How Do I Let a Guy Know I’m Interested if I Don’t Kiss Until The 3rd Date?

How Do I Let a Guy Know I’m Interested if I Don’t Kiss Until The 3rd Date

I’m an attractive young woman (26) who is not super experienced with dating. I’ve been doing online dating and it’s been going pretty well and I’ve met some great guys. The problem I’m coming across is that they try to move really fast physically. I can’t blame or judge them, they’re guys and they’re different. The problem is I don’t know how to let them know I may not want to kiss until the 3rd or 4th date to feel comfortable and enjoy it. I’ll never be a first date kisser or even second date kisser and I think that’s perfectly reasonable especially if it’s a stranger I meet online. I could maybe get through it on the 2nd date but I’m still learning more about them and I don’t want to think of a kiss as “getting through it”.

How do I navigate this without pursuing a guy but letting him know I’m interested? I’m a slower mover and just because I don’t kiss on date one and have sex on date 5-6 doesn’t mean I’m not interested in them or that I’m a prude.

How do I date without giving in to their timeline and letting them make all the decisions on timing with the physical? I don’t judge them for wanting to move really fast so I don’t want them to judge me for needing some sort of emotional connection or a bit more time to feel excited and enjoy it. I know I’m a minority but I feel like I [we] need some advice.



Nick is a modern man who considers himself highly evolved. He thinks that women are equal to (and often greater than) men. And since he is bright and analytical – the kind of guy who questions things – it’s occurred to him that the old tradition of men paying for women on dates just seems so…anachronistic. Unfair. Silly, even. Nick’s concluded that the kind of woman he’s looking for is the one who doesn’t expect men to have to call and plan and pay for first dates. He’s looking for an equal, and an equal would have no problem with this obviously fair arrangement.

Nick wonders why he doesn’t get any second dates.

After all, he’s a great guy – honest, ethical, creative, and yes, even GENEROUS – once he feels a woman has earned the right to be the recipient of his generosity.

What would you tell Nick to do?

He could stick with the way he’s doing things. That’s what he feels is right. That’s what he’s comfortable with. He’s just not getting the response from women that he’d like.

On the other hand, he could adjust and pick up the check because it’s far more effective in making a good first impression.

Life is but a big Venn Diagram. There’s what you want. There’s what he wants.

Your situation really isn’t that different, Brooke.

Life is but a big Venn Diagram.

There’s what you want. There’s what he wants. The point on the graph where your two circles overlap is your relationship. The more overlap you have, the healthier the relationship. The more people you overlap with, the easier it will be to find a relationship.

I’m a Jewish atheist. If I made “Jewish atheist” a requirement for marriage, I would have restricted my search to .2% of the American population. And that’s before factoring in things like looks, personality, intelligence, kindness, emotional availability, common goals, etc.

I chose to open up. It’s not that it’s impossible to find people like me. There are just a lot fewer than I’d like. My “compromise” was marrying an attractive, cool, funny, smart, generous, kind, easygoing Catholic woman – and it’s a choice that makes me happy every single day.

You don’t want to compromise in this situation. You want men to compromise on your behalf.

You’re not giving men what they want. You’re doing what you want.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work.

In any situation, you have two choices:

Do what you’re doing. Do something different.

You wrote to me because you “think it’s perfectly reasonable” to delay kissing until the third date, you don’t want to “give into their timeline” and insist that you’re not a prude.

Fine by me. No judgment here. You are not obliged to change one bit.

The problem is that your way isn’t working. You’re not happy with the results. So you turn to me for – what, exactly?

Permission to continue to do what you’re doing? Advice on how to make it work better? A script for how to explain your stance to men without sounding too uptight or awkward?

Honestly, I don’t get it.

You are not “wrong” for needing more time and connection before kissing.

You are wrong if you think that most men will be fine getting a speech and a hug when they’re going in for the kiss.

In short, Brooke, you’re not giving men what they want. You’re doing what you want.

That’s okay, but, from here, you’re no different than Nick, another wonderful person who remains shocked that women don’t respond to him, but refuses to compromise on his stance.

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  1. 1

    Got to go ahead and disagree with you there, Evan. I am not unlike Brooke, although I have been known to kiss on the first date. Second is probably more usual for me, third would be more ideal. I find this to be perfectly effective. Have never put a man off by waiting till the third date to kiss him. To be perfectly honest, the times when I kissed on the first date, the relationship ended up moving too fast and ended up getting too intense too quickly and fizzling out just as quickly. So, just because a guy may want to kiss you on the first date, doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. Which is where I part ways with you Evan. I don’t think Brooke is looking for permission or validation to do things her way, I think she’s looking for pointers on HOW to do it more gracefully.


