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August 24, 2009 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Help an aspie initiate making out with girls in college.

I've adapted to most social situations, mostly due to reading about them, but this is one field that seems to assume that the participants have an instinct for it. I've had a friend with benefits before, but we met online, basically solely with the intent of a FWB relationship, and she had walked me through my first makeout session with her and with sex.

I'm not exactly sure wherein my issue lies, or what I'm failing to grasp. I've made multiple female acquaintances, some of whom live in my dorm, but I have no idea when it's appropriate to initiate making out, where to do it, or how to start. I've been told it just happens, but I don't think I'd ever initiate anything if I were "just letting what happens happen" - I'd be too afraid.

Admittedly I want to avoid a committal monogamous relationship through most of college. I genuinely want to get sex out of college, and avoid tying myself down in the non-kinky way (An education is a higher priority, but of less relevance to this post.)
posted by LSK to Human Relations (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Are you a freshman? If so, just wait. Seriously. If you're comfortable drinking/being around drunk people, go to a frat party with some friends (even if you hate frats) and it'll just happen.

If you're not a freshman... well, my advice would be exactly the same.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:54 PM on August 24, 2009

Sorry, I probably should have included: girls in college are often much more willing to make the first move. Particularly if they've had a couple of drinks. Hence the frat party recommendation.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:01 PM on August 24, 2009

Well, this'll probably seem insane and out of line, but you sound much like me in many details. don't feel like you have to do it because everyone else is! fear may be a good advisor in some cases and if the drive isn't strong enough to make it seem like a natural organic progression with whom you may be with, waiting might not be such a terrible thing. when it does feel like it should, it's so much better than crossing lines your natural inclination might be putting up. are your instincts normally wrong? then so may be my advice. I was 27 before it seemed right enough to cross the intimacy line. ancient, i know, but it DID seem like the most natural thing in the world then. it didn't 'just' happen.... it HAPPENED! the angels sang and the heavens opened to me and i touched the magic of creation in the only way the human form may do so. if you just want a fuck, then get some good weed and some beers in you and slay the gatekeeper of your soul. I never went to college so it may be different. I have heard it is so. if this makes no sense, or seems arcane and hyper-romantic, or even incomprehensable, disregard this whole post.
posted by Redhush at 7:08 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oy. I think the answer to your question is beyond the scope of mefi.

Knowing how and when to make the move really boils down to two things:
1. Being attuned to the proper communication channels. Correctly perceiving and interpreting nonverbal cues.
2. Having the confidence to act on that information.

I'd recommend befriending a guy who's good with girls and watching him. Also, the online pickup community gets a lot of flak, some rightly. But for super-left brain guys who just never figured it out on their own, it can provide logical, procedural approaches that will get you out there making progress.
posted by dualityofmind at 7:11 PM on August 24, 2009

The trick is to touch them. Start with something gentle and inconsequential -- a touch on the arm or something friendly. If the girl is interested, the touch will be reciprocated, and sooner or later things will escalate. Once they're touching you, it takes the burden off of you (somewhat) to take the lead; it will feel more natural for things to go in an amorous direction.

My husband is an aspie. There is hope!
posted by Jane Austen at 7:30 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is not an aspie question, my dear, this is something we all deal with so don't worry :)

I know you're skeptical of the "you'll just know" but you really. really. will. just know. and like everyone is suggesting; let her make the first move unless you know she prefers when the guy does (as I usually am). But it is definitely apparent when that's the case too.
posted by june made him a gemini at 7:31 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Joining a quality fraternity really helped me deal with all aspects of socialization in college, including developing relationships with females. I'm quite familiar with the stereotypes, but I was singularly isolated growing up and did not even have the basic skills to easily make male acquaintances, let alone female ones. Fraternities are forced social situations, and sharing a living space with 40 guys who are interested in the same college experiences as you are makes for a powerful learning experience. But I went to a college where more than half of the students were fraternity and sorority members so I don't know how true that would hold other places.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:37 PM on August 24, 2009

I am not thoroughly versed in Asperger's but what I'm getting is that you don't have a way of knowing when going in for a kiss would be appropriate and when it wouldn't be.
Basically if the two of you are alone, you think she is interested in you, you have been flirting and now there is an akward silence, she is smiling at you and making solid eye contact, maybe glancing at your mouth, you are in eachother's personal space but neither of you seem to mind, that is basically a classic go in for a kiss scenario, and see what happens. You can always preface this with 'can I kiss you?'.
Otherwise, some people can get away with just walking up to someone and saying 'do you want to make out?' if you are at a party or a bar or something. Just smile and hopefully you don't come off creepy and it just might work!
posted by dino terror at 7:40 PM on August 24, 2009

Best answer: All of the people who tell you that it will "just happen" are not unlike people who say, "Well, you just tell the computer to recognize a face!" when wanting facial recognition software for a webcam. "Just" is a word which encompasses miracles of complexity in human communications, seemingly hardwired rituals, cultural biases, tradition, and so forth.

