Permission-based dating over 40

by Dating Goddess on November 23, 2009

May I Kiss You?

May I Kiss You?

My friend Mike Domitrz is the founder of The Date Safe Project™, and author of May I Kiss You? and Help! My Teen Is Dating. In familiarizing myself with his work, I was taken not only by his commitment to helping kids and young adults to date more respectfully, but with the application of his ideas to midlife daters.

I’ve found there are many assumptions in dating over 40. The first kiss is one area. Rarely has a man asked if he could kiss me. Many times a man has kissed me when, if he had asked, I would not have said “yes.”

But some people think asking takes all spontaneity and passion out of a kiss. Yet when a man has asked, my respect for him goes up considerably. He is showing me respect, not assuming. Some of the most awkward moments in dating have been when a man I don’t want to kiss me does so and I have to quickly extricate myself.

Mike takes it beyond kissing, and says each stage of intimacy should involve permission — no matter who initiates it. By making sure there is explicit permission, it creates more trust, respect and reduces misunderstandings. By asking before moving to the next stage, it gives both parties a chance to pause for a moment and consider what advancing means to them and if they are ready for it.

You may be saying, “This is fine for high school kids. But we are grown adults. We can say no or stop at any time.” Yes, we can. But when you are caught up in the moment, you don’t always consider, “What will moving the next level really mean? How will my expectations change? Is this something I really want to do, or am I caught up in how good it feels?” I think adults are sometimes only slightly more mature about this than young adults.

Putting the onus on the woman to stop the action is not respectful. I’ve had men try to talk me out of my “no” which has felt very disrespectful. Wouldn’t a man want to have a woman who is fully on board with raising the intimacy, rather than one who is just going with the flow? (I know some men will say, “Either is fine!”)

How has your regard changed for a man who asks permission? Have you felt disrespected when a man has just assumed escalating to the next level is fine, putting you in the difficult position of stopping the action?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen November 24, 2009 at 4:01 am

Are you going to suggest that the *woman* should also ask the man before escalating anything? Because there’s several mid-life guys that I’ve dated where I had to make the first move (ask him out, kiss him).

In theory I’m all for explicit permissions all along the way, but in practice, I’m sorry, but I can’t see how this would be anything other than awkward. Besides, isn’t this what dating rituals are for?
ie, if he asks you to dinner at a nice restaurant, it’s a date & means he’s romantically inclined. If you don’t like him “that way” you better decline or explain exactly how you do like him right away or at least before the 2nd date.

Richard November 24, 2009 at 5:58 am

It seems like it depends on how fast you want to go. If you want to go pedal to the metal, then it is probably good to clear the roadblocks. But if you take things one-step at a time, you can usually sense if there is resistance or not.

It reminds me of the question: “When does ‘no’ mean ‘yes’?” You can ask, but you may have to interpret the answer anyway.

Asking will help in one area where it is hard to interpret the signs: When she wants to emotionally, but is not ready intellectually. Having an agreement not to go beyond a certain point will allow her to enjoy what she is willing to do, without the fear of getting lost in the moment.

Just curious, you said: “Many times a man has kissed me when, if he had asked, I would not have said ‘yes.’”. Of those times, how often were you happy he did kiss you?

Samantha November 24, 2009 at 10:52 am

Well, I had a boyfriend who did ask me verbatim, “can I kiss you?” the first time. I thought that was kind of neat, I liked his style in that way. As for the rest of the relationship, it did not turn out to be a good one – he was too negative, too opinionated, etc. I have found it works better to look at the whole situation, instead of a snapshot of what happens in the beginning… I say don’t put things under a microscope too much with those you date… here is a for instance. My guy one time licked his fingers at a restaurant. It was Santana Row, we were outside sitting in an area in between two restaurants. It wasn’t crowded so I ‘m not sure what he was thinking though… I was not impressed, however it’s the only time he’s done that and everything else is OK… someone else may base the entire relationship on the finger licking and end it. LOL. Actually, now that I’m thinking about this again I am sure if he did it again I would be very annoyed and tell him to stop it. Anyway, my point is I think when you meet someone and there’s chemistry, try not to get too hung up on something he/she does you dont like, (within reason, right) or put too much emphasis on something he/she says that you think is wonderful. You have to see how it all goes over time, i think.