    There is a lot to be said for how you do it. If a guy reaches in to kiss you and you cut him dead right there, then yes you are at risk for ruining the moment and damaging his ego and it could just make things too awkward. Personally I think if you want to slow things down so that you have more of a chance to get to know the person, just choose the kind of date activities which lend themselves more to bonding and talking, rather than cuddling and canoodling, at first. For instance dinner or drinks where you each make your own way there. Or maybe mini golf or ten pin bowling or something, I don’t know. That’s what I would do – make it fun and light, take the pressure off. But needless to say, use the opportunity to try and get comfortable around him physically, if you like him. That way when you are both ready to kiss, it’s not too awkward.

    1. 1.1

      I think Evan has a point.  If you don’t like a guy on the first date, and don’t plan on a second date, you have no obligation to let him kiss you.  But if you did like him and want to see him again, let him kiss you.  What does it cost you?  I don’t think Evan is saying you need to let him stick his tongue down your throat, but a brief kiss is an indication that you’re interested and may help keep the guy interested in you.

    2. 1.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Fair enough, Claire, but you’re coming up with hypotheticals to prove your point. Ten-pin bowling? So let’s get away from that for a second. Of course, it’s easy to avoid physical contact at Starbucks or mini golf. But most dates aren’t like that. So let’s put you on a conventional date – one that the man planned himself. Guy meets you at a bar/restaurant for dinner/drinks. Great banter. Solid attraction. Lots of comfort and fun. Date was a solid 9 out of 10. End of the night, he walks you to your car and tries to kiss you (because he was attracted to you and that’s what guys do when they’re attracted to you).

      You suggest what, exactly? Turning your cheek? Ignoring him leaning in and grabbing him for a hug? Telling him that you don’t do first date kissing, but you had fun? That’s what Brooke was asking. And all I’m observing is that ALL of the above are awkward, will embarrass him, will make him feel rejected, will hurt his mood and the feelings about the night, and will make him less likely to come back for Date #2 (lest this happen again!) So I repeat: you’re ALLOWED to do it; just be aware of the unintended consequences of your “rule.” The alternative is kissing him when you’re not “ready” and probably guaranteeing a second date. The choice is yours.

      1. 1.2.1

        Completely agreed, Evan.


        And if I liked him and intended to see him again, I’d let him kiss me – and be secretly very flattered that he did, I might add!


        If I wanted to slow the whole process down though, where I wasn’t so sure of the guy, that would be where I’d try slow the whole thing down, eg. by not drinking so much, or suggesting more platonic dates. I agree, if you pull away and go in for a hug you are definitely risking messing up the entire vibe, but if I don’t reaaaallly know if I like the guy yet I would probably be ok with that. As I say, if I really liked him I’d go ahead and kiss him.

      2. 1.2.2

        Hi Evan,

        It’s Brooke. Thanks for answering, I never expected it. However, your answer was really upsetting.

        First, to clarify, I do not have  “rule” about kissing on the 3rd date. I could kiss someone on the second date or first if there’s a connection. I was speaking on STRANGERS that I meet online. A very different situation than going on a date with someone you’ve met before or  share mutual friends with.

        Second, I was curious to know the best way to communicate this to a man gracefully. On the second date after I meet a guy online, I may not be sure I want his lips on mine or spit in my mouth. It doesn’t mean I don’t find him physically attractive or fun, it means I’m not quite ready for that intimate moment yet with a stranger that  i’ve know for only 1-2 HOURS over a beer. If this was someone I have met before or have been around before, kissing on date one or two would be a different story.

        Third, I was truly disturbed by your comment when you sad, And all I’m observing is that ALL of the above are awkward, will embarrass him, will make him feel rejected, will hurt his mood and the feelings about the night, and will make him less likely to come back for Date #2″.

        OKKKKK? Most men get frustrated when women don’t want to have sex with them as fast as they’d like them to but you communicate to the guy you’re not ready yet for sex. That doesn’t mean you don’t like the guy or you’re not physically attracted, it means you’re not ready for sex with someone. All I was asking was how I could bring it up or let him know this regarding a kiss with an online date. 

        With all this being said and my clarifications on not having a “rule”,  I look forward to your response.




        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I’m glad you wrote back, Brooke. Alas, it’s not going to change anything I wrote in my original post or comments.

          1. You do have a rule. Your rule is that you don’t kiss “STRANGERS that you meet online” in the first three dates, although you might treat other men differently. You are entitled to that belief, but, make no mistake, it’s a rule that you’ve made up that is based on your beliefs, values and attraction. It’s not “wrong.” It’s that men you meet online don’t have that same rule. So they keep trying to kiss you because that’s what men do. Where does that leave you? Evidently, it leaves you stuck where you are right now.

          2. I explained to you that there isn’t a graceful way of doing it. The Venn Diagram thing, remember? You want do talk about the weather. He wants to kiss you. You BOTH have to find an agreeable sweet spot where BOTH of your needs are met. So instead of trying to negotiate with men about what they’re allowed to do, how about you build up a stronger connection with a guy before meeting him? If you use my 2/2/2 rule and screen men better over the course of a week, you may not feel like you’re meeting STRANGERS. My system makes first dates feel more like second dates – continuing a conversation with a familiar guy instead of having coffee with a stranger. If you want to learn more about how to do this, you can go to Products at the top of the page and click on Finding the One Online. Volume 4 is all about this process; getting guys to play by your rules by making it FUN for them.

