I thought that kissing after the first date was normal...
December 4, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

End of the first date. I leaned in to kiss her, but she gave me the head-dodge. However, she expressed an interest in seeing me again. Is this a "friend zone" situation, or could she still be interested?

The date seemed to go well, and I got the feeling that she had a good time. But that could really mean anything.

And I don't think she's super conservative or anything -- I know that she was dating a friend for a while, and I know that they definitely had sex.
posted by Sloop John B to Human Relations (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It was the first date. Many, many people don't feel comfortable enough to get physical on any level during the first date. If she expressed an interest in seeing you again, that probably meant she wants to know you better first.

I know that she was dating a friend for a while, and I know that they definitely had sex.

Don't assume that a woman who's had sex with somebody immediately wants to get hot and heavy with everyone she likes.
posted by katillathehun at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2010 [36 favorites]

I call 'friends zone'. If I was maybe-kinda-sorta-interested-but-not-quite-sure I would have let you kiss me anyway, and let things take their course. Maybe that's just me though.
posted by sunshinesky at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2010

Contrary to sunshinesky, I would definitely NOT kiss on a first date, even if I really liked the guy. Just too fast for my style. I wouldn't be discouraged if I were you.
posted by la_rousse at 2:19 PM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

Kissing after the first date is normal. Not kissing is also normal. You say she "expressed an interest." Feel free to assume she was telling the truth.
posted by pajamazon at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

You are overthinking this. Ask her on another date, and see how things go from there.

I know that she was dating a friend for a while, and I know that they definitely had sex.

That has exactly zero to do with whether or not she does or does not kiss on the first date. I've had sex on the first date, and I've had first dates that went wonderfully but without a moment of physical contact.

Don't keep analyzing this -- see if she is interested for real in another date (as compared to it being just a nice thing to say at the end of an evening) and if so see how that date goes.
posted by Forktine at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Go out on another date. Do not try and kiss her and the end of it. Go out on another one after that. Then try again.
posted by modernnomad at 2:23 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

(Do not try and kiss her at the end of it). Sigh. Oh for an edit button!
posted by modernnomad at 2:23 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why not trust what she's showing and telling you and assume the woman actually knows her own mind? She's told you she's interested, and her actions are saying she's not yet comfortable enough to kiss you. As a complete stranger, perfectly understandable. You may go on another date and never get to that stage. Doesn't mean she was leading you on.

Just means she tried it and didn't feel it. If you were in the friend zone you wouldn't even get that far. And the implication of that comment about her sleeping with the other guy but not you... Let's just say it's making me not like you much and just stop there. I'm hoping I misunderstood. If you referenced any of that with her, I'd be surprised if there was a second date.
posted by Jubey at 2:24 PM on December 4, 2010 [7 favorites]

She communicated pretty clearly if you ask me. She doesn't want to kiss on the first date, she had a good time, she would like to see you again.

Declining a kiss on the first date is not a red flag planted at the crossroads of a by way marked "NO SEX."
posted by DarlingBri at 2:27 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have given folks a head dodge twice in a row before because I had eaten garlic on those days (I might like fresh garlic even more than I like making out).
posted by lover at 2:31 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

Let's just say it's making me not like you much and just stop there

What I meant by that is this : I don't think she's a conservative in the "wants to wait until marriage" sense. She dated/slept with my friend, even though they were not in a long-term, committed relationship. I'm not trying to imply anything about her "virtue" or anything like that.
posted by Sloop John B at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2010

(and dear god, please don't let this question become all about that line)

And no, I was not hoping to have sex on the first date, because I don't do that either. Honestly, I didn't want to do anything more than kiss her at that point.
posted by Sloop John B at 2:36 PM on December 4, 2010

I have dodged kisses from people I was into. As long as you didn't act like an asshole about it, you're probably fine.

