Help me make date #2 less platonic
January 14, 2014 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Met a girl for a first date, liked her a lot, am asking her on a second date. I don't know how to cross the boundary between platonic chitchat and flirting/kissing/etc. Help.

Our first date was in a bar. The conversation flowed pretty well (she did most of the talking but that's natural because I'm a shy quiet type), we talked about our crazy families etc. and shared some laughs, and ended up hanging out for a lot longer than I expected for a first date. I enjoyed it and was attracted to her, but the conversation stayed on a totally platonic/asexual level, no different than what you'd have with a friend. That's OK for a first date but I'm worried the second date will go the same way because I don't seem to know how to change this kind of dynamic into something that's more romantic/flirty/datey/might lead to actual kissing. When we said good night she said "Well, I guess I'll see you again" and I got the feeling she was waiting to see if I would go in for a kiss, but I didn't because it felt too weird and awkward to just lean in and kiss her out of the blue without any kind of buildup that would lead to it naturally. How do I change this on date #2?

Two specific questions:

1. Ideas for a date activity that might make this easier? I feel like if we just sit in a bar again or get dinner and a movie it might just be a replay of date #1. Specific difficulty: she broke her ankle recently so anything that involves too much walking is out (she's off crutches and can walk OK as long as it's fairly short distances, but "romantic walk on the beach" is not on). (This also means we'll both be driving, so most likely the goodbyes will take place in the street rather than in a car or at her doorstep.)

2. What do I *say* that could help de-platonize the interaction? I've seen a lot of advice about non-verbal stuff like "hold eye contact longer than you normally would" or "touch her casually on the shoulder" etc., but I don't think I could bring that off naturally. I literally don't gesture at all when I talk so it would be weird to suddenly reach out and touch her, and why would you suddenly stare into someone's eyes in the middle of a conversation about movies? I don't want to spring any corny canned lines on her or anything, I was thinking more straightforward stuff along the lines of "Hey, I really like you", or things to that effect.

(Please no advice to the effect of "just drink more". I've tried this before and it really doesn't work.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
"I really like you, and I'm feeling really awkward about moving in for a kiss. May I?"

If she wants to, that's all it'll take. If she doesn't, then you know.
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Go somewhere where you can hold her hand. That type of physical contact is kind of low-stakes, but it makes the whole, "We haven't touched at all!!" thing less nerve-wracked.
posted by xingcat at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

When we said good night she said "Well, I guess I'll see you again" and I got the feeling she was waiting to see if I would go in for a kiss, but I didn't because it felt too weird and awkward to just lean in and kiss her out of the blue without any kind of buildup that would lead to it naturally.

Speaking as a XX person - sometimes there doesn't necessarily need to be that buildup. If you get the sense she's waiting to see if you'll kiss her, try a reserved kiss first - and if it seems she likes that, you could try then a couple seconds later kissing her again, for just a TINY bit longer. She will get the message. (....And if you're looking for data....that move worked particularly well on me a couple days ago.)

If you're looking for a "line," though, one guy asked me at the end of a second date, "If I tried to kiss you now, would I get slapped?" It was sufficiently cute and goofy and lighthearted.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 AM on January 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Date activity ideas: cooking together; a picnic if the weather where you are allows it; a date painting pottery or something similar. All of these allow for the two of you to be in close proximity and also can allow for a great deal of playfulness, which is something that I think eases things into flirtation. Also, these activities could lead to a bit of physical contact without being strange or inappropriate.

I think it might help for you to be direct about being into her without being awkward. If there's a slight lull in conversation or something, stating explicitly that "I'm really enjoying the time we're spending together" could be good. Honesty and openness about these sorts of things is definitely appreciated.

Also, I've definitely had a guy at the end of a date just state outright, "I can't pretend that I don't want to kiss you right now", before going in for the kill. It worked for him...and for me. :)
posted by singinginmychains at 8:16 AM on January 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Go somewhere where you can sit next to each other and have some accidental-not-accidental physical contact. Even if it's a playful shoulder-bump it at least breaks the "we're not touching each other!" ice.
posted by mskyle at 8:20 AM on January 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just did the deplatonicization thing! Here's the conversation we had after four or five dates:

Me: Hey, I like spending time with you, but I'm not sure if you like me. If you don't, we probably shouldn't hang out together any more.
Him: Oh, no, I super like you. I wasn't sure if you liked me.
Me: Sweet. I completely like you.
Him: Great!
Me: Can we kiss now?

