First dates can be terrible. You become the most nervous, sweaty, self-conscious version of yourself, desperately trying to present as both “interesting” and “genuine” while engaging in awkward small talk and timing yourself in the bathroom hoping they don’t think you’re pooping in there. It’s easy to freak out about nerves from the start.
But, oh God, what happens if it goes well? As you frantically brush your teeth before bolting out the door, you might be wondering: Is a first date kiss standard protocol, or is the build-up part of the fun? And who makes the first move? Here’s what 11 women had to say about their first date-kiss philosophy, from kernels of smooching wisdom to truly harrowing bad kiss stories.
1. I’ve always liked to save a kiss for a second or third date. I know that it depends on a date-to-date basis, but I think there are other ways to show you’re interested the first time you go out. Sitting close to them, maybe putting your hand on their leg. Ultimately I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer." — Dahlia, 2
2. "I rarely kiss someone on the first date. Well, I do sometimes if I am drunk...but usually if kissing is involved, I am going home with them." — Andrea, 25
3. "OMG, if someone doesn’t kiss me on a date, I 100 percent assume they have decided they are not interested in me romantically. I’m a very naturally flirtatious Gemini so I feel like I’m always making moves or giving the opportunity. Like, if I go for a hug and then linger a little bit while pulling back and looking at your face, and you still don’t make any move to kiss me, then I know it’s game over. I feel like proper flirting is making half-moves and giving the other person the opportunity to reciprocate, or else it seems pushy or creepy." — Gab, 23
4. "When my ex kissed me for the first time, he bent down, opened his mouth before reaching my lips, and just kinda sucked my mouth. As it turned out, that’s just how he kissed. Every time we kissed I had to wipe my face off because somehow, my lips, all the way down to my chin, was wet. I was with him for three or four months. I don’t know why I put up with his sloppy kisses." — Tess, 20
5. "People have these weird ideas of the ‘things you shouldn’t do on a first date’ that feel like they’re straight out of the 1950s. It bothers me so much. If you both want and feel like hardcore making out after your first date, then God bless you. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk."— Alex, 24
6. "It’s not a must, but if the date is going really well we usually kiss. I’ve noticed I feel more comfortable kissing on a first date if I already met them previously. If it’s a date from an app, I need more time to get comfortable and see if we connect. But if you don’t kiss by the second date...you aren’t dating." — Tiffany, 32
7. "If the chemistry is right, I’ll go for it. But if not, I’d rather avoid giving any false leads and just not. It’s usually mutual chemistry, so it’s a combined first move on both parts. I think in all the instances with men, when there’s chemistry, I take the split-second first move. But with gals it’s more of an even go-ahead." — Valerie, 24
8. "A boy I recently went on a first and only date with said 'excuse me,' wiped his nose on his sleeve, and then tried to go back to smooching me. Like, we were kissing, then he said 'excuse me,' stopped kissing, wiped his gross sniveling nose, and then attempted to go back to kissing me. I was so horrified. Now I’m firmly against first date mouth kisses unless I’m really really attracted to the person. I think build-ups are better and first dates are cuter with cheek kisses." — Keren, 24
9. "I had my first first date kiss at 21 and I kept my eyes open the entire time. I thought he didn’t notice and I was in the clear. But now, two years later, we talked about it again and he said he definitely noticed and just didn’t say anything. So basically my entire relationship is a lie." — Erin, 23
10. "I’ve had a guy straight up purr in my ear after a first kiss. And then as I started to focus more and more on his mannerisms...he came off very cat-like. He was like a cat-man. I never talked to him again after that purr shit." — Kate, 23
11. "I had a crush on this guy in my class and I asked him to study, but he had other stuff to do... so I didn’t make eye contact for three weeks. Then, a month later, I asked again because I am a persistent bitch, and he said yes. On our third study date, he just kissed me out of the blue and it ROCKED. I know he thought I was going to kick him because he was like ‘ooh, she’s a feminist,’ but it was so awesome. Shoot your shot, ladies!" — Katie, 21
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