          3. Contrary to your protests, it sure does sound like you have some issues around this subject. “I don’t want his spit in my mouth”? Um, okay. Does his “spit” get any tastier after 3 dates? I guess it must. So instead of focusing on how gross it is to kiss a guy you barely know, how about you try to create better connection with men so when he DOES make his move, it’ll be easier for you to say yes.

          I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s really quite simple:

          You want a gentle way to tell a guy who is revved up to kiss you at the end of the night that you don’t want to but you still like him and want to see him again. I’ve told you that you are allowed to do just that, but, in many instances, it will make a guy feel embarrassed, confused, and less likely to come back for a second date, no matter HOW you say it. You don’t seem to accept this answer and are still probing as if I have something else up my sleeve. I don’t.

          This is different than having sex because it’s JUST A KISS. I have an entire section in my Why He Disappeared book about how women should have sexual boundaries and be exclusive before having intercourse, as well as a short speech to give to a guy when he wants to have sex. The reason it works is because the guy is already INVESTED in you. He already likes you. He’s already spent weeks courting you. He’s already hooked up with you and gotten to third base. So telling a guy that you don’t sleep with men who aren’t your boyfriend is a reasonable stance because it’s clear that you ARE attracted to him.

          Actions speak louder than words, Brooke. So you can protest all you want and complain that there SHOULD be something you can say to convince guys you’re attracted to them, but most men will take the action (turning your cheek) as a bigger rejection than your words (which claim that you really are attracted to him).

          Thus, you’re not arguing with me. You’re arguing with what you’ve ALREADY observed hasn’t worked for you. You want different results? Do something different. Or don’t. It’s all the same to me.

        2. Brooke


          After reading your response, #3 was good advice. You make a good point about creating a better connection beforehand. I can work on that, however, I still never created a “rule” about not kissing on the first 3 dates, I never said I have a date minimum or rule. I kiss when I’m ready but it’s not always on the second date. Sometimes it takes one or two more to feel the connection, and share that with someone. So i guess there’s no way to communicate that to a man without hurting his ego.

          And Yes, some people still believe kissing is intimate and it’s more than “just a kiss” as you put it.


        3. Evan Marc Katz

          You’re so focused on what men are doing wrong and being alone that you’re missing the point. You can warmly tell men that you like them but aren’t ready to kiss; some will come back, some won’t. Focus on the ones who come back. Or stop with the speech and kiss a guy before you’re 100% ready. Those are your choices. No matter what you do, you’ll be fine, but not if you carry on with this woe-is-me, life-is-unfair, men-should-do-things-my-way-but-I-won’t-do-things-their-way attitude. That’s what I’m telling you: not that you’re “wrong” for needing to have more comfort before kissing, but that objectively, this alienates some men. That doesn’t mean their egos are fragile. It means that – like you – they want someone who moves at their speed. Find a guy who is at your speed, or speed up. Just stop complaining that those are your two choices.

        4. Brooke


          That’s what I wanted to know the entire time, what is the best way to warmly tell them? I was asking for you input and suggestion. I would love to find someone who moves at my speed, that’s why I asked you to give me suggestions on how to approach it, because like you said, some will stay some will go.

          You still haven’t answered me and each time you put me down, criticize and belittle me by calling me bitter and angry. You seem like the angry one. Forget I wrote you at all for advice. I wrote thinking you could give advice.


        5. Evan Marc Katz

          You’re killing me, Brooke. There are 150 comments and a good 10 of them are mine. So, I repeat:


          As I said a few hours ago, there is a more effective way of telling a guy that you won’t have sex with him, but it only works because he’s already interested in you and because you’ve already engaged in a few weeks of foreplay.

          But there is nothing that I can tell you about what to say that will make a man want to take you out a few more times despite the fact that you are on the fence about whether you’re attracted to him. You can keep asking and I’ll keep saying the same thing.

          You will find a guy who moves at your speed by doing things the way you’re doing them now, not with some magic phrase that will get more physical minded guys to play by your rules.

          You keep telling me that I haven’t answered your question, but THAT is my answer to your question: “No – what you want to happen is probably not going to happen. And I don’t believe there is anything you can say that will really make much of a difference.”

        6. AAORK

          Brooke, it’s such a shame that so many women like you simply reject reality and attempt to force-shape the world to their wishes … and then complain when you don’t get the results you expected. With over 160 comments on this article, not only do you refuse to show any indication of accepting the reality that Evan and other commenters tried to communicate (in some cases, over and over), you also show little to no appreciation of the value of the feedback herein (except for the select few who “came to the rescue” to simply validate your pre-disposed bias and uncompromising nature).