I just don't like kissing people after that short of a time...I am by no means "conservative" either, it's just a personal space thing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2010

You know, though--she might have changed her mind or something since then, and decided she does want to wait until marriage or until she hears a sign from the Flying Spaghetti Monster or until she's absolutely 1000% sure a guy isn't a jerk. The point that I think katillathehun and Jubey made quite well is that it's none of your business to assume or label that she's this or that because you know she had sex with your friend. Fix that part of how you're thinking about this woman, because that right there is a big part of completely blowing it.
posted by so_gracefully at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]

No, first date can be weird, just follow the saying: If after three you still get no, it is time to let this one go.
posted by geoff. at 2:44 PM on December 4, 2010

I didn't kiss my husband until the 3rd date, although I liked him. I just wanted to feel him out and have some fun together first. Nothing worse than liking someone, kissing on the first date, and they're a terrible kisser and you get kinda squicked out.
posted by kpht at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you ask her out on another date, using the word "date" when you ask her, and she accepts, and she shows up on the date instead of doing the flaking out/canceling/rescheduling run-around, then it's not a friend zone situation.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2010 [8 favorites]

I'd just take it all at face value. Who knows, maybe she's been burned in the past and wants to take things slow, or likes you enough to see you again, but wants more time to decide about The Kiss. Maybe she has some arbitrary personal rule about only having 1st kisses in daylight / while sober / on Tuesdays / when she's wearing her lucky toe-ring. Maybe she had something garlicky for lunch and was self-conscious.

There's really no way to tell. If you got good vibes otherwise, just ask her out again. Modernnomad gives good advice.

(And fwiw, you sound like a respectful, decent guy. I read no ill intent in your statement about her having dated your friend.) Good luck!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 2:53 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mr. Go Banana got fobbed off with a hearty handshake the first three or four times we went out. We ended up getting married.
posted by Go Banana at 3:05 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

According to him, it was actually more like the first twenty times. Point being you should certainly not assume you are in the "friend zone".
posted by Go Banana at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I once had a first date that she slept in my bed and I slept on the floor (she was too drunk to drive home). But no kiss. We dated a few months after that, in a more conventional manner.

Some people have a hard-and-fast rule about no *anything* on a first date. That's it.
posted by notsnot at 3:11 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe *you* had bad breath or something in your teeth, and she just didn't know how to say something to you. (Sorry if this makes you paranoid the next time!) I guess my point is it could be anything, and one event does not a pattern make. Ask her out again if you'd like to, and see what happens.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:34 PM on December 4, 2010

I leaned in to kiss her, but she gave me the head-dodge.

Bail out. It's over before it got started. Head-dodge? As in, "Holy shit, don't come any closer!" Really?

This is either a person with some kind of boundary issue (could be you, could be her, could be her creepy uncle or an asshole ex-boyfriend) ... or she's just not that into you.

Or it could be totally harmless. She thought she had cabbage stuck in her teeth. She really liked you but was afraid you'd be turned off by her congenital halitosis but she's a real sweetheart. She has a blind spot in one eye and lost track of you there for a second. Yeah, that's it.

Look, if you think hard enough, you'll convince yourself of anything.

No. She physically flinched when you moved closer. Think about that for a little while.

But why should you care? You want passion and someone that likes you and wants you. Don't settle. Don't stick around. Don't hang out and see what happens because maybe, just maybe, it might turn out fantastic like a romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock. Those "I didn't kiss on the first date" anecdotes are outliers. There's too many fish in the sea to worry about a few red herrings.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:00 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

>>Go out on another date. Do not try and kiss her and the end of it. Go out on another one after that. Then try again.

This strikes me as terrible advice if you're worried about being placed in the friend zone. Or terrible advice in general, for that matter.

Lots of people don't feel comfortable kissing on a first date. None of us can really read the tea leaves here, especially since you haven't explained the context of your previous relationship with her (if any) or in what manner she "expressed an interest" in seeing you again. But grown ups kiss on the second date if they like who they're with (not that they have to, but the head-dodge would be very strange at that point).
posted by J. Wilson at 4:04 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Those "I didn't kiss on the first date" anecdotes are outliers.

With all due respect, I think Cool Papa Bell is the outlier here.
posted by philokalia at 4:07 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

Man, if my boyfriend had tried to make a move on me after our first date I would have head ducked too. I made him wait until our 6th or so date before I'd kiss him, and it was well over a month after we started dating before I slept with him.

