Kiss attempted. Kiss rejected. Is there any hope?
May 25, 2016 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Women of Metafilter : have you ever given a guy the head-dodge (or the cheek-turn) at the end of a first date, and then actually wanted them to ask you out on a second date?

End of first date. I lean in for the kiss. I get the dreaded head-dodge or cheek-turn. Not a good sign. Wondering if this is just a universal signal for "not interested", or if some women actually do this and still want the guy to ask her out again.
posted by Sloop John B to Human Relations (42 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you taking a poll? I would probably not head dodge a person I wanted to see again. I have no memory of doing so in the past.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:39 PM on May 25, 2016 [6 favorites]

Yes, way back in the day, I did that to my husband on his first kiss attempt. It just meant "too soon."
posted by Knowyournuts at 9:42 PM on May 25, 2016 [42 favorites]

I've definitely been taken off guard by men I thought I liked but wasn't sure yet. Probably a 50/50 chance I would have gone on a second date. It doesn't hurt to ask, though. Could have been a misunderstanding, meeting someone for the first time and kissing them several hours later can always be a bit weird.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:43 PM on May 25, 2016 [14 favorites]

You might get more data about this if you ask if you can kiss them or say you'd like to kiss them or something that involves talking rather than just trying to do it.

I've been not-ready for kissing but still up for going on another date. But my not-ready self has appreciated words instead of just an attempt.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:47 PM on May 25, 2016 [37 favorites]

Eh, sorry, this isn't a good sign. All the women I know wouldn't dodge a guy they were into.
posted by Toddles at 9:49 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you are referring to it as "the head-dodge," it has happened often enough that you dread it, and wonder if it's universal, it sounds like it ain't working for you regardless of what we think. Or thought.

Some women in this thread will say yes, some will say no, but none of them are speaking for the woman who turns her head away when you lean in for a kiss on the first date. Only she can tell you that, and the best way to avoid this head-dodge you continue to get is to ask if you can kiss her before you lean in.
posted by good lorneing at 9:55 PM on May 25, 2016 [25 favorites]

Wondering if this is just a universal signal for "not interested", or if some women actually do this and still want the guy to ask her out again.

Reasons why she might not have wanted a kiss right then:
* It was a first date
* Maybe she had a cold sore
* Maybe she thought her breath was too garlicky from whatever she ate
* Maybe you surprised her and she was hit by a sudden wave of awkward and it just went all wrong.

The best way to know if she wants to go on a second date with you is to wait a couple days then ask her out on the second date. If she says no, then you know.

In the future though, please ask before kissing, especially the first one. Or at least warn... a kind of coy "I really want to kiss you now..." gives her the opportunity to take the initiative if kissing is what she wants too.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:55 PM on May 25, 2016 [29 favorites]

Considering that you asked this exact question nearly 6 years ago makes me wonder whether you're going in for the kiss on first dates on the perfunctory expectation as to that's what you do on first dates rather than being aware of what your date is signaling.

Fwiw, it's not the end of world to not kiss on the first date - a missed opportunity to kiss a woman who is interested in you on the first date isn't going to kill the possibility of a second date; whereas an attempt at a kiss on the first date to someone who isnt ready for a kiss for whatever reason, despite whether they re interested in you or not, is much more likely to harm your second date chances.
posted by Karaage at 10:11 PM on May 25, 2016 [28 favorites]

Yep: Too soon.
posted by mochapickle at 10:14 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think a more "universal signal for not interested" after the first date is someone ghosting or rejecting a second date. I don't think kissing or not kissing on the first date is a definitive sign of anything, because People And Their Reasons.
posted by sm1tten at 10:25 PM on May 25, 2016 [7 favorites]

The last time I ended up going out with a guy I really liked, I shied away from the first kiss. Much of that can be explained by my texts to my male best friend on the train ride home: "he reminds me so much of you! this is so odd!" "am I allowed to date the straight version of you in loveliness, sense of humour and that ineffable soul-connect / clickage thing?" Long story short, we did go on our second date and our first "proper" kiss was wonderful and mutually very much on.

There are many, many completely innocuous reasons for why someone wouldn't be ready for a first kiss on the first date. Applying supposed universals in dating like "you must always kiss on the first date" (unless it's something foundational like consent) can sometimes go off the mark. (And, similarly, entirely as a personal preference, I'm the dissenting voice for asking someone for a kiss. I don't enjoy being asked explicitly if I would like to be kissed; I find that a bit childlike.)

That said, there's no substitute for knowing whether someone is interested in you barring asking them out again and being responsive to, and considerate of, their signals. Good luck!
posted by Collaterly Sisters at 10:30 PM on May 25, 2016

Whether or not I kiss you at the end of a first date is not a sign of wanting a second date. FWIW, I've actually kissed first dates and not wanted to go out with them on a second date.

