I usually love being a woman.
However, a few niggles include the gender pay gap (which makes me steam and rant for hours), the fact that I can’t sing bass lines, and the following situation.
The scenario is a date, or another situation that ends with the two of us alone. It’s likely we have been talking for a while, that we’re quite close, and that all the official date happenings are already finished. The movie credits have rolled, the bill in the restaurant is settled and everything so far has been going well. If this were still the rom-com we’ve been watching earlier, the audience could predict exactly where this is headed: the first kiss, some frantic making out, possibly a bedroom.
However, because this is reality, we’re both required to traipse around this obvious conclusion and instead wait till one of us makes the critical first move. Movies tell us that this first move is a long gaze into each others’ eyes, followed by a seamless swoop of the head leading to a long and passionate kiss. I’ll call this “the smooth swoop”.
Reality teaches me that the first move more likely pans out in one of three ways:
1) “the Mad Chicken”
Our heads are sort of close, then one of us suddenly moves their head a bit closer, the other turns their face slightly, we both attempt a kiss, but one of us ends up licking a cheek and the other finds their nose lodged in an eye. Not terribly sexy, but comic relief goes a long way, and as this situation establishes a solid awkward baseline it’s often possible to recover from there and turn the night around.
2) “the Scared Rabbit”
Our heads are sort of close, we look into each others’ eyes, and then both realise that the other one is watching for our next move. We don’t want to take that responsibility, so instead of moving in for the kiss we both freeze in space, occasionally blinking nervously.
It’s very hard to get out of this scenario. We might be saved by a fox howling outside, or a flatmate walking into the living room, shocking us out of your frozen pose. However, the embarrassment of our inaction is hard to recover from, and chances are that the evening will end quickly, with a mumbled goodbye at the door and quiet relief when the other has left.
3) “Cat and Mouse”
My least favourite scenario – this is when we’re both game for a kiss to happen, but as soon as one of us moves in, the other one, just to prolong the chase, wriggles out.
(nota bene: I’m not referring to situations when only one of you wants to make out!)
The first person takes this as a display of disinterest, and retreats. However, the tables turn and now the second person takes up the chase, trying to move in for a kiss.
This can be repeated almost endlessly, if both of us are stubborn enough. And yes, the chase can be sexy and fun. My dislike for this last scenario is partly that I’ve so often observed it with straight men who are simply not comfortable with being the one that “gets kissed”. They retreat just so they can take the active part seconds later. Sometimes I’d like to be the one who makes the first move though!
In order to avoid getting cat-moused, I’ve settled on this final gambit as my preferred opening move:
4. “the (Power-) Drunk Super-Villain”
In most action movies, there comes a time when the villain has captioned our hero, bound him in chains and is planning his slow and ugly demise. Being a narcissistic psychopath, however, he appreciates finally having an audience and then wastes a good ten minutes of precious potential rescue time. He explains exactly what evil things he did, what his evil motivations were, how he’s planning to do evil from now on and probably shares his social security number and bank details while he’s at it.
This never works out, because the pretty sidekick arrives in this spare time, frees the hero and they proceed to undo all the villain’s evil plans. Do not make this mistake as a super-villain. Silence is gold!
However, at the end of a date, this behaviour works brilliantly.
You lean in, you say “I think you’re really hot and I want to kiss you”, you look at them briefly to confirm that they’re not horrified by this proposition. Then you kiss. Dilemma solved.
Just hope the sidekick doesn’t come barging in at this moment.