Mark November 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

I had a first date with a woman and I had enjoyed it, so I was walking her back to her car, musing about whether I should kiss her. We got to the car and she shot her hand out for a handshake, ha ha. Ok, there would be no goodnight kiss! And she didn’t want to see me again, either — well, she was down for being friends and seeing plays together, a mutual interest, but no romance.

I can’t imagine asking if I could kiss a woman. I’m not turning a first kiss into a makeout session. If it’s awkward, it’s awkward, but it’s over in a few seconds regardless. It seems just as awkward to ask. If I feel like a date went well and I’m interested, I will try to kiss her and tell her I want to see her again.

As to escalating the intimacy, I’ve only had a handful of serious relationships since I was married for 24 years and “off the market” most of my adult life. I honestly never pushed a woman for sex. It’s always been the woman making it obvious that she wants intimacy.

I think if it’s right between two people, you don’t need to discuss it. You’ll feel it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking about it, but I don’t think I’d initiate that conversation.

Dating Goddess November 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Richard: To answer your question about how many of the men I was glad kissed me when I wouldn’t have said yes if they’d asked, the answer is NONE! Of the men who didn’t ask and just kissed me, I can count on one hand the number I was glad who did. And of course, if those few had asked, I would have said “Yes!”

The question is: is it more uncomfortable for the initiator to just charge ahead based on his/her interpretations of how well things are going, or to be (perhaps) a little uncomfortable by asking permission? Is it more uncomfortable to have someone break away quickly, push you away hard, slap you, or say, “What the hell are you doing????”

I think erring on the side of respect always wins vs. giving up some spontaneity. If you ask, and the other wants to be kissed, s/he will say yes, or lean in and kiss you, or grab your shirt collar and pull you close.

For many, kissing is an intimate act. To make assumptions about someone else’s interest I think is not right. I’ve been kissed by men to whom I was being polite during our coffee or meal, and that niceness was interpreted as interest. If they’d asked to kiss me, I would have declined. Would it have been uncomfortable? Yes. Was it more uncomfortable just assuming I wanted to be kissed and I had to break it off quickly? Yes.

Assumptions can often mean trouble. Explicitness much less so.

Karen November 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I agree with Samantha–to kiss or not is not something I dwell on—it’s more the whole guy that I’m trying to figure out.

I don’t consider a quick peck or most types of public or first-date kisses “an intimate act”–just my opinion. I am even guilty of giving “a quick hug & a kiss as a greeting” when meeting an online male acquaintance for a first date! Although I would not do this if I didn’t like the guy in the first place, it is a great way to break the ice so you can both relax and have a normal conversation.

On the other hand, I’ve never had a man kiss me when I didn’t want him to. If I don’t like a man after some time on a first date with him, I stay very polite but I change my manner to my work persona of a brisk and businesslike “executive professional”. I act just like I would when I am taking a client out to dinner–be polite, even charming, but deflect anything personal. As part of this persona I politely ignore any of romantic/off color/personal comments, pause briefly, and then pointedly change the subject. I think I give off pretty clear vibes when I do this, because since I developed this work persona I have never had any problems with unwanted attention while at work either. On the other hand, a man from work that I am currently dating says that he was always afraid to approach me because of how I act at work! So maybe I overdo it.

Mike Lowrey November 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I have asked on the rare occasion when I couldn’t read the woman I was on a date with. But I would say that about 85% of the time I’ve been able to accurate tell.

But then again I have common sense and lets face the facts, lots of guys out there just don’t.

I’ve never kissed a woman that didn’t want to be kissed.
It’s very obvious when things aren’t going well.

DG: Wow…so you let guys kiss you who you don’t want to kiss? Interesting.

I think that you’re taking kissing to a pretty deep level.
I simple kiss… is just a kiss, not a lifelong commitment.

I’m not saying throw your tongue into his mouth and make his toes curl.
A polite kiss is nothing to get all worked up about.