I take time in deciding if that's what I want, and the more pressure I feel, the more my decision tends to swing towards 'no'.

Don't assume that because she wasn't ready at the first date to kiss you she'll never kiss you. The 'friend zone' thing is crap. I was *sure* that The Chef and I were never going to be more than friends after our first date, but things changed PDQ and now we couldn't be more in love.

Just relax. Stop stressing. She seems into you, so it doesn't mean anything other than it wasn't the right time for a first kiss. Besides - the anticipation is the best bit. You only ever get one first kiss together.
posted by jonathanstrange at 4:35 PM on December 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

I'd say you really can't make this call until you have a few more datapoints. Relax. You'll be able to discern a pattern pretty quickly if she's not into you. Nthing going on another date and hanging back if you like her. You did your job, you put yourself out there, so the ball is in her court.
posted by jnnla at 4:48 PM on December 4, 2010

Those "I didn't kiss on the first date" anecdotes are outliers. There's too many fish in the sea to worry about a few red herrings.

If this dating relationship were exclusive and she wouldn't kiss him, then he'd gain by giving up on her and pursuing someone who would kiss him.

However, it isn't an exclusive dating relationship. He can go ahead and date other girls, probably some of them will kiss him, and maybe at that point he'll want to enter an exclusive relationship with one of them, and give up on this girl. Or maybe a date or two down the road this girl and he will be kissing, and it'll be the other girls he decides to give up on.

But he isn't at that juncture yet - so why give up on her when it isn't clear if she's interested or not?

Ask her out two or three more times. If she fobs you off with excuses about being busy, then you know she's not interested. If she agrees to go on other dates then she is interested. Either way you'll have information which is more accurate than you can get from speculating about her kissing habits.
posted by Mike1024 at 4:55 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ask her out again. If she says yes (which it sounds like she will), then have fun and relax, and do your best to let it go. The more this single moment of interaction is a 'thing,' the more it is in the way of having a fun second date with an attractive person.

Incidentally, if a dude pulled a response like 'I don't wait around/settle' because I wasn't quite at the point of kissing on the first date, I would not consider the absence of a second date my loss. The last kind-of-acquaintance I knew who kissed me on the first date promptly turned out to be a person who did not believe I had the right to make my own decisions. Let me assure you that the ending of that evening means that Cool Papa Bell's interpretation of flinching as an insult or personal repulsion that you're trying to revise is not the only valid one. There are plenty of others. Mine is a more worst-case scenario, and I certainly hope it's not similar to hers.

It doesn't have much practical effect nowadays outside of the single circumstance of first dates with men whom I don't already know well when the man tries to kiss me, but I admit it's the one time I'll flinch. Sometimes I even flinch briefly if I do know a first date well. It's involuntary and it's not personal. It doesn't mean I don't like him or want to see him again or that I have severe sexual hang-ups that he will avoid by not going out with me.

In fact, it's not about him at all. Not that I'm going to lay all of that out on a first date with a guy I don't know extremely well (even if he knows an ex of mine). That conversation would be a metric fuck-ton weirder than flinching and just moving on and giving other blatantly positive signals such as....explicitly saying that I'd like to see him again. Those are words that I personally have chosen to say using my mouth and vocal apparatus via a conscious decision I've made in my brain to that particular man, and not an involuntary response. I would hope that he'd rank the former over the latter.

If he doesn't...as I said, it's not my loss.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 5:34 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm a lesbian, and I would flinch away from a kiss on a first date too, unless - and this is important - the date had already progressed past sitting close together, hand-holding, and probably cuddling. Kissing is NOT the first step in physical intimacy for me, and if a relative stranger tries to jump the queue I'll certainly duck.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:56 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I second that I'm not a first date kisser regardless how attracted I am to the person. She's probably worried you're thinking she isn't atrracted to you since she dodged you....I'd make clear you're asking her out on another date and then wait for her signal/vibe to kiss her.
posted by dmbfan93 at 6:21 PM on December 4, 2010

OP: Did you say "I'd like to see you again" and she responded "yeah, me too"? Or was she the one to bring this up? Or was the expressed interest something earlier in the date, like "OMG I love [art museum] too, we should go sometime"? Context makes a difference in interpreting a person's behavior.

