Part VThe Date

«r stuff Her signs

You can tell that a woman is interested in a kiss if

1 She's facing you, arms down, body relaxed. 1 Her head is tilted upward.

1 She doesn't appear to be ending the date with some definitive remark like, "Thanks. I'll call you."

i Her lips are parted.

1 She gazes into your eyes.

If she's not interested, she'll

1 Clamp her jaw shut. 1 Fumble for her keys. 1 Won't look you in the eye. 1 Glue her chin to her chest. 1 Hold out her hand and say, "Thanks."

His signs

A guy looking forward to a little lip action will

1 Position his body between you and the door. 1 Act nervous.

1 Show no visible signs of leaving or ending the date. 1 Tilt his head upward. 1 Lick his lips.

If he's not interested, he'll

1 Walk you directly to your door or car, without hesitation. 1 Keep his hands in his pockets. 1 Look at his feet. 1 Avoid eye contact at all costs.

Remember, kissing is not a mandatory end to every date. You can hug, shake hands, wave at each other. There are other perfectly acceptable alternatives. It's your date, and you can kiss if you want to . . . or not kiss if you don't.

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How to kiss

A first kiss, whether you're 15 or 50, is thrilling, sweet, nerve-wracking, intimate, awkward, and incredibly vulnerable — all in the first five seconds. Forget about what you've seen in the movies (show biz kisses are well-rehearsed — mostly so the kissers don't cover up each other's faces) or on stage (actors sometimes skip the lips and kiss between the lower lip and the chin to preserve the actress' lipstick!). You'll bump noses and knock teeth and giggle nervously as well as feel tingly all over — which is all perfectly okay.

Though there is no "right" way to kiss, here are a few pointers to help you successfully land a lip-lock:

1 Check out your date's body language. Some signs your date is kiss-ready: head tilted up, eye contact, uncrossed arms, body facing you.

1 As soon as you decide to go for it, do it. Hovering near some girl or guy's lips will only make both of you freak out.

1 Maintain eye contact on the way to your date's lips. Don't shut your eyes until you arrive, or you may get lost on the way.

1 Start gently. Press your lips sweetly against your date's. Save the tongue action for later.

1 Pull back. Gaze into your date's eyes. If it's a go, you'll know by the way he or she looks longingly back at you. If not, smile and say goodnight, and your face will be nicely saved.

1 The second lip-press is when you can go French. This means tongue. This doesn't mean gagging your date or thrusting home or swallowing his or her tongue as soon as it darts into your mouth. Instead, gingerly part your lips and venture forth.

A light, flickering touch with your tongue can produce major results. The tongue is a cluster of nerve-endings. Imagine "caressing" your date's tongue and lips and mouth.

1 Don't overdo it. Variety — kissing the eyelashes, neck, nibbling on the lips — is the spice that flavors all great kissing.

What about sex on the first date?

On a first date, sex should be out of the question. You're just getting to know each other, emotions are running hot, your head may be swimming in infatuation hormones — not an ideal time to take such a dramatic physical and emotional step. Which is what sex really is.

There are several really compelling reasons not to have sex on a first date:

1 Health: In addition to AIDS, there are a lot of sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, running rampant out there: chlamydia, genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes (a virus you're stuck with for life). Another STD you don't hear too much about is hepatitis C, an incurable virus that causes a liver infection.

186 part v:The Date

1 Translation: Sex doesn't always mean the same thing to men and women. You may think it's no big deal but your partner is mentally picking out china patterns. You simply need more than one date to make sure you're both headed in the same direction.

1 Exposure: On nearly every level, sex is about exposure. You're (at least partially) naked. You're opening your body and a piece of your soul to another person. Major stuff, not to be entered into lightly.

1 Intimacy: Sex is a very intimate act. Even if it feels more physical to you, it's a primal union that opens up all sorts of emotional nooks and crannies you may not even know you had. The intimacy of sexuality is a powerful, loving, amazing thing. It's to be nurtured and cherished, not taken lightly.

For more info on the timing and impact of sex on a relationship, see Chapter 22.

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