A better sign of wanting a second date after a first date is if the first date lasted longer than expected because we kept on wanting to extend our time together to keep the conversation going and keep learning more. So after coffee, we decide to get dinner, and after dinner we go for a walk. And what was supposed to be a two hour date turned into a five hour evening.

That's a much clearer sign.
posted by brookeb at 10:36 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

It might help to frame the goal as NOT "to kiss someone"- that's something you're doing to her, it kind of makes her a passive recipient of your kiss, and that's not the most fun for either of you.

Try re-framing the goal: "to set up conditions where a kiss will be collaboratively engaged in by 2 people."

Nobody should ever have to dodge a kiss because that implies a kiss was kinda being thrown at them by a person who didn't pay attention to their body language to see if they wanted to kiss. I hate it when people put kisses on me. I like kissing WITH someone.

If you want to kiss someone, I think it's good to ramp up contact gradually - over the course of an evening, touch shoulder, touch arm, touch back, hug, let knees touch in the cinema, etc. Pay attention to the other person's body language. Do they lean into your touch or do they angle away or end your touch? Are they making extended eye contact, or looking away a lot? Is their chest pointed towards you, or away from you with crossed arms? If the other person angles away from your touch, or ends any contact you initiate, stop and back off of that kind of touch, and that's the extent of the touching you're allowed until further notice (like until they touch you in a more intimate way and re-escalate things).

If they keep leaning into your touch or escalating it, they're signalling that they want to create a kiss together. By the time it's kiss time, your bodies should have been gradually getting closer together for the past hour or so. If you're starting a first kiss from more than about 10 inches away, the other person probably doesn't want it, it's too soon and the conditions aren't right. You need to nuzzle in closer first. See if they are receptive to that proximity. If the body language says yes, then you can just close the distance of the final 5 inches or so and allow the kiss to happen between you.

I like what Hitch suggests: You go in 90% of the way and WAIT. If she wants the kiss, she'll come the last 10% of the distance.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:36 PM on May 25, 2016 [15 favorites]

Kisses (or physical contact) without permission are something I always rebuff, even if I would have been inclined to the kiss. "Never without my permission" is a pretty big deal for a lot of people.

It's still worth asking for a second date. If the date happens, pay attention to her body language.
posted by toomanycurls at 11:00 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think it was too soon -- she didn't know you well enough and didn't want to kiss you because of it. She may be willing to get to know you more on a second date. Kissing =/= wanting to get to know a romantic prospect.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:20 PM on May 25, 2016

I hate kissing; I just think it's gross. I head-dodge my husband on the regular.
posted by town of cats at 11:38 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

Ah, the surprise attack kiss can illicit many different responses. I had a date that I thought was going awful until he pulled me in for a deep and wonderful kiss, and then I left feeling really confused (I'm not quick enough to dodge). I've been in the middle of something else, like ordering a drink or getting on an elevator and suddenly had lips on mine. I really need to figure out how to dodge. It's not that I didn't want to be kissed, it's that I wasn't ready or expecting to be kissed at that moment. Okay, some of them were that I didn't want to be kissed by that person ever. I also really hate the unromantic first kiss. If a guy goes for the first kiss in a parking lot by my car, I know it's just not going to go anywhere. A first kiss should have a story behind it and, "I was looking for my keys" just doesn't do it.

The only way to know if she wants to go out again is to ask. Don't ask with your tail between your legs like she's about to break your heart and splatter your ego all over the sidewalk. Keep it loose and casual, as second dates should be. Ask her out for an afternoon event, something public and unique, that will indicate your desire to get to know her better without making her think that you are only after that one thing. At the end of date two, have date three planned. This can be an evening date. Try holding hands first. Learn her last name and favorite band. Take things slow. Read her signals. Remember that she is a full blown person with complicated thoughts and confusing desires and more than just someone you want to kiss.
posted by myselfasme at 12:35 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

If she gave you the "head dodge" and is regretting it, she'll realise the ball is in her court and she'll be the one to ask you.
posted by intensitymultiply at 1:09 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Did you have physical contact with her during the date at all? If you are just initiating contact via a goodnight kiss that is pretty offputting, but a rejection of that kiss doesn't really indicate one way or another if she'd be happy to see you again or not.

Try to work up to a kiss with smaller gestures, even on subsequent dates with the same person. There's casual short touches, holding hands, arm around shoulder, leaning against them, hugs, hand clasps (a gentler more caress type of thing than a hand shake) and so forth. If she edges away from these gestures, then respect that. If she is happy to share physical space with and be touched by you but isn't okay with kissing, I would say you are more likely to be okayed for further dates.

