth it.

Some key points to learn:

  1. Be aware of your breath. Carry mints.
  2. Tilt your head just a little so your noses don't collide. Most people go to the left, but there are no rules.
  3. If you open your mouth, do it just a tiny bit. Do not try to swallow her face.
  4. Don't be sloppy. If you start to feel drooly, end the kiss.
  5. Keep your tongue to yourself until you're certain she won't mind if you experiment. Most couples' first kisses are pretty innocent, and no one will think less of you for being too cautious. On the contrary, you can really turn a girl off by trying to jam your tongue down her throat when she isn't expecting it.
  6. There are no big rules about breathing, but have you ever had someone breathe on your face? It's kind of hot and rainforesty. Exhaling as slowly as you can will minimize that and she won't notice.
  7. Instead of focusing on everything you're doing, concentrate on her. Try to focus on what you're feeling instead of wondering what she's thinking. You'll have a better time.
  8. If one kiss turns into a series of kisses all in a row (woohoo!) then mix it up. Don't just open and close your mouth in the same repetitive pattern like a fish! Kiss her top lip, her bottom lip, mix in some very short and very long kisses, and don't be afraid to move your head. Also, do something nice with your hands, like softly stroking her hair or her shoulders or back. Holding your whole body perfectly still is weird.
  9. Pay attention to the way she kisses and try to mimic it a bit. Most people kiss the way they'd like to be kissed. If she's a very soft kisser and you'd like some more, ahem, firm kisses, try to throw a few in from time to time and see if she matches you. If she doesn't, that probably means she doesn't like it.
  10. If you feel her moving away, back off. Don't hold her still, and don't pick up the slack by moving forward when she moves back. She's trying to tell you something.

Consider these rules carefully right now, and try not to review them in your mind mid-kiss. Girls can sense when you're overthinking it, and it's about as dazzling as a dancer who counts the rhythm out loud. So instead of trying to memorize these tips, just try to understand them. If you forget some later it won't be the end of the world. The only thing you should really be trying to do when the time comes is relax—and that will be a feat unto itself.

The End

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