Mike Domitrz November 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Hi, everyone. The Dating Goddess started this conversation based on my book “May I Kiss You?” and the program we present around the world addressing these very issues.

Do many men and women find the concept of “asking first” to be awkward? Yes, because most men and women are “awkward” about being open and honest with regards to what they want sexually and/or intimately. You can only feel “awkward” with a subject matter you are not fully comfortable with. This is a matter of confidence specifically with sexual communication.

Men and women around the country (of all ages) continually share with us how much “asking first” revolutionized their dating experiences. At first, they were completely against because of all the stereotypes mentioned above such as:

1. I can “read people’s mind and know when they want it.” If you are the one person who has never misread someone, congrats! The fact is “dating rituals” such as reading another person’s body language to know exactly what they want DOES NOT WORK. If it did, everyone would find dating to be super easy! You know how many friends you have who are frustrated with dating. Every group we’ve met around the world says that reading your partner perfectly all the time is simply impossible. In fact, “reading your partner’s mind” often leads to disagreement and even arguments.

2. “asking ruins the moment” Asking didn’t ruin the moment. You simply didn’t have a “MOMENT” between the 2 of you in the first place. You weren’t that into the person.

3. Asking is not spontaneous. Neither is a kiss! Everyone watching 2 people about to kiss can tell you what is going on. In fact, kisses have no spontaneity. People tell us that usually a first kiss is preceded by long periods of waiting and awkward “small talk” while the 2 people figure out in their heads who is going to make the move. You are an adult. Be spontaneous and GET TO THE POINT. Turn to your partner – look him/her in eyes, and say, “May I Kiss You?” and do it sincerely. You will surprise them by giving them a choice (thus respect) and be showing how much passion you have by putting it into words. Now that is what spontaneity is all about!!

4. Asking is AWKWARD. If the moment resulted in awkwardness, it simply told you the partner wasn’t ready or wasn’t interested – which was WAY BETTER than going for it – making the partner uncomfortable with unwanted intimacy – and then being rejected.

5. “You just know.” Mark said above, “I think if it’s right between two people, you don’t need to discuss it. You’ll feel it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking about it, but I don’t think I’d initiate that conversation.” Well then WHO is going to initiate that conversation? If you are taking the initiative of starting the intimacy, you’re responsible to give your partner a choice FIRST. If it truly is RIGHT, your partner will LOVE telling you, “YES!”

In the end, men and women tell us over and over again how much talking directly and “Asking First” took all the annoying and frustrating “games” out of dating. Everyone deserves to be treated like an equal adult with choices. The definition of choice is “to be part of a decision BEFORE it occurs” (not after you make your move and now they have to stop you from what you are already doing).

BONUS:
By asking first before intimacy begins, you get to see exactly how your partner handles you being upfront and mature about intimacy and sexual activity. Women have continually told us stories about how “Asking First” took the annoying “waiting for the partner to make a move” out of their dating life. Men rave about how much partners appreciate being asked and how much the “talking first” created a truly unique comfort zone and trust for both of them.

We travel around the world discussing these very issues throughout the year. Feel free to get the book “May I Kiss You?” which is filled with “How To” ideas for people dating at all ages. When you check out the link, you will notice the book is written at first for beginning daters. What has happened is we were inundated with more experienced daters (often later in life) who said, “WOW! I got this for my teenager and I found myself using all the great info. Thanks for making dating after 40 a lot easier and more fun!”

You can get the book at http://www.datesafeproject.org/cmd.php?af=1097756

Mark November 25, 2009 at 1:11 am

I think this is being blown way out of proportion.

It’s a first date. If a first date is leading to a second date, a goodnight kiss is an ok thing. If there will be no second date, then a goodnight kiss isn’t warranted.

However, if a goodnight kiss happens anyway, is that so horrible? It may be awkward if the woman doesn’t want it, but it’s over fast. And is it any less awkward than the man saying, “May I kiss you?” and the woman having to reply in a negative fashion? You think those two are enjoying the moment then? In some ways, I’d argue, the goodnight kiss is less awkward even if it’s not a kiss that is wanted. It’s like when you’re a kid and some 87 year old aunt insists on kissing you and you’re thinking, ‘yuck.’ You can put up a fuss and get out of the kiss, or you can bite the bullet and get it over and move on.