So that totally worked. I'm bad at signals (both sending and receiving them,) but this isn't completely awkward and it's crystal clear where we stand.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:28 AM on January 14, 2014 [20 favorites]

Somewhere that you can share a couch, like a cafe or low key club. If that's impossible, don't sit across from her at a table, sit at connecting corners. This will make it much easier to do those casual touches, because you won't be reaching across anywhere.

Also, the ankle thing might work to your advantage. Offer your hand or arm to help her maneuver somewhere that might otherwise put a little undue strain on her ankle, like around a tight corner or up a few steps. Make sure that she can, of course, decline and steady herself on a wall or something, and don't linger, but that might help break the weird touch barrier thing that can build up.

As for words, I think you're on the right track with being straightforward. Don't discount something as genuine as "I'd really like to hold your hand." But I also think that if the mood between you is positive enough, going in for a kiss or other obvious physical affection without a line or hours of buildup is just fine. I disagree that it's weird to suddenly reach out and touch or have a lingering gaze, if this person is as attractive to you as all that. That's kind of what dates are for, and she knows that these are definitely dates, right?
posted by Mizu at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

"hold eye contact longer than you normally would" or "touch her casually on the shoulder" etc., but I don't think I could bring that off naturally.

There is no such thing as bringing stuff off naturally. There's always going to be that nervousness.

Plus make light of the no moonligh walks on the beach. She'll get your drift.

Light eye contact, light compliments, light touching, lots of smiling.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:49 AM on January 14, 2014

Whatever you do, do it as early as possible into date #2.

On the way to whatever thing you're doing, manufacture a situation to hold her hand. And if she seems receptive and smiley, lean over and kiss her.

If you wait until the end of the date to make a move, you're going to be anxious and nervous all evening, and that's no fun.

Psyche yourself up to do it, and be affectionate early and often.

(And this way, if your intended is just. not. into. it, then at least now you know and don't have to worry about it at all!)
posted by phunniemee at 9:05 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Like others have mentioned here, the key to this is *touch*. Put your hand on her shoulder. When you sit next to her, sit close enough that your legs touch. Hold her hand. Any little bit of touch makes you comfortable with a bit more. When both people are interested this escalates quickly.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:05 AM on January 14, 2014

Just adding my two cents re: a good line to use:

"If I tried to kiss you now, would I get slapped?"


"I really like you, and I'm feeling really awkward about moving in for a kiss. May I?"

Not this.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2014 [25 favorites]

You sound adorable, and this sounds adorable. I really hope it goes well for you!

In general, your instincts are excellent. You sound genuine and the really cute kind of shy, and like you're thinking about this so much because you really like her and want to be respectful and thoughtful. Don't feel you have to drink too much, or spout anything corny, or engineer any kind of crazy situation. "Hey, I really like you" is totally a good start!

It's a problem for a lot of kind and respectful guys: how do you go from being friendly and non-objectifying and non-pressuring and respectful of boundaries to "but I like like you?" Totally understandable. But feel free to use your words.

Sometimes blurting "Can I tell you something? You're really cute." gets the answer "You're really cute!" And then mutual foolish smiling and yay!

I am a woman who really likes being asked to be kissed. I think it's sweet and respectful (and, I guess I like shy people), and in the situations where I wanted it to happen I found it cute, and in the situations where I didn't want it to happen I was able to politely refuse in a way that was less awkward than looking terrified and dodging out of the way. I have also asked men if I could kiss them, and so far it's always come off as appealing and positive. So don't write off asking straight out.

However, I'd start with holding hands, if I were you. As many other people have suggested, situations where accidental, casual touch is acceptable are a good start. Sitting close, walking close...oh, look, our hands brushed. If it happens again or a few times, try taking the hand and giving it a squeeze. As Mizu pointed out, the ankle thing gives you an opportunity to be thoughtful and helpful through touch if she wants. You can even ask if you can hold her hand, or help her (although, if she refuses your hand, it might be because she feels unsteady and not have anything to do with you, although she should try to make this clear).