While I do not have Asperger's, I wasn't particularly well-socialized, I do not have fantastic self-esteem, I'm not especially libidinous, and had maybe a little too much YOU CAN'T ASSUME THAT and WOMEN ARE NOT MEAT in my upbringing. This all combined to make my default interpretation of just about anything to "no, there's no way," if I even picked up on anything at all.

I missed some signals that, in retrospect, are facepalm worthy. I'll just go ahead and humiliate myself for the crowd: if you're sitting on the floor, next to a couch on which reclines a lass of your age, who is wearing a miniskirt and is famous for showing off her legs, and she then notices you noting her legs, talks about what great care she takes of them, and she finally proceeds to lift one of your hands and place it just so, that you can feel how smooth her thigh (in particular her inner thigh) is, the thought you should have in mind is not "this is weird, and kind of an awkward position for my arm."

Yeah, I was clueless, too. All of those things I would "just know," I didn't really know. This bothered me, so I kept a small notebook in which I began to list every sign I missed at the time, but which was, in retrospect, obvious. I'll keep further incidents to myself, but if you're ever alone with a woman and she volunteers, out of nowhere, "By the way, I'm not wearing a bra," you can slightly raise the mental register you keep for the probability of hanky-panky. I researched, a lot. Go for the psychologists and the anthropologists. The pickup artists have some real nuggets of wisdom, if you can get over their laser-focus on club-going twenty year old fashionistas and by all of the unholy gods avoid memorizing their scripts.

You'd probably want to start with a classic, Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo. Monica Moore has some nice articles, too. Do actual research into flirting. Surprisingly, you can find actual lists (sorry, about 65% of my books are in a storage facility at the moment or I'd just type it out) of the order of operations in touching. Switching up the steps lead you to being perceived as pressing the issue.

Some of the cultural bits I noted were fascinating: During World War II, American G.I.s were perceived as "fast" by the British women; British women were in turn seen the same way by American G.I.s. Why? An odd cultural difference — at the time, both sets of people tended to get to the intercourse in about the same number of dates, but the Americans usually kissed early and slowly made their way through the bases, the English waited and waited and did nothing and then kiss-bam-bed. So, the G.I.s would want to kiss right off (so the Brits perceive them as fast), and then the Brits would give it a whirl because that's what comes right after kissing (so the G.I.s perceive them as fast). So, the order of operations was preserved, but due to cultural timing issues, the speed at which they got down to business was altered.

The study of flirting is filled with odd bits like this. Be sure to do some actual flirting while reading about it. I don't mean going for liplock, I mean casual chats with a stranger, which may or may not mean anything. You can develop the ability to talk to the woman at the party who most frightens you. Not the most attractive, or intelligent, but the one who you may have heard has the ability to slice people to ribbons with a few cutting words. Bonus points, you can meet some interesting people while doing this.

Research this like an anthropologist might, because you are, to an extent, an outsider, from what it sounds like. You'll essentially be learning to perform manually what "comes naturally" for a lot of people. Skin flush, perspiration, pupil dilation, preening behaviors, all of this will have to be observed. That's okay. After a while, well, I still have my issues, but I went from being that guy silently pining after someone who wished he'd do something about it to a guy who at least knew when to stay and when to go. Yes, this resulted in a significant uptick in completely random makeout sessions, but the other social benefits are amazing.
posted by adipocere at 8:02 PM on August 24, 2009 [49 favorites]

Best answer: What Social Science can tell you about flirting and how to do it
The advanced guide to flirting
Both from a (UK) think tank.
posted by djb at 8:17 PM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here's the secret. Limit your work to people you have a real interest in as people. Then it is easy to tell them how you feel because the things you'll sincerely say are true and they will pick up on that. Usually if you say how you feel about how cool they really are, girls won't even wait, they will go in for the kill right away. You learn to tell people the nice things you think about them and you will be invincible. One time a friend was on a break with his beautiful girlfriend who was also my friend and my "pep up you will find someone" speech got me kissed. I wasn't trying at all.

. . .and eye contact. When they are talking, maintain a "soft" eye contact. That is don't stare into their eyes, but pretty much look in them in the eye when you listen, with a little more looking away while you are talking. You'll be surprised how well this communicates your interest.

Then the accidental touching. Then the touching while making a point. Then the wha? How did we get to making out? Let the move make itself.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:35 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just to clairfy, I respectfully backed off with the friend's girlfriend on a break. But it was nice to feel attractive to a beautiful woman and it reminded me that just being honest with people about finding them interesting has worked wonders for me.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 PM on August 24, 2009

Learn the bars around town and the dance clubs. Go drink and be merry. Go with a few good looking male friends who know how to dance. Pretty soon, ya'll will be grabbed by a freshman waiting to get some action. We had college bars known as Skankex and other creative names only college students would use. Bars and dance clubs gained these nicknames for a very good reason- underclassmen when there to find someone to hook up with and hopefully get laid. When you start getting, uh, close, things will just happen...drink and you won't even think about it.
Frat parties are also another easy way. Show up, get drunk off The Beast, and start socializing and things will happen. Alcohol is the great lubricator.

Crazy as it sounds, make out with enough females at such locales, and you too can learn to make the first move.