Sex is certainly worth a conversation, but a first date kiss? I don’t think so, unless the woman wants to halt things and say no. If a woman gets up the nerve for that, more power to her. After all, we guys have to get up the nerve to go for the kiss in the first place.

Karen November 25, 2009 at 3:54 am

Mike D: thanks for the info about your book. However, I will respectfully disagree.

You are right that kisses are not exactly unpredictable or expected! But from that I would conclude that asking permission shouldn’t be necessary–at least not for anyone with a shred of social understanding.

Since getting divorced in my 40′s I’ve been realizing this: I really don’t want (another!) partner who is clueless in social situations, who cannot understand/look for/pick up on social clues. We humans are intensely social creatures and and an ability to understand others’ social cues is critical to our success and happiness in *all* situations–dating, at work, with extended family and children, etc etc etc.

Social cluelessness might be excusable in the very young (who hopefully have time to learn), but social cluelessness in an adult? In someone I am hoping to form a long-term romantic/life partnership with? A dealbreaker, IMO. Because I want my man to get along easily with others, to feel comfortable in many different social situations, and hopefully to be able to understand me without my having to draw him a picture every single time.

And I’ve met/dated too many middle-aged men who have vendettas with people at work, who keep getting fired “for no reason”, who keep getting dumped “out of the blue”, and who have family who “disapprove of them for no clear reason” (according to them, anyway).

If a man can’t accurately figure out if I want to kiss him or not, then he is probably seriously lacking in one of the main qualities I’m looking for in a man.

I suppose if I was very young, I might be more interested in whether the man would be a good provider. But at my age, I am financially solid on my own–I want a soulmate.

Mike Domitrz November 25, 2009 at 6:56 am

A man who asks IS socially comfortable. He is not AFRAID of how he feels or what he wants. The best part is he makes decisions WITH his partner’s wants and needs in mind – not simply for what he wants.

As for, “If a man can’t accurately figure out if I want to kiss him or not, then he is probably seriously lacking in one of the main qualities I’m looking for in a man” – you are saying you want a man who can READ YOUR MIND. Dating at this point in your life – you should KNOW BETTER. You keep looking for the magic fairy dust while others around you handle intimacy with a mature, open approach (not a guessing game based on fairy tale scenes).

As for “Sex is certainly worth a conversation, but a first date kiss? I don’t think so, unless the woman wants to halt things and say no. If a woman gets up the nerve for that, more power to her. After all, we guys have to get up the nerve to go for the kiss in the first place.” See when people learn how to “ASK FIRST” – you don’t have to take all the initiative anymore. Men and women ASK FIRST. Asking first takes you out of the stone age of men making all the moves.

Go back and read my original post. Respond to being mature, open, honest, and respectful by asking first. We have never met someone to practiced “Asking First” who didn’t come back and say, “That approach was rude, uncaring, lacked passion, and did ruin the moment.” So far, all arguments against “Asking First” have been based on old stereotypes which I addressed in my first comment here. Ironically, those same old stereotypes leave both men and women frustrated.

Are myself and the Dating Goddess taking this conversation seriously? Yes, intimacy is a serious subject that should be dealt with maturely and passionately. Step up to the plate and show your passion by displaying you can put into words what you want to have happen physically. You will have soo much fun!!

Karen November 25, 2009 at 10:03 am

Mike D.: Your argument is a straw man.

Because there’s a big difference between asking a guy to be capable of “reading my mind” (which would be ridiculous of course) and asking a guy to capable of telling if I want a lip lock or not.

Past the age of 20 or so, most women realize that it’s stupid to play games or act “hard to get”. Why do you think that women are so hard to read?

For example: if we’re at work and I don’t know you and we both get into the same elevator and I either say “good morning” politely or ignore you totally—I don’t want a kiss.