(But this is just to satisfy my own curiosity. As I and everyone else already said, it's irrelevant: ask her on another date and find out.)
posted by J. Wilson at 6:45 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

My man and I went out for a couple of months before I kissed him. I really, really wanted to be friends before anything heated up (after a couple of bad breakups with others). We've been married for 7.5 years, and aside from him hating the way I leave my shoes all over the house and me hating how he bangs his spoon in his cereal bowl in the morning, we love each other to pieces and make it a point every year to go back to the place we met.

Maybe she just wants to take things slow. Be a good guy and roll with it.
posted by mdiskin at 6:59 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Those "I didn't kiss on the first date" anecdotes are outliers.


As many of you probably remember from previous occasions when I have bored you with anecdotes of my wild youth, I had a wild youth. Which included sexual relationships with many lovely people.

I didn't kiss any of them on the first date, if it was a dating thing. This included everyone from people who turned out to be fuckbuddies, and it included the person who turned out to be my husband.

OP, I wouldn't take this as indicative of anything. If she goes out on another date with you, it's not "friends zone."
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2010

Wow, I'm actually kind of surprised at the feedback here!

I now feel promiscuous and foolhardy because I'd rather avoid awkward body language ('head-doge') with someone I'm interested in than *gasp* a completely innocent goodnight kiss.

I would only head-dodge if I was not interested at all.

I'm reposting this previously deleted comment (very slightly edited) because it was made in good faith and I consider it to be an honest answer to the question.
posted by sunshinesky at 8:31 PM on December 4, 2010

I think the OP's displayed assumptions and everyone else's reactions makes it pretty clear that first-date kisses are anything but innocent.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:37 PM on December 4, 2010

She may well be very into you, and just very shy.

I'm a woman. I once went on a first date with a man who I had a *huge* crush on.

After a very pleasant evening at a charming restaurant, he walked me back to my car, and went to give me a hug goodbye, and I *froze* because it was sudden and unexpected and I panicked about hugging him 'the wrong way' and turning him off.

We had several more dates, and eventually we became lovers, yay! ^_^

But it took quite a while to get there.
posted by Hot buttered sockpuppets at 9:23 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

What the what what?!


Every single person in the goddamn world has the right to decline a good night kiss if that's what they feel is right for them in that moment. It means, "I DO NOT KISS ON THE FIRST DATE". Every single person has their own special snowflake reasons for this. It is not fair for you to presume what those reasons are and judge her accordingly, nor is it appropriate to compare your experience to the one she had prior to going out with you because, as I've said before, every single person in the world has the right to change their thoughts, standards, and personal dating rules as they grow and evolve as people. You do not have enough data to make a final opinion about this potential dating partner.

Take her up on her offer to hang out with her a second time, enjoy the date, and if you really feel inclined to kiss her again because you are that in to her, casually say, "Hey, I gotta be honest with you. I really would like to kiss you. Is that okay?"

And if she says yes, smooch the hell out of her.

If she says no, say "No problem. Just wanted to let you know where I stand. I'd really like to continue to get to know you, and I hope you feel the same way."

Hopefully she'll offer up a reason why she said no, and she might even offer up a timeline so you know where you're headed.
posted by patronuscharms at 10:16 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

I know everyone is different, but if I wasn't into a guy, I would dodge a kiss. Otherwise, i would not. I would also lie say we should "try it again sometime". Then probably ignore you.

If I were in your situation, I'd probably bring up the dodging on the phone or email or IM or whatever communication you use with her.
posted by KogeLiz at 1:39 AM on December 5, 2010

Another voice added to the "I don't kiss on first dates". I went out on a date last Wednesday with a guy who'd contacted me on OKCupid. We shared some short emails about the weather and our respective jobs, he seemed very level-headed and kind, so I was OK for setting a coffee date for Wednesday, and it turned into four and a half hours of talking about anything and everything, laughing at each others' jokes (he's adorable), while wandering Nice's old city and just generally having the best time I've ever had on a first date. I mean, I did not know that first dates could go so well — you hardly know the person, after all.