          You remind us all that there some people that just cant be helped .. until they reach an epiphany of some sort (e.g. – mid to late 30’s with no marriage or kids, few or no prospects, and all their friends have moved on). I could say “Good Luck” but I suspect you are going to need a lot more than that.

        7. ff

          Though I definitely agree with Evan’s advice, the one thing I do agree with Brooke on is the idea that a first date with an online date is essentially a stranger. It does not matter if you have talked to them on the phone or sent a bunch of texts. It is a first meeting. So I usually have not kissed guys on first online dates – they are usually coffee or brunch or hh dates, etc., …dates to meet the person in person.

          But the second date, yes — if you don’t kiss something is not right in the chemistry department. =)


    3. 1.3

      I agree with you Clare that there is a lot to be said for how you do it. And Evan has a point about waiting until 2 seconds before a man is trying to kiss you to bring that up.

      One of the ways to do it more gracefully is give the man the opportunity to tell you how he’d like to handle it. It can be brought up in a phone conversation or even early on in a date, so long as you phrase it in a way that flatters his ego that you want his very important opinion. For example, saying “Since you are so attractive / great / successful etc, you make me forget myself, and I know that when I get physical, all my reason just goes out the window! I’m not very experienced / just got divorced / out of a relationship, and I want to make sure to take it slow this time so I don’t make the same mistakes.  How can I let a guy know I’m interested in getting to know him while taking it slow?”

      This opens the door for him to give you his opinion of what he’s willing to do. It also frames the ‘slowness’ as being about you trying to be objective, while confirming your attraction to him. Even better, he might actually just tell you what works for him (best outcome). It’s also very helpful to men if you explicitly tell him what you are willing to offer: I love to hold hands, it’s wonderful to be here next to you (as you rub shoulders). If he’s not verbal, show him what is on the table: gently pushing him as you tease, brushing the hair off his face, look him in the eye as you smile ‘I like you’. I have found many men to be respectful and to continue to ask for dates, because I made it evident I was attracted to them personally even though the physical was minimal.

      1. 1.3.1
        Karmic Equation

        “Since you are so attractive / great / successful etc, you make me forget myself, and I know that when I get physical, all my reason just goes out the window! I’m not very experienced / just got divorced / out of a relationship, and I want to make sure to take it slow this time so I don’t make the same mistakes.  How can I let a guy know I’m interested in getting to know him while taking it slow?”

        Nissa, have you actually had a conversation like this with a guy on the phone you  haven’t met yet?


        1. Nissa

          I don’t think I’ve said it over the phone, because the photos online didn’t give me enough info to make that assessment. But in person, I’ve said very similar things.  For example, the second time I met the man I would marry, he told me the girl he was dating was not the one, but that he was dating her and we could be friends. To which I replied, ‘Eh, I have enough friends. Look, here’s my number. Give me a call if you break up with her’.  Which he did, a few months later, and we started dating.

          There was a guy in one of my classes that I used to like, and when we had a chat, I complimented him by saying ‘You are really interesting, and I’d like to know you better’. He asked me out after that (but it fizzled quickly).

          I don’t see why being honest is a surprising strategy, other than most people are too insecure to do it.

    4. 1.4
      Michelle H.

      I’m with Clare.  Peace out.

      1. 1.4.1

        Same. Dating isn’t worth sacrificing my body for.

        And the other example about going Dutch was completely laughable. Until women get paid equally, I don’t want to hear about guys having to shell out for a coffee. Sheesh.

        1. Sarah

          Same. If a dating partner is threatened by my authentic feelings and my authentic self or interprets them as rejection, who cares about what me being me (in a respectful way) does to his mood or getting another date? He is not the guy for me. If a guy has a problem paying for a virtual stranger on the first few dates (and otherwise shows consideration and respect), no problem. Tell me and I’ll look at my budget. For me, dating is, yes, about learning to stretch yourself and be more open and flexible AND about finding someone who meets your specific needs (and whose specific needs you are capable of meeting).
          This is hitting pretty close to home for me because I was raised in a culture where women were indoctrinated to acquiesce to men and put men’s needs before our own (and where not coincidentally depression among women and rape rates are particularly high). I will say that in my experience, when I was unable to be honest about my feelings and deferred to what I thought guys wanted in my twenties, I had no dating life and in fact watched my (ex-)husband’s interest and respect for me (we got together by hanging out as friends) wane and my marriage fall apart, largely as a result of me not owning or standing up for who I was and what I wanted. That is not my definition of relationship success.
          I have ONLY experienced dating success (in my thirties as a liberal atheist in a very conservative, religious area) after focusing on my own goals, fearlessly accepting who I am, investing in friendships and building my social networks, learning how to identify my needs and preferences, and being honest about them with dates even if it meant I would have to stop seeing a really cool guy. In my experience, men have been turned on even more by the strength I showed in being respectfully honest with them and appreciated it, although, of course, not all men will respond the same. I am worried that some women will get the wrong message from this article and wanted to throw in my two cents.