If we’re on a first date and I decline dessert, yawn, look at my watch several times, declare that I need to leave early to take an important phone call, don’t touch your arm the whole time–I don’t want a kiss.

On the other hand, if we’re on a date and I stare into your eyes the entire time, hang on your every word, laugh at all your jokes, linger over dessert, coffee, and etc, touch your arm whenever possible, and tell you that hey, this was fun, and let’s do it again sometime*–then, you may go for it!

Of course, it works both ways. Like I said to one of my GFs the other day, concerning a guy I was interested in—-”What’s wrong with him? I asked him to lunch and chatted him up including asking him if he ever gets lonely when he mentioned that he lived alone, we talked about “going to hear some music sometime”, I sent him many flirty emails, I asked him to dinner (when he didn’t invite me to do something), and we went out and had a great time–but he didn’t try to kiss me!” And she replied, “he’s obviously either gay or not into you”.

Pretty simple, really.

Mark November 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

I recently has a first date with a woman and we heard some live music. We ended up holding hands a bit while listening to the music, and exchanging a lot of smiles. Clearly, we enjoyed the evening. There was no need for me to ask for a kiss. I walked her to her car and kissed her goodnight. Asking would have been kind of weird.

And actually, when it has come to sex, every woman has made her interest in sex clear, one way or another. One woman, in fact, was over at my house and we had been kissing a bit, and she said, “The next man I have sex with I am going to marry.” My reply was, “Really? Hey, I wonder what’s on TV?”

Karen, I agree about wanting to be with someone with social awareness. Some people are very lacking. They don’t pick up on the visual cues of others. It’s a bit sad. I think it’s something they were born with in many cases — they’re wired differently. They don’t know when they’re being boring. They don’t know when they’re making someone else uncomfortable. They can’t read those visual cues.

Mike Domitrz November 25, 2009 at 11:21 am

We will have to agree to disagree. I simply go back to RESULTS. People who do “ask first” find intimacy is more fun and makes dating less complicated. Best of all, they know they have soo much respect for a partner’s body that they will never force a partner to have to say, “No” to a question they were never asked in the first place.

No one has presented any reasoning as to how “asking first” and giving your partner a choice is the wrong thing to do. When you “make your move,” your partner having to say, “No” to you or stop you is not GIVING the partner a choice – that is FORCING your partner to make a choice.

Mike Lowrey November 25, 2009 at 11:39 am

You’re dead on Mark. Like I said originally, some guys just are clueless.
I think it’s due to not eating veggies as a child.

Ladies would you really want a clueless guy who couldn’t take hints that you were dropping.

I’m the opposite, if I need to write you a certified letter to tell you what I want then…”Houston we have a problem”!

I can sum it up for guys who aren’t sure:
If your date pulls out a can of mace at any point during the date…you may NOT go for it.

If your date is laughing at every joke you tell like you’re Dane Cook, Steve Martin and Richard Pryor all rolled into one and is holding your hand as you walk her to her car…you may GO for it.

If your date keeps looking at her watch and at the end of it says, “Thanks, dinner was great I’ll call you sometime…no need to walk me to my car”…then DON’T go for it.

Food for thought guys, get a plate full!

Anna November 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Mike D: I do understand what you are saying but I think you are analyzing the whole First Date Kiss to the point where you have lost some objectivity. Surely if two adults cannot get a vibe for how the date went, as the rest of the crew here point out, then they are just clueless!! May I kiss You…..to me seems quite victorian (although I have no proof that victorian men actually asked this). I think it is worse because then the other person would have to verbalize No if they don’t want the kiss and how awkward and offensive would that be. Some things are better left unsaid. Surely the hand shake thing, or the obvious body language clues are better. Granted your research may have shown that asking first makes dating less complicated……….but it just seems so “staged” as if we were rehearsing for a scene in a play. Thats my thoughts anyhow.
DG: Persoanlly I would never kiss anyone if not so inclined. Its my body and I own it. As Mark’s date did, the handshake is a polite non-verbal way of saying No. Or yes, even the squirt of mace in the face LOL. But I have only ever had to use that once, (the handshake, not the mace) as most men pick up on body language clues that I am not that into them. And vice versa of course. Pretty obvious when someone is not into me also.