Sitting next to each other is gold for this, especially if you're anxious about the randomly staring into each other's eyes thing anyway. Is there anything she's mentioned as an interest or something she'd like to try that would fit? Singinginmychains' suggestions are great--that casual vibe where being close is natural. I planned a (third, I think?) date where I gave us each $10 (or $5, or whatever) and we went into a great local used bookstore and bought each other presents. (This, however, meant we spent a lot of time apart, which is what you don't want, although there was smiling and shoulder-touching when we passed each other, or standing close talking about the same books.) Then we went for a walk (you could go for coffee/dinner) and talked about our acquisitions and choices. There was a first kiss later. It all depends what you both like!

Oh, and I found dinner and an improv comedy play to work better than dinner and a movie. Laughing together is always good!

Good luck!
posted by spelunkingplato at 9:44 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Being natural is good. Nothing ifs worse than trying to flirt in a way that is not normal to you. That being said I think you are doing fine. Having a conversation with someone is good.

I suggest as many people here have and that is just to be straight forward. "I enjoyed hanging out with you again. I really like you. Would you mind if I kissed you?"

There is no need for crazy flirting. If she likes you for how you naturally act, then that is awesome. She already wants to go on a second date with you!
posted by Jaelma24 at 9:51 AM on January 14, 2014

My favorite de-platonicizing move was at the end of a wonderful evening, first date that had lasted hours. It came naturally, but worked out so well that, if I ever get the chance again, I would go for it without hesitation.

Setting: In front of my place, ready to part ways
Guy: "Well, here's your place"
Me, feeling kissing vibes: "Yup"
Guy: "I had a great evening"
Me: "So did I! Do you know how we say goodbye in France?"
Guy: "Huh?"
fraula kisses guy on cheek
guy blushes, smiles, evidently struck speechless
Me, giggling: "good night!"
Guy, still blushing and smiling: "heeee uh, um, yeah"

Five minutes later, SMS from guy: "Whoa. I really liked that kiss."

It's nice because it's kind of inbetween yet obviously not. The whole "you know what we/they do in France" obviously has romantic connotations for non-French people. You could always say you learned it on a website full of smart, cultivated people, too. (If that sort of thing seems mutually attractive, anyhow.)
posted by fraula at 10:06 AM on January 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

So when she says anything along the lines of "Well, I guess I'll see you again," you say, with sincerity tinged with enthusiasm (not the other way 'round) "I sure hope so, I had a great time." Then when she confirms -- "Good, phew, I did too!" -- you say, "Well, then, I'll seal it with a kiss," and kiss her on the cheek. Then as you stroll on, put your arm through her arm, or take her elbow lightly. (To me, hand-holding is more intimate). Anyhoo, you're now set up for next time. Or I would be!
posted by thinkpiece at 10:19 AM on January 14, 2014

I think a movie is helpful not more of the same. It is easy to put your arm around her or hold her hand during a movie. The key is picking the correct movie. Also, when you first see her at the next date, give her a kiss on the cheek hello. I actually had a woman give me a kiss on the lips as soon as I saw her for the 2nd date with the line, "Hey, I forgot to give you this last time." She subsequently told me that she has also heard the line, "Hey I think this belongs to you and you left it on my doorstep last time" while giving a kiss. Not sure everyone can pull that off, but it works for some.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 AM on January 14, 2014

When you're saying goodbye, just lean in and kiss her. If she has been wanting to kiss you (because she liked you! from the date!), she will like it. If she already wasn't feeling it, you might experience about 30 seconds of awkward rejection, but it's overwhelmingly unlikely that you could misread things so badly that trying a gentle kiss is going to get you slapped (or any other unendurable form of rejection).
posted by telegraph at 10:34 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

When you arrange the activity, it sometimes helps if it's clear that you're on a date in the first place. Nothing invites a girl to friend-zone you like offering to "hang out." I think transitioning from your activity to something non-platonic is easier if you're moving. Try an activity like a museum (if that's your thing) or an after-dinner stroll at a romantic but not creepily secluded place. Simply asking permission may not play in a theater, its simplicity is why it's so great. It leaves no room for doubt about your intentions. It's polite. If she says "no," it probably won't place you in her list of top ten most idiotic dating stories that she tells people for the rest of her life.
posted by Hylas at 10:37 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

All the suggestions about doing something other than dinner are good. Some other suggestions: Monster mini golf (or indoor mini golf). Trivia at a bar is more interactive than just conversation, gives you a chance to high five.