  2. 2

    One of the more interesting articles I’ve seen here. And using the “Nick” scenario is a valid and compelling comparison. But no matter how well communicated, this lesson is gonna be tough for the ladies to swallow .. oops, I guess ‘absorb’ would be a better word. Looking forward to what surely will be some entertaining retorts.

    1. 2.1

      The comparison is good, but I do not believe most women will see it that way. Many men feel unhappy with courting because they are afraid of rejection. Courting places all the emotional burden of rejection on the men. A good example is this very post with a guy initiating a kiss and the woman having the power to say no. Even when a woman wants a date, kiss, etc. Most will not make the first move, so the man bares all the risk of rejection.

      But men accept this because these are the rules of the game. If a man wants a woman of quality he has to court, which means always doing the approaching, planning, paying, and asking first-fair or not.


      But it is hard to compare a man wanting to be courted also with a woman rejecting a kiss. Kissing is personal for many women, it involves letting him into her personal space. A stranger who “could” try to take it too far and want more. A stranger who may be bigger and stronger, and who could physically try to force more. Sure most men will not do this, but that is not how women feel, so why risk it. When women say they want to feel comfortable with a man what they really mean is that they want to feel “SAFE” around him.


      They may fear that if they allow a kiss, he may want or expect it to lead to sex. If a woman is so-so about a guy then rejecting his attempt at a kiss is no big deal, but if she really likes a guy, rejecting him slightly scares her because she feels that he is a good guy who would not rape her, but she has to play it safe. She is worried that by rejecting him, he will not like her or find someone else. Women don’t reject men for the pleasure of it from what I have seen.


      I was reading this article by Helen Fisher where she did experiments and found that women NOT men are more picker. Men comparmise more on looks, body types, and education, but contrary to popular believe, women rarely compromise; if I remember correctly men compromise at least 40% more than women in dating. The myth is men are more shallow/picky, but in truth women are. The point is that it is rare for a woman to find a man who she is really attracted to physically, mentally, and morally, so it is harder for her to do things that may chase him off or cause him to choose another woman.


      So yes, logically women like men have to do things they don’t like to adhere to the rules of the dating game, but when it comes to certain issues like their “perceived” safety, they will resist Evan’s advice. This of course only holds true with a man who has options, he will not stick around for a woman who makes him feel rejected, the man with few options or access to attractive women will stick around for it.


      Of course the irony is, the type of man who will try to kiss on the first date, and has plenty of options with other women and therefore is more likely to leave over such a trifle misunderstanding, is the same type of man who may most women want… In my opinion.


  3. 3
    Karmic Equation

    The OP is making a kiss mean more than just a kiss.

    To her it “means” connection. To a guy, it just means “I think she’s cute” which means that to HIM a kiss only means whether OP thinks he’s cute or not.

    Which means if the OP DOES think he’s cute, then just kiss him already.

    If she doesn’t then it doesn’t matter whether she kisses him or not.

    A kiss at the early stages of dating is just to communicate attraction. It does not (and should not) mean “Ok, I feel we have something here, so now I can kiss you.” That is giving a kiss WAYYYYY to much meaning.


    You don’t have to French kiss him, but you should be prepared to. And then just give him the best kiss you know how to give. Then end the kiss and tell him you had a great time. That’s it.

    Don’t romanticize kissing to mean more than just a physical way of telling a guy you think he’s cute.


    1. 3.1

      I completely agree with this. If a woman rejects our attempt to kiss her, most of us guys will interpret this as her not really being into us. I also completely agree with Evan, if a guy feels embarrassed or rejected after trying to kiss a woman, he will probably start to fade or at least back off.



      Karmic Equation on a slightly different note, I believe you state men are the gatekeepers to relationships and women are the gatekeepers to sex? But if a woman has all the power to make a man feel rejected, embarrassed (he always ask: phone numbers, dates, exclusivity, kissing, sex, etc), or she allows him to go to the next level by saying yes or no.

      Then technically aren’t women the gatekeepers of both relationships and sex? You usually give great “aha now I understand” points, so I am struggling to understand what you mean with the gatekeepers statement and see the equality in it. It seems that during the courting stages women have more power, and even afterwards since women are usually the ones statistically who initiate breakups and divorce more than men.

      1. 3.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        Men are gatekeepers to relationships because if a man doesn’t ask or doesn’t want to be your boyfriend, you don’t have a boyfriend.

        Women are gatekeepers to sex, because unless a woman gives men sex, he can’t get it (we’re talking about normal men, not sociopaths). Thus, women are gatekeepers to sex.

        During courting, women DO hold the cards, because until she decides on A guy, a guy is in no man’s land. However, once she does choose a guy, then the power dynamics shift back to the guy. Because the next step in most committed relationships is marriage, and most women want to get married. So, once again, if the guy doesn’t want to marry her, she can’t get married. And because most women are averse to dumping non-committal men whom they’ve grown to love or she doesn’t want to start over with a new guy or is afraid that there aren’t any guys who would want them (or some other kind of fear), the guy can usually get away with not marrying her and she won’t dump him.