(I only say this because you're not looking for a real relationship. This is how to get laid, not meet someone to bring home to your parents).
posted by jmd82 at 10:08 PM on August 24, 2009

Go to parties. Bring a buddy or find a group of friends to go with. Talk to girls. Stand near groups that are talking (bring your buddy into the group with you, or join a group he's in). Laugh when they're funny and pay attention to how much girls look at you and smile at you. There's a good chance she's looking for someone to make out with too. If she starts talking to you alone, let the rest of the group leave. Similarly, if you start talking to her exclusive of everyone else, don't make any move to leave. Turn your body towards her. Sitting, let your knees touch. Standing, do the same thing with shoulders or elbows. Look into her eyes when she talks, and listen to her. If she tries to leave or starts looking for her friends, don't ever try to keep her there. If she's interested, she'll stay.

Eventually, if everything is going well, you'll be sitting more or less alone together talking, probably with body language that tells the people around you what's going on. Conversation pauses, awkward silence, eye contact, nervousness, and both of you probably feel really dumb but hopeful at the same time.

So now you can leave together or you can go for it if you've ended up in a mostly private place. If you need a change of setting, just straight up ask if she'd like to go, or you can come up with some reason to leave with her. It doesn't really matter, because you both probably know why you're leaving, regardless of what you say.

So you're walking together or sitting together, and you're clearly in some kind of place where you could kiss. Dorm room, isolated part of wherever the party was, picnic table, whatever. Pay attention to body language, again. If you're sitting close together, she's looking at your face, smiling, making no effort to move away or turn it into a friend situation? You're probably good. Ask her if you can kiss her. It's adorable, you don't have to worry about going in and being rejected, and it'll feel awkward and stupid but don't worry about it. Then if she says yes, kiss her. Bonus on just going for it: Best situation is if your heads are close together and then you turn towards each other and oh hey, your lips are like two inches apart. Close that distance and see what happens.

So this is kind of a long scenario, but it's just the outline of one possibility. Basically: Pay attention to body language (you can learn about this stuff on various websites if it doesn't come naturally). Try your best to gauge her interest (body language again!). Don't put on pressure if she seems not into it. If you can keep talking and having a good time, moving to making out is way easier. Don't be afraid to ask. Good luck!
posted by MadamM at 10:59 PM on August 24, 2009

One tip: if someone is looking at your lips, then to your eyes, then back to your lips, they're thinking about kissing you. The flip side of this is, you can send a signal that you're about to kiss someone -- if you do that to someone and they back away, let it go.

(This exchange only happens if you're already in close range, and in an opportune private situation; this is not the signal you would get from someone you've just met, or in class, etc.)

If you have time to devote to this, take a look at previous questions on flirting, some of which have a lot of detailed advice. Also there are other Aspie-ish questions on body language, how to know if someone wants a relationship with you, etc, that have useful links and other resources.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:30 PM on August 24, 2009

And here we go: how to go from flirting to hooking up.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:38 PM on August 24, 2009

When a girl is being friendly, particularly one-on-one (ie, she laughs at your jokes, touches your arm, plays with her hair, angles her knees towards you, smiles a lot, etc), you could come right out and ask her, "would you consider yourself a flirtatious person?" How much she smiles while answering will pretty much either open or close the door to hanky-panky. If you think she's leaning in the panky direction, you can follow up with questions like, "Well how would a guy know that you liked him? Would you give signals? What kind of signals?" It's actually kind of cute and flirtatious to talk directly about flirting, and if she says she gives a certain signal, you can then check to see if she's giving YOU that signal. If she is, you could say, "Wait, you're touching your hair. Am I supposed to interpret that as a flirtatious signal?"

That kind of overt talk- like you're a friendly robot learning how girls work- is pretty adorable and you'll probably get away with it. Don't make continuous eye contact, that would be slightly creepy. It's good to look at her during this convo, don't get me wrong, just aim for eye contact like 50-80% of the time instead of 100%.

This kind of overt conversation is fun, plus it has the added benefit of making things super-easy to decode in a way that will also equip you to decode them better later in less-explicit situations.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:52 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh and MadamM has it on being alone. Suggesting going somewhere else private at the party with a woman at the right time is everything. If they say yes, usually you can just go straight in once you get to the other room or porch or whatever.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:30 AM on August 25, 2009

I'm aspie-ish, and the way that I discovered that it was ok to kiss a girl was when she was kissing me first. Looking back, I can think of a few situations where I probably missed out on something because of requiring the girl to make the first move each time. However, if you're having a conversation with a girl, and can find a way to work in that you like girls who aren't afraid to make the first move that helps. Of course, one can't always find a smooth way to work that into the conversation.

I'd say that Jane Austen's approach of start with light touch might be a good path, but for me touch feels pretty intimate, so I'm not sure that I could ever feel comfortable initiating a touch anymore than a kiss. So again, push the idea that girls should make the first move.

However, with a decent amount of sexual dimorphism, it would seem to make sense that in order to avoid any senses of unwanted presurring that the less physically threatening of the pair should make the initial advance anyways IM(Very Selfish)O.
posted by nobeagle at 6:42 AM on August 26, 2009

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