Definitely don't use the words "hang out" when you ask her out again. If saying "do you want to go on a date?" is awkward, then just ask in a super polite way: "would you like to go to ___ with me on Friday night?" is definitely more intimate sounding than "do you want to hang out Friday after work?" Also, calling instead of texting to ask would also point to more romantic intentions. When you see her, tell her she looks pretty, give her a hug and/or a kiss on the cheek if it feels right. That will set the mood towards "more than friends." If at the end of the date there is that moment again when you should maybe kiss her but it's still too awkward, then lean in and give her a nice kiss on the cheek. Not like the way you kiss your friends hello and goodbye, but linger for a bit and smile at her as you pull away.
posted by at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2014

As a woman, these things that make me feel like I'm on a date:

-He offers to pay
-He comes up with an idea, such as going to a museum, but lets me pick the museum
-He walks me to my car
-After a couple of dates, he asks if he can pick me up before the date. (Offering to pick her up on a second date might be too soon, but I think you should offer to pick her up on the third date.)
-He asks if I'd like to see him again at the end of the date
-He gives me a hug or kiss at the end of the date
-He makes little comments that let me know he's enjoying the date and my company
-He follows up with a cute text that is relevant to something we discussed on the date

Things that make me feel like the guy just wants me as a friend:

-When I take out my wallet to pay, he starts divvying up my part
-When inviting me somewhere, he makes it sound like he just wants someone to go with him to do X activity
-He expects me to drive him home after a date because he took public transportation and doesn't feel like waiting for the train or bus
-He insists we only visit places that are accessible by public transportation
posted by parakeetdog at 12:38 PM on January 14, 2014

1) physical-wise, touch her! Pretend to be confident. Greet her with a smile and hug. Little things like guide her by the small of her back if there's a puddle or something, or put your arm around her when you're sitting side by side (or just grab her hand, see if she like converts it to an interwoven thing). Or ruffle her hair if there's an appropriate moment. She agreed to go on a second date with you! She wants you! Also I read this somewhere else but where there is a lapse in the conversation, or if you're laughing together, just look at her eyes (notice her eye colour, and her eye lashes) and don't look away.

2) conversation-wise, be slightly vulnerable, just be open and honest and show that you're comfortable admitting slightly awkward things and that you trust her e.g. a funny story from your childhood (but only a little bit, don't go too far). And listen for the whole answer when she is talking. Let her hog the spotlight
posted by dinosaurprincess at 12:51 PM on January 14, 2014

Also yes all that chivalry stuff is great to reinforce that you are on a date!
posted by dinosaurprincess at 12:52 PM on January 14, 2014

I just popped in to say be careful with *asking* for a kiss. Personally, I can't stand that. It's unnerving and awkward. I like take-charge kind of dominant men who move in for what they want. If I don't want to kiss them I'll back out of it or away, but any guy who asks me if he may kiss me is probably going to lose my interest fast and not get his kiss.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 1:25 PM on January 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

Kiss her. But please never ever ask to kiss a woman. It's not attractive to women.

Escalate. Touch her hand. Then her hair. If a woman lets you touch her hair and doesn't move away, she'll let you kiss her.
posted by meadowlark lime at 1:28 PM on January 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Totally do an activity. Create something with her.

I hate movie dates but if you feel like you can invite her over, make a fruit salad together and watch some campy movie evryone's seen 100 times, so you can talk over it. I like The Princess Bride.
posted by jander03 at 1:43 PM on January 14, 2014

Kiss her. But please never ever ask to kiss a woman. It's not attractive to women.

Whoa. Let's not overgeneralize here. All women are unique individuals and they do not all like or dislike the same things. This girl happens to find it cute, and eventually married the last guy who asked me!

If you feel awkward about something, I always think it's charming when someone admits that. Let's be honest, most people feel awkward on the first few dates! So if it makes it easier for you, don't be afraid to say, "This is awkward, but ... "

Could you guys go do something a bit more interactive for the second date? The broken ankle complicates things a bit, but something like one of those pottery painting places would be perfect. Maybe a little cheesy, but it's sitting down, and it would give you an excuse to maybe reach in for a non-platonic touch that otherwise might be awkward over dinner. A cooking class might work too!

Otherwise, grabbing her hand to hold can be a way to break that touch barrier and get a feel for how she feels about you too.
posted by geeky at 1:50 PM on January 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

This seemed to work once...