        After marriage, but before kids come along, men still have more of the relationship power. But once kids come along, though, then women have the power again, because in most states the primary caregiver is given custody in divorce proceedings and most men, who are marriage oriented also are the type of men who love children, and don’t want to lose access to their children. And also, if men are the primary breadwinners, he stands to lose a lot monetarily in alimony and/or child support, so most men would rather CHEAT than initiate divorce. But the cheating is going to cause the women who discover it to file for divorce. You could say, that even though women initiate most divorces, men are usually the cause either through cheating or taking his wife for granted (my reason for having divorced). My opinions, of course 🙂

        1. Adrian

          Thanks that actually makes perfect sense now.

          Since Evan mentioned the Nick mentality I was thinking… On a previous post, Karmic Equation, you stated that men get more out of a relationship than a woman, so he shouldn’t complain about the work he has to put into courting -I’m not saying I completely agree with this.


          But the men who want women to court them, how was their ideology created in your opinion? I mean, were they just so afraid of rejection that they never courted a woman long enough to get to the stage in a relationship where a woman reciprocated all the work they put into courting her? Were the women whom they did date not show them their efforts, time, and money invested in courting her were worth it?

        2. Emily

          As a woman, I don’t feel any sense of power, even in the early stages of a relationship. I have no control WHO chooses to court and pursue me.

        3. Gabri'el

          Emily thank you, I was wrong, it is not about who has more power over whom.

          It is about finding someone who see all your flaws and still wants to be with you. A person like that you can let your guard down around and feel emotionally safe and comfortable.

          Someone like that would not try care who has more power, or who is giving more.

        4. Gabri'el

          Oops! Meant “It” not “I”



        5. Emily


          Yes, you are right. You want to someone you can experience a true intimacy with. That’s the ideal. But of course, in any relationship, there is a pursuer and there is the pursued. He who is invested less seems to have more control.

    2. 3.2

      I agree. I also think people put a different value on intimacy and to some people, a kiss can feel quite intimate. She just needs to find someone willing to take it at her pace who also prefers not to kiss on the first date.

  4. 4

    I hate to point this out, but getting physical with someone doesn’t necessarily imply attraction. Sometimes someone is right in front of you, available and ready. So you say, “What the hell!” Later, you ask yourself what you were thinking. That’s why it’s called dating. You are trying different things on for size. And they don’t always fit once you have them in the dressing room.

    1. 4.1

      I agree on this too. Awful to think as you don’t want to lead anyone on but sometimes a kiss tells you whether there really is anything there.

      1. 4.1.1

        I was referring to kissing and even sex. Men do it, don’t they? Hook up with someone they’re not that into just because she says yes? Just because I go to bed with someone doesn’t mean I’m ga ga in love with him.

        1. JB

          We men do it all the time. It’s called taking what you can get or remaining celibate. Guess which choice many men will choose?

          I can only date and have sex with the women that’ll email me back AND go out with me. Most of the time it’s not the ones I’m interested in so I play the hand that I’m dealt or I fold and wait for the next one. Sometimes even just kissing/making out works fine. It’s certainly better than “skin starvation”. Most men masturbate every day or so but nothing beats the human touch just remember that.

        2. Emily


          It’s the same for women. More often that not, the guys who have initiative, ask you out and follow through are not the ones you are interested in. I grabbed what was in front of me about a year ago, though I didn’t like him and had no attraction for him. I still regret it. I work with him and am forced to see him. It’s been over for more than a year, and he won’t leave me alone. What I wouldn’t give to have his cute co-worker ask me out …

        3. JB

          Well Em you’re not supposed to “grab what’s in front you” AT WORK….lol for that very reason! It only works for online dating.

        4. Emily


          Lesson learned!  🙂

          But here’s a question: Why is it that it’s so damn easy to get inside the heads of men you don’t want? How do you work your magic on someone you find appealing?

        5. Adrian

          In my opinion Emily, the men whom you are not interested in romantically are the same as the men who you want to chase you. One is not easier to read than the other. The difficulty comes in where there is desire/want/attraction. Then women become afraid of rejection, which causes them to become insecure around them, second guessing their words, actions, and intentions. We can care less about the person whom we do not want, so we are not insecure around them. The guy you don’t want, you pay attention to his actions, the guy you want, you ignore his action, because you are too focused on your own actions, trying not to lose him.


          I believe you mentioned that you have not tried online dating yet. I think that if you do, you will met a plethora men whom you would find physically, mentally, and morally attractive; men who would actively pursue you. Online dating is no where near perfect, but it gives us the widest access to a large dating pool. Giving you and I a chance to meet people whom we may have never ran into offline by just walking on the street or attending a local social event. Also, if there is a type of guy you are really into physically or mentally, online you could meet 10 guys that fit your criteria. Online dating offers numbers, so even if those 10 guys reject or don’t show interest in you, their is no need to settle for someone whom you are not attracted to, because an 11th will also be their having all your criteria and he will want to date you. Due to the sheer quantity of people online dating today, if you and I keep using it despite all the bad first dates, sleazes, players, liars, and adulterers on there, we will still eventually meet someone that is worth it.