Mark November 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm

What was so weird about the handshake thing for me was it seemed like we got along great. We laughed and she even teased me once, which I always take as a good sign. I think it was one of those “no spark” things for her. I understand that. I’ve met women for coffee and had a nice conversation and enjoyed their company but come away with having no desire to date them.

Anyway, the handshake worked. It was certainly less awkward than it would have been had I asked her about a kiss and she would have said no.

Dating Goddess November 25, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Based on your comments, I’ve decided you ladies are dating more sophisticated men who can distinguish the difference between niceness and interest, and you gentlemen readers are all very savvy about EQ and social nuances. So the doctors, lawyers, CEOs, executives, professors, and entrepreneurs I’ve been meeting must be delusional, arrogant, or clueless as I’ve had way too many of them not pick up my “not interested” clues. Or maybe my politeness is too close to “I’m interested” and men just get confused.

Of course, I’d like to think that I’m so hot and seductive (must be the patterned hose), that men can’t keep their lips off me! Yeah, right.

Anna said, “I would never kiss anyone if not so inclined.” I didn’t *let* these guys kiss me! They surprised me, ambushed me, out of left field. It wasn’t like we were hugging, holding hands, gazing into each others eyes and I saw him lean in and pucker up. In which case I could have turned away or at least turned my cheek.

One stopped me on the sidewalk to plant a big one, another turned to me on an elevator and smooched me, one trapped me against the wall in a museum. One held my head which made turning away impossible. I broke these off before face sucking ensued. Did I scream, struggle or slap him? No, as they had been nice guys, gentlemen up to this point. I think they just misread the signals.

So maybe I’m being too nice. As Karen said, if I know I’m not interested in someone, I don’t touch him, and don’t engage in conversation that appears I want to know about his likes/dislikes/interests/future plans. Absolutely no flirting. If he flirts or talks about where he’d like to take me on a future date, I don’t comment. I try to keep the conversation superficial and if he asks about my interests I answer briefly, then change the subject until I feel I’ve spent enough time with him to not be rude, then I excuse myself politely.

Some of these situations are not on a first date, but a second. My rule of thumb is if a guy isn’t odious and seems intelligent, thoughtful and considerate, I’ll have a second to get to know him better. Then on the second date I may learn I don’t really have any interest in getting to know him better. But he may think that because I’ve accepted a second date, I must be really interested in him, and he goes in for the smooch — sometimes at the beginning of the date! Arrgh!

I rack it up to many of the men are apparently lonely and don’t get much eye contact from women who are potential romantic partners, let alone conversational attention, from a woman.

I’m sticking by my original statement — I’d prefer a man shows respect by asking. I see absolutely no downside. I even had a man ask if he could hold my hand, which I thought was sweet and thoughtful. Much more so than the man who grabbed my hand and then I had to focus on how I was going to drop hands. If he’d asked, I would have said, “I think it’s too early for that.” Same with if someone asked for a kiss and I wasn’t feeling it. I could say, “I don’t feel we’re at that point yet.” Or, “I’m not comfortable with that.” Or more directly, “I’m seeing us as pals, not as a romantic match.” Would that hurt him? Maybe. But would it hurt less than if he tries to kiss me and I pull away then don’t return his calls (which I think is cowardly).

If that doesn’t work for you, don’t do it nor expect it. But I’d at least try it before you nix it out of hand.

Mark November 26, 2009 at 12:46 am

“So the doctors, lawyers, CEOs, executives, professors, and entrepreneurs I’ve been meeting must be delusional, arrogant, or clueless as I’ve had way too many of them not pick up my “not interested” clues. Or maybe my politeness is too close to “I’m interested” and men just get confused.”

DG, I think the kind of men you’re dating are ambitious, achievement oriented, and used to taking matters into their own hands. Doesn’t surprise me they can be a bit arrogant.

And it’s easy to be polite and be interested in what a person is saying without being interested in that person as a romantic partner, but that interest is easy to misinterpret as romantic interest.