When that moment that you winner if it's the one to kiss her in say, "if I don't do this now I might never do it"

Then go for it. At least you warned her first. And if she's not, well now you know. Next!
posted by jander03 at 1:56 PM on January 14, 2014

I agree strongly with those who are saying that the key here is touch. It is really awkward for the first kiss to break the "touch barrier" between to people - it will be a lot more pleasant and natural if you gradually escalate. Of course, if you both like each other, you'll get over the awkward moment and future kisses and touching will be fine. But why make that first one so difficult when it can be easy and comfortable? Testing her interest with lightweight touching to see if she reciprocates also usually helps avoid the oh-so-uncomfortable rejection of an attempted kiss; if she doesn't want it, she'll usually make that clear by not touching you back.

I wrote this answer awhile back and got a fair number of favorites, so I think it resonated for folks (the asker was on date #6, not date #2, though - and his date was sending some mixed signals once he did try to make it more than platonic).

I think as long as the conversation continues to get more personal (sharing more stories and details of your lives), it's not about what you say, it's about touch and eye contact. Don't be afraid to look at her adoringly, let the conversation pause and just make eye contact and smile, etc.
posted by amaire at 2:06 PM on January 14, 2014

One nice thing about AskMe is the variety of perspectives you get. I find "take-charge, dominant" men super annoying and being treated as their submissive delicate little thing would really offend me. So unless you know how she feels, it might be better to err on the side of respectfulness.

Here's what happened the one time (that I can remember) that I asked a guy outright if I could kiss him. I was 22 and staying in a youth hostel. I had a big crush on this guy and so one night after partying all night I went to look for him. I showed up at his door when he was getting ready for bed, and just said, with no preamble "Umm... can I kiss you?" He said " ... ... Yes!!"

It was thrilling and hot. It wasn't some kind of dorky awkward milquetoast thing. You can ask her that question in a way that is exciting and sexy.
posted by cairdeas at 3:21 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here is another move that Italian guys do. At the end of the night, give her a hug. While you're hugging, turn your face and give her a kiss on the cheek. If she doesn't let go of you, kiss her again, slower.
posted by cairdeas at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2014

I mean this nicely, but I get a huge over thinking vibe from this question. You sound really uncomfortable, and personally, when the guy is uncomfortable, I'm also uncomfortable. I suggest you do what comes naturally and comfortably. Almost always, my main advice to guys is to get a laugh first. Get a laugh first, a good hearty chuckle, and you can do almost anything in the next moment and have it be fun and forgiven.

Holding hands, while I understand why someone would give this advice in a well-meaning way, is suuuuper stiff and over-thinky and unnatural to me. Unless you have a need for it, it seems weird. That's more long-term couple stuff, or leading her into a room or onto a path stuff.

Generally, do something that involves touch. Dancing is great for this but so is being in nature in any way. Sports like bowling or golfing are good too- you know those movies where they adjust your swing? Think of a list of innocent reasons to touch someone, or situations in which you would HAVE to touch someone, IMO, and start from there. Once you've touched, just get that laugh. Get that laugh and it should be easy.

I picture you tossing sand at each other, or just being playful, or messing up the steps dancing and laughing about it, and then in a warm, safe, flow-y moment, hugging or whatever. Hug goodnight and kiss on cheek also works pretty well.
posted by quincunx at 3:36 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Walk. Outside if possible. Long walk. There's nothing sexier. Let your hand just very lightly brush hers a couple times....let her wonder whether it was intentional.

It sounds like weak tea, I know. It isn't. Try it! :)

The reason getting to kissing from this point seems like such a leap is because that's skipping steps. And all the steps are thrilling. Why not linger on them? Enjoy them?

Believe, me, if she leans in an inch closer to you when you almost-accidentally brush her hand, it will feel 10,000 times more earth-shaking to you than a full night of oral sex will several months down the road. So enjoy this stuff languorously and without skipping ANYTHING.

That will also relieve the awkwardness. The reason you feel awkward is because this is not someone to just be making out with all of a sudden. When it doesn't feel awkward, that means it's time.
posted by Quisp Lover at 3:50 PM on January 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Can I kiss you good night?"

That worked on me at the end of a second date. The question was asked comfortably and non-awkwardly. We just had a nice date and were both in good moods. I think asking like that is a nice way to transition as long as the asking isn't done too awkwardly.
posted by Gravel at 7:39 PM on January 14, 2014

Just kiss her. I mean, yeah, it would be great if things were flirty all night. But that's not necessary. If you're both into each other, and you're saying goodnight, sometimes you have to just kiss her even though it feels a little bit abrupt or awkward.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:17 AM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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