          As far as bold sleazy men, my 19 year old sister was just telling me yesterday about a old looking guy that saw her on break standing outside at the McDonalds she works at. Cute guys come there all the time who are too timid to talk to her, but it was the sleazy lecher that had the ball to tried to ask her out. She was, of course, incredulous that he would dare walk up to her. But she was dressed in a greasy uniform, and she didn’t do her hair that day. If she was dressed normally would he have been so bold? I always hear women complain that men only approach them when they aren’t looking their best, but when they are looking their best, guys never approach them. Those type of men go after women whom they believe have low self-esteems, the reason you get a sleazy vibe from them is because they most likely are.

        6. Emily


          I agree. The more you like someone, the harder it is to interact with them and be yourself. I call it “the seize” because you are rendered almost immobile and  your entire personality, wit and charm go out the window!

          I am interested in finding out what kinds of men are doing the online dating in my area. Hopefully, there will be some good guys who are interesting.

          I think sleazy people hit on everyone. They have no self-awareness and don’t pick up the vibe that they creep a woman out, even if she is rude. They just move on to the next prospect …


      2. 4.1.2

        Thank you, Lucy. Many of us doing online dating view a first kiss as information-gathering. If a man is a terrible kisser, I don’t need to waste his time or mine with a second date.

  5. 5
    Heather K

    I think this is a tough one.  On the one hand, a kiss is something that has just come to be a part of our modern dating rituals.  On the global level, we function as a society by following certain scripts.  You can’t drive over 65 on the freeway, you can cross the street when the light turns green, and first or second successful dates are known to end in kisses.  However, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone ignore his or her boundaries when it comes to physical contact.  There is a lot of emphasis and pressure on physical performance in our society.  There are also many people – both male and female – who are survivors of various traumas, including date-rape.  I think anyone who is a survivor of any kind of such trauma would need to first develop confidence in themselves to be able to state boundaries, and also develop trust in the ability of the world to respect those stated boundaries to be able to date successfully.

    Survivors of trauma might have less success in the dating pool because they are triggered more easily.  Survivors of trauma might have better dating success if they kiss people sooner.  But, this would not help these survivors overcome their traumas and feel safe with others, which would ultimately not enable them to be the healthiest partner.  It might take longer for someone recovering from trauma to find a partner, and that might be something that seems unfair – especially to the recovering person.  But I’m not sure that pushing forward and kissing earlier to get more interested dating partners is the answer.  For survivors of certain kinds of trauma, this might feed a vicious cycle where the survivor feels that his or her worth is still tied up in their physical performance.  Which is why I wouldn’t recommend to Brooke that she feel pressure to do something differently without examining why she feels safer when she doesn’t rush to kiss someone.

    In regards to someone for whom trauma is not the issue, a simple conversation about physical expectations can solve a lot of misunderstandings.  A lot of people have arbitrary ideas in their head about when kissing or anything in a relationship should happen, often from someone who might have told them that if they don’t get x by time y that this is a problem.  Each couple is going to be different.  And also, weeding out people who have different physical needs than what you have is not necessarily a bad thing.  You don’t want to be trying to mold yourself to someone else for your whole life.  With my boyfriend of 7 and a half months, we had a very nice and somewhat traditional first date.  He asked me if I wanted to go out, and when I said yes he asked me what I had in mind.  I suggested we meet somewhere halfway between both of our houses, but he did pick up the tab.  He did hug me at the end and leaned in to kiss me on my cheek (though that might have been my interpretation because he teases me about that sometimes!).  He asked if we could go out again the next weekend, and I hugged him again to show him I was interested and kissed him on his cheek.  I wasn’t interested in kissing him on the first date, because I prefer not to kiss before the second date, but I did want him to know that I was interested.

  6. 6

    Interesting topic. I think this will ultimately come down to the nature of the two individuals concerned and the dynamic between them. How Brooke (the letter writer) communicates her values/rules to the guy she is dating isn’t actually that relevant, as his interpretation will depend on his view of himself and relationships.
    If a woman I was dating said something along those lines – that she only kisses after three dates – I would immediately cut her off, as I would interpret her as saying she plays by her rules and I can take it or leave it. In which case I’d leave it.
    However, guys with fewer options might see her as worth the wait and be prepared to go along with her rules. I.e. lower quality guys.
    In the end though, successful relationships, as with all negotiations, are a matter of balance. Therefore, some flexibility (or compromise) on Brooke’s part, and my part, regarding how one dates is probably the way to go.

  7. 7

    I hate to sound like the typical superficial male here, but the original poster stated that she is young and attractive, which means:

    1. Most average looking or beta guys will be too shy/intimidated to kiss her on the first date                even if they want to. She can easily dictate her rules and they will happily follow, so they                  won’t be a problem.