We never once touched each other, despite giving that tell-tale starstruck look several times (including when he mentioned a Finnish metal band and I started headbanging while I exclaimed "you know Finnish metal and like it?!" He laughed and said "yes". "WHAR ROR YEAH" I oh-so-elegantly replied).

Again, we never touched each other!! Just at the end, I asked if he knew French cheek kisses (he's Norwegian but comes to France regularly), because that is something you do with complete strangers here in France. He knew but had never done them, I tried to explain it, then we had an "oops" kiss (he turned his cheek the wrong way — this is an accident that happens, even with work colleagues eek) that turned into more laughter and that was it. I thought it was terrifically sweet, he had a great time too, all is well in the world. If he'd tried to push for more, I really wouldn't have felt so comfortable — like I said, I was having a hard time believing that such a good time was being had on a first date. (I've been single for nearly 5 years, which means I've been on a lot of "meh" and occasionally even bad first dates.) Anything physical might have risked sending it over the edge.
posted by fraula at 3:56 AM on December 5, 2010 [8 favorites]

I'm happily married, so this is all a bit historical for me, but if I was on a first date and the girl flinched away when I went to kiss her, I'd move on, that's not a very good sign that she's interested. I'm with Cool Papa Bell on this one, in my experience, kissing is usually how you signal to someone that you're interested in that way, and flinching away from a kiss I would interpret as a lack of interest in that way. Feel free to go out on another date, but that kind of body language signals a distinct lack of interest. I'd personally not waste my time, but YMMV.
posted by MythMaker at 7:24 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I were comfortable enough and interested enough in a guy by the end of the first date, I would kiss him.

If I were interested to some degree but really sure how much and wanted to find out more about him, I might or might not kiss him, but would want to get together again anyway.

If I were not interested I would not kiss him, but I wouldn't be on a date with someone I wasn't interested in to begin with, unless it was one of those oops I-thought-it-was-a-friendly-thing get-togethers.

Personally, I wouldn't let too much time go by without giving a guy a clear signal I was interested, whether by a kiss or just outright telling him. And if I didn't feel comfortable getting physical right away, I would tell him that I liked him and was attracted to him but a little shy in getting physical too soon. Some people simply aren't as physically expressive as others, and the girl you dated might be one of them.

To me, it doesn't matter so much what the signal is, as long as the message is clear. You want to know whether she like-likes you. Can you just ask her?
posted by xenophile at 11:22 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, married now, but I never used to kiss on the first date, even if it went really well. This may seem unromantic, but maybe on a subsequent date, you can ask, "Can I kiss you?"
posted by Knowyournuts at 5:05 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Okay, so the post-mortem.

First off, this thread was really useful to me! There was the usual crowd of people who wanted to assume the worst about me, but these people were few, and for the most part I got a pretty good temperature reading on peoples' attitudes towards first-date-kissing.

Usually if I get a head-dodge, I assume that the woman isn't interested in me and move on. But this woman seems really interested in me. After the awkward hug-and-head-dodge-and-cheek-kiss, I was like, "Yeah, so, let's check out [EVENT THAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT] next week" and she responded with very positive body language and facial expression and said "Sure! And if you can think of anything else to do before then, let me know." So the whole thing seemed kind of ambiguous : on the one hand, the head-dodge, and on the other hand, her apparent interest in me.

Anyway, I went ahead and asked her out again, and she said yes. And we'll just have to see how things go. If I'm getting a warm vibe from her, I may just ask to kiss her at the end of the night. Doesn't always have to be unromantic; I've had a number of wonderful asked-for kisses ;)
posted by Sloop John B at 8:35 PM on December 5, 2010

There's really only one way to find out.
posted by awesomebrad at 8:49 PM on December 5, 2010

We went out last night and had a really good time. Yes, I asked. And yes, we kissed. It rocked.
posted by Sloop John B at 2:26 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]

ROCK ON, MR.B!!! This is excellent news. :D
posted by patronuscharms at 11:46 PM on December 7, 2010

Great news. Good luck!
posted by MythMaker at 12:45 PM on December 9, 2010

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