The eternal question: when to make the move?


Is it time for me to kiss you?

Oh geez, let’s take it back five minutes. Here we are on your couch and the movie is going and you and I both know we’re only watching it for one reason. I hate chick flicks, and from what I’ve gathered during our conversation, you seem more intrigued by documentaries and hard news, so why are we watching it? We know, but we don’t want to say.

This is thin ice. The thinnest, most global-warming-affected ice, and I think if I get it wrong, what’s down there is worse than cool, chilly, blue water. It’s rejection. It’s a screw-up. It’s you thinking I’m one of those mega-serious insta-romance freaks. You know — with the roses and the flamenco guitar and the desire to go on a love boat at the fair. And next, you’re thinking that I’m thinking I’m Romeo. You’re thinking, “Oh no — he’s writing poetry in his head right now!” And you just wanted a casual Saturday hook-up. You’re thinking, “He’s planned out how he’s going to weasel me out of my apartment and convince me to share a basement suite, and the next thing you know half a decade’s gone by and it’s just us with a goldfish, and then a dog and finally, at some point farther into our ridiculous future, a baby-name book.”

When and if and how I kiss you right now is crucial, because I don’t want to be that guy. No, I swear. I promise. It’s crucial that my eyes don’t linger too long. That my swoop is not too slow.

So, can I put my hand on your knee now? Can I put my arm around your shoulder? Would you like some more popcorn, and is it okay for me to stroke your back? Why did I think stroke? Oh my gosh. I thought stroke. I promise you I’m not a creep. That’s one of the other many misperceptions I’m concerned you’re about to form if this goes wrong. If I come in at a bad angle and then it’s my lips and your lips but kind of sideways and a lot of sucking and too much saliva or too much teeth for a first kiss, then game over. You’ll think about how to reel away without coming off as insensitive, and I’ll be thinking, “Oh man,” and trying to help you out by pawing back, and if my hand goes in the wrong spot, oh geez, oh man, I’m done for.

I am not a Romeo, and I am not a creep.

And I am not a douchebag, though you may think differently if this evening becomes misconstrued. If, for example, if for example, if for example you send me a “kiss” message through some primal physiological thing that I cannot explain — perhaps by running your fingers through my hair or holding me closer or just kind of sighing — well then, I think I should be ready to respond. Am I wrong? My older brother once told me to fight fire with fire. But geez, oh man, what if it’s too fast and what if you’re not ready? What if, what if, what if this is all just a bad idea and in the next days or weeks or months we discover we’re fundamentally opposed on certain subjects? Subjects like the Arab-Israeli conflict, whether Nutella or peanut butter goes better with bananas, or if animals do us any good by being in a zoo? And what if I’m not even meant to procreate in the slightest and should just return home — take the DVD with me, leave you with the popcorn bowl and say goodnight?

Or is it time for me to kiss you?