Women are not universal, nothing about us is standard, you have to ask us things with your words and treat us all as individuals.
posted by Mizu at 2:10 AM on May 26, 2016 [28 favorites]

Women are not universal, nothing about us is standard, you have to ask us things with your words and treat us all as individuals.

Quoted for truth.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:55 AM on May 26, 2016 [24 favorites]

Obviously I can't speak for that particular lady. But I've done this. It means "I don't want to kiss you right now", not "I never want to see you again". If I didn't want to see you again, you probably wouldn't get close enough to kiss me without awkward movement.

I might say something like "maybe next time" though, so he knows the door isn't closed.
posted by pianissimo at 4:02 AM on May 26, 2016

What I might do is ask for a second date first, THEN ask her, "how do you feel about a good-night kiss?"

All you can do is ask for a second date at this point.

I'm wondering how good you are at picking up signals. That's why it's a good idea to ask before moving in to kiss a person.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:44 AM on May 26, 2016

Chances are not good, but I did this to my partner on our first date. I did not hold it against him, and went out on a second date with him two days later.
posted by tippy at 4:49 AM on May 26, 2016

End of first date. I lean in for the kiss.

Sorry, there is no "the kiss" after a first date. In fact, there is no "the kiss" ever. Some people think that kissing is a very intimate activity, and don't want to kiss a near stranger. I am one of those people.
posted by Dolley at 5:48 AM on May 26, 2016 [11 favorites]

Personally, if I head-dodged someone it would either be because I was REALLY not into them at all, or because it was a total surprise and I panicked.

I can't speak for this woman, but I do agree with the other folks here: you can't just pull a kiss out of nowhere without making your intentions known, especially if there wasn't much contact/closeness during the rest of the date.

Even just asking, "May I kiss you goodnight?" at the end of the evening would do so much to relay your intentions and interest and also allow her to opt-in or out as she chooses.

In this case, I would probably message her and say something like, "I had a really good time the other night. If you'd like to get together again, let me know! I'm free all next week."

No pressure, ball's in her court. And if you don't hear back, graciously delete her number without further fuss.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:35 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ya I always do this because I find kissing on the first date is too soon.

I would do this to pretty much anyone, no matter how attracted I am to them, if it was the first time I spent time with them alone. For me it's just shyness and not wanting to go too fast.
posted by winterportage at 6:41 AM on May 26, 2016

This totally happened with me, eight years ago. I was really shy, not because the date wasn't going well, but because of some other factors involved, including power dynamics.

Anyway, we got engaged last Sunday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:53 AM on May 26, 2016 [7 favorites]

Personally, even if I'd been into you up to that point, if I had to head-dodge—in other words, if you were just coming at me with your lips, without preliminaries or any kind of attempt to suss out my interest in such a thing—it would kill my interest in a second date.
posted by babelfish at 7:24 AM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

You are not able to judge whether or not a woman wants a kiss.
Make some new rules for yourself:
1. No kissing on a first date. Period.
2. No kissing on subsequent dates until the woman really, really shows that she wants to kiss.

This will totally change your dating life.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:30 AM on May 26, 2016 [6 favorites]

I was about to give you an unequivocal "no" but I did head dodge a guy I really liked once because I knew he had a girlfriend.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 7:44 AM on May 26, 2016

The head dodge is a rejection of the kiss. It doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't want to go out with you again, but it seems to me that she rejected your physical expression of interest -- so if she wants to go out again, the onus is on her to ask you out. She could fairly think, hey, I expressed disinterest, why is this creeper still pestering me?

So, no, you should not ask her out for date number two. If she likes you, she'll ask you out, or text you, or somehow let you know she wants to go out again. But, yeah, I think it's pretty unlikely.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:48 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ack! I'm afraid that some of the posts might make you think that you totally screwed everything up by going in for that kiss.

Unless you really did swoop in for a random-attack-surprise lipsmacker, I would assume that the date was going reasonably well for you to get into close enough face-to-face physical proximity to even attempt the smooch in the first place.

So if you had a nice time on your first date, just ask her out on a second date already. If she says no, then she says no - and I seriously doubt that the attempted kiss will have been the only factor in her decision. At the very least, if it was the deciding factor, then it points to an early mismatch in terms of communication and intimacy.

And in the future, for god's sake, man - do ask before you plunge right in. I've always found sparklemotion's line, "I really want to kiss you" to be a good thing to say (or, "I would really like to kiss you now.") Because it isn't a direct question, it doesn't put the onus on the woman to declare an outright "no" (which can be hard because: social conditioning).