I don’t think there’s any way to avoid some awkwardness when we date. Sometimes one person is interested and the other person isn’t. No matter how well you handle it, there’s going to be some disappointment on one side.

SB November 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

It would seem to me that a guy either has to be James Bond or Cary Grant to pull off “May I kiss you?” smoothly. Unfortunately, I have to admit I’ve never dated either.

I had a couple of guys try to kiss me way back when I was in high school, but I’ve never had anyone come at me with such force or speed that I couldn’t get out “I’m just not ready”. Maybe I’m lucky in that regard.

Conversely, I did have a guy ask me if he could kiss me. To which I had to respond “I’m just not ready yet”. And it was monumentally awkward. I would say in general “if you feel like you need to ask specifically because you are SO unsure as to how she might feel, she probably doesn’t want you to kiss her in the first place.”

I think if anyone came at with me with such force as to leave me unable to resist his advance, I would probably feel reasonably justified in acting to defend myself – physically. Thankfully, most men I’ve met don’t treat kissing like a martial art.

I tend to instinctually agree with Karen that I’m not particularly interested in a guy who lacks the social skills and wherewithal to figure out whether it’s OK to kiss me or not.

I’m sure it would be nice to hear “May I kiss you?” under the right romantic circumstances, but I’m not sure if I would trust the guy suave enough to pull it off! If he’s that smooth a talker, what else can he talk me into? ;-)

Anna November 27, 2009 at 9:57 am

DG, I have not dated a huge amount since being widowed (and I am dating more now that I am online) but in “my” old days, the situation you described with the guy holding your head so you could not move, would have been enough for me to bring my knee up and knee him in the You_Know_Where. I am sorry but any man who thinks its ok to launch at a woman like that, deserves it !!!! I don’t care if he is Donald Trump…..

Anna November 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

I meant to say, perhaps you are being too nice DG (which is not a fault) you are probably nicer than I am. :)

JP November 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

While I acknowledge lacking in clairvoyance, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t initiate a kiss without reading some signs (hand holding / arm touching, flirty laughing, etc.) and telegraphing my intent (staring into the eyes, going in slow).

Unfortunately, I think those lacking in social awareness or who have over-abundant self-confidence (in other words, those who ought to abide by the permission-based dating principles) are those least likely to do so. Funny how that works….

Richard November 29, 2009 at 5:46 am

DG: “So the doctors, lawyers, CEOs, executives, professors, and entrepreneurs I’ve been meeting must be delusional, arrogant, or clueless”, seems like guys who are use to taking risk. From a “risk” point of view, there is little downside. If you don’t want the kiss, then there probably would not be a second chance. So, why not take the chance when there is the opportunity? Just a thought.

Mike D: Interesting read. Good overall point, but one major contradiction. Most of your points are: People can’t read minds with high accuracy, so you need to ask. If the individuals are so inclined, working in the question can become part of the ritual without disrupting the moment.

And there is the contradiction. Point #3 is “Asking is not spontaneous”. You say there is an entire ritual up to the moment of the kiss. So, the question becomes: If it is not spontaneous, if you are in the ritual: Is there a need to ask? If you don’t want a kiss, as soon as you find yourself in the ritual, then extract yourself (physical separation helps) – BTW: How did you get yourself into the ritual in the first place? For individuals who do not perform the ritual well, then asking can be really helpful. At a minimum, it makes sure that some sort of ritual occurs. In DG’s situations of unwanted advances, there was no ritual (taken by surprise).

I guess I am the type that plays it safe. Unfortunately, thatmeans I may strike out with Karen, “If a man can’t accurately figure out if I want to kiss him or not, then he is probably seriously lacking in one of the main qualities I’m looking for in a man.” It would depend on how strong Karen gives signals.

On the first date, I would expect some physical contact, being “touchy”, holding hands, being close, etc. before the “ritual”. I would also look for the lady to opening up (putting herself in the position) to be kissed. Otherwise, am I that desperate that I need a kiss from an uninterested lady for a cheap thrill?

If it is the second or later date, then some interest can be reasonably presumed, and going for a kiss can be a way to see if we are on the same page.

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