We Had Dinner. We Kissed. Now What?

It wasn’t just a random hook-up. They had met through a Friend. Spoken on the phone. Gathered for dinner. Caught a movie. And made out in the parking lot like a couple of wayward teenagers.

He told her she was amazing. They agreed it had been a fun night and stared into each other’s eyes with clear intent. She turned to make her far-too-early departure, but not before he planted one more kiss and said:

"Soon" is non-specific. How soon is soon? 72 hours later or 5 months later?

“Let’s get together again soon.”

Recounting the date over brunch with her girlfriends, this was the phrase that raised all our eyebrows, hers included. “Soon” is non-specific, and we all tacitly confessed to having done it before — met someone (an old friend, a new friend, a recent date) and said “let’s get together soon,” with plans to avoid a follow-up.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve run the full gamut of date follow-up possibilities – from the guy who calls tomorrow because he can’t wait to see me again to the guy who stays in touch, but waits 5 months before suggesting a second rendez-vous.

Both blooming relationships faded away. But I’ll confess, the boy who sent me the “So rarely does a woman meet my expectations, let alone exceed them…You’re wonderful… are you free next weekend?” was the boy more likely to win my heart than the one who took 20 weeks after our first kiss to ask me to dinner.

More often than not, we walk away from a first date with a certain ambivalence. We had a nice time, but we’ve yet to make a decision about what’s next. He had a great sense of humor, but can he be serious? He had nice eyes, but do you really want to take his shirt off?

When it's more than a kiss, it's more than an stamp of approval -- it's a slobbery promise.

Sometimes, to help us make a decision, we need a nudge. A kiss at the end of a night is supposed to be a good sign — things went well, the attraction is mutual, here’s a stamp of approval. When it’s more than a kiss, it’s more than a stamp of approval. It’s a kind of slobbery promise that there will be a next time.

But more than a kiss followed by a “let’s get together again soon” or “…one of these days” and well, the scale hasn’t been tipped in favor of a round 2.

When you’re out there playing the game for love rather than lust, both sexes need to take some Jane Austen advice to heart: “In nine cases out of 10, a woman had better show more affection than she feels… he may never more than like her, if she does not help him on.”

Frankly, a “soon” doesn’t help me on.

Next, please!


I’m an awkward hugger.

There, I’ve said it. The truth is out there. That cheerful, wide-arm approach when I see you is really brimming with fear at the thought of how we’re about to say hello. There’s a hug on the horizon and I’m going to try not to headbutt you in the process.

I didn’t realize how hug-challenged I was until college. All of a sudden the universal greeting among new-found friends was some sort of exuberant embrace. The hug would actually begin several feet away — the person walking my way would throw their arms wide, warning me  that they expected contact. I’d try to respond with equal enthusiasm, only to fumble with arm position and head placement once inside the “hug zone.” One arm up, one arm down? Both arms up? Both arms down? Full wrap around? One arm only? Pat on the back? Head to the right? Head to the left? Let them break first? Or make a quick exit?

If positioning and timing aren’t cause enough for concern, there’s a handful of other things I’m self-conscious about when heading into a hug. There’s often a purse or a bag that has to be repositioned and then there’s always the fear that, if I’ve been walking around a lot, that my anti-persperiant has failed me. I have a lot of hair, it’s thick and some what curly, I rarely try to reign it in — anyone who gets near enough to hug me is guaranteed to get a face full of it.

And then what about the added cheek kiss? I’ve never fully understood how to engage with this. I’ve accidentally landed “mwahs” on the ears of guy friends who were taken aback by the out of character greeting. “no that wasn’t a nibble. That was bad distance management.”

Surely, “Hellos” shouldn’t cause this much anxiety.

I thought maybe the French-style kiss on each cheek would be great replacement for the hello hug, but then I realized there are just as many variables to consider when engaging (and when the opposite sex is concerned, far many more opportunities to send “mixed” messages).

So, after hundreds of hugs that lead to near concussions and jammed fingers, I’ve settled on a universal approach: my head to the right, the left arm up, the right arm down.

I warn you now, so the next time we say hello, you’ll aim left.