I'm not quite sure why you aren't using words to communicate with your dates: either about the kiss OR about her interest in a second date. When I see this happening, it's usually because a person is paralyzed by a fear of rejection - they are afraid to ask the questions directly because they can't bear the possibility that they'll be answered with a "no." If that's the frame of mind you're in, then therapy might not be a terrible idea; at the very least, try and recognize that "no" is not some sort of referendum on your personhood or self or whatever -- it's just a "no." The right person will say "yes," and say it enthusiastically.
posted by pinkacademic at 8:08 AM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wow, there is so much contradictory certainty about what to do/not do on this topic.
It is perfectly appropriate to ask her on another date even if the first ended a bit awkwardly. It is perfectly appropriate for her to say no. Neither of you owes the other an explanation for your decision or answer.
posted by meinvt at 8:12 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I encourage you to see the full spectrum of responses in this thread as evidence that it could be one of very, very many things— and not to preclude any of the answers because they don't seem to have import given your particular situation at first blush. Allow her to have as many reasons as she does personal idiosyncrasies why she didn't feel ready to share a kiss at that moment.

I think you'll find that you are meant to answer this question yourself, and for each different individual situation, now, and in the future. Candidly put, we can't know; we won't know. Inherent in that, there's an appeal for you to find ways you can know well in advance how she might respond. Follow the call to give her full reverence in these moments. Work to establish an earlier sense of intimacy and rapport, and communicate any intentions justly. Work to do this through spoken emotional contexts, earlier touch in the evening that is mutually felt enjoyable and apropos to the situation, allowing her to meet you the rest of the way.
posted by a good beginning at 8:45 AM on May 26, 2016

I've resolved for myself to save kissing for the moments when I really feel there's something to communicate in them, and to allow that to be spontaneous to the moment, rather than as a planned coda to the first date. I think you'll learn this the hard way if it's an expectation you're going to hold for yourself. It's plainly the wrong way to do it, in my opinion. Keep it special.
posted by a good beginning at 8:52 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had someone head dodge me about 3 months ago. Turns out she hadn't ever kissed anyone (long story), but now we think we're both pretty wonderful. For her it was a moment of pure and utter panic.

I don't even try to kiss on the first date anymore because it is too soon for a lot of people. You can't possibly know unless you learn telepathy or ask. But don't just ask that right now... ask her out again. You have nothing at all to lose.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:14 AM on May 26, 2016

I have done this with guys I was perfectly willing to see again but not ready to kiss. She could have any number of reasons for not wanting to kiss you on the first date, including (as in my case) an experience of sexual assault that she doesn't want to share with everyone she meets.

She is the only person who knows what the head dodge meant. If you want to go out with her again, ask her. Given that she did dodge you, next time, ask before kissing. "Is it OK if I kiss you?" That's all you need to say.
posted by FencingGal at 9:31 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

SIGH FFS. Women are people, just like men!! Insufficient data!

Here are a few possible reasons for her head dodge :
(i) she doesn't want to kiss you, ever
(ii) she didn't want to kiss you at that very moment but might want to kiss you in the future
(iii) she wanted to kiss you but really felt like turning her head... etc etc.

None of us are telepathic x-men mindreaders (as far as I know). Don't ask random internet strangers! Ask her!!.
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 11:05 AM on May 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

Ive had it happen a couple times where it ended up becoming a relationship. Just means she isnt ready to kiss for whatever reason. It could also mean she doesnt want a second date, sure, but it also might not.

My wife rejected me even touching her hand on the first date, and we laugh about it now. Everyone has their own pace, which is a separate issue from whether she wants to see you again.
posted by thefoxgod at 12:03 PM on May 26, 2016

Head dodged because I knew my breath was going to be pongy. Longed for a second date, didn't get asked (probably because my breath was pongy but who knows? I don't because he never talked to me again!)

Wow, there is so much contradictory certainty about what to do/not do on this topic.

Well of course there is, that's because there's lots of people answering!

The best thing to do is ask her for another date and see what she says. Only she knows what the head dodge was about!
posted by h00py at 7:06 AM on May 27, 2016

Yes, including with my now husband.

I never felt comfortable kissing on a first date. It's the first date, after all. And I never liked kissing strangers.
posted by ethidda at 6:58 PM on May 28, 2016

Yes, women are all different. For instance, I definitely kiss on a first date to make sure there's enough chemistry for a second date, and any guy who asked permission to kiss me would sort of ruin (for me) the fun of that natural, inevitable moment where you start kissing. So don't feel bad about all the people who insist you needed to ask permission or not kiss on the first date. Women are really, really all different.
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 9:40 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

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