    2.  She can easily attract the type of men that most women want: attractive, tall, successful,                 charismatic, confident, etc. But these are the type of men who will want a kiss on at least                 the third date, because they are use to it, if she makes him feel rejected/embarrassed after               innocently trying to kiss her he will a) confidently shrug it off and try again when she is                   more comfortable b) find someone else because guys like this always have other options,                 or c) mentally decide that she is not dating material, but continue to court her just to get                 revenge sex (this is very rare).

    The first guy she will not desire to kiss on the first date, the second guy, she most likely will, so again, there will be no problem. I would advise Brooke to read Why he disappeared (this is not an intentional plug for Evan, but) in it he advises women (and men in my opinion) to inform your date of your relationship principles in a way that doesn’t make him or her feel rejected, embarrassed, or emasculated, as Nissa said, you can have a man wait for kissing, sex, etc, and he’ll still want to happily court you everyday. Brooke, don’t just focus on not kissing him, focus on being a fun date that he will feel is worth waiting for.

    1. 7.1

      I apologize for the sporadic typing, I was trying to indent bullet points 1. and 2. I guess you can not do that on here

    2. 7.2


      You bring up the shy/intimidation factor. Is that really any issue? I find that the men who pursue me — and make their intentions very clear — are, well, a little sleazy. The guys I would like to pursue me seem to hem and haw … and I have to do a lot of the work to make something happen.

      1. 7.2.1

        Emily, the shyness, intimidation, and fear of rejection are only factors that affect the first type of guy I described. The second type of guy wouldn’t care about being rejected out of fear of losing you but it would effect his ego…


        Sleazy guys are bold because they are weak, but they are also predators! They target women who they believe will let them get away with that behavior and even though they think so, they definitely aren’t players. I have met real players and I have met fake, pop culture want-to-be players (you know the guy who brags about having 5 or 6 different girls), the fake ones are the majority women encounter. Real players make women feel beautiful, special, and desired not creeped out. They can do this because they don’t tell anyone, they don’t brag, and they give each woman they are seeing quality time. They don’t get greedy because they know that having 5 women at once will cause them to lie more, give each woman less time, which will cause him to eventually slip up.


        The point is, real players aren’t sleazy on the outside. But many women say they want a player because he is confident and they are. But a real player is confident, a pop culture player is just a braggard.  That is why for all their bragging PUA only succeed with emotionally damaged and low self-esteem women, regardless of how sexy looking she is on the outside, and it never last, so they only focus on one night stands. These men you described don’t sound confident and their bravado may have came from success with a lot of women, but I am sure that those were women who were lacking somewhere emotionally.


        Skip any guy who “hems and haws” over pursuing you. There is a difference between a guy being too shy to ask you out and a guy not wanting to make you his girlfriend. Yes of course we guys want sex, but a guy who likes you will want more from you than just your body in the bedroom. I was very shy in high school and college, but when a girl I liked flirted with me or showed me any kind of interest, I tried to romantically pursue her.


        Work hard on keeping a good relationship going, work hard on being the type of woman that your boyfriend wouldn’t have a desire to stray on, but don’t work hard on making a guy court you. Let him court you, let him work hard on making it happen. Realize that I say this as a man who would is like the guy Nick, Evan described in the above scenario. I want a woman to court me because I lack the confidence in myself to think that just because a woman says yes to a date, it means she likes me as much as I like her, but I recognize that is not how it works, she won’t feel feminine, desired, or special if she does the asking, planning, calling, etc during the first few dates.


        1. Emily


          Thank you for the detailed response. I agree with you in that a real player, or a man who has real confidence, doesn’t need to brag about all the women he hooks up with. He’s the bomb and he knows it.

          I guess I meant sleazy in the sense that a sleazy man has an energy a woman can feel. I am referring to a man I work with. He keeps trying to talk to me and throws out all these compliments but I don’t pick up on any of them. I am coolly cordial at best. A sleazy guy doesn’t know how to read women. He’ll hit on a woman over and over again in the hopes she’ll change her mind. That is NOT appealing.

      2. 7.2.2

        Emily, if all the guys who pursue you are sleazy, something is either wrong with your environment (do you only meet men at meat market bars and the like?), or with your attitude (a very high bar for “non-sleazy” behavior).

        1. Emily


          I have joined a couple of meet-up groups where I live. They are social groups, not specifically dating groups. They are about 80 percent women and the few men in them seem to pounce on any new female member. It creeps me out.


        2. JB

          Emily, 99% of men that join “Meetup” groups are socially awkward dorks that have no value on an online dating site. Meaning they got NO responses/NO dates. That’s why you perceive them as creepy. They can’t get dates for a myriad of reasons so they join a nice social “Meetup” group because that’s the only way they can actually be in the physical presence of women. Then when they hit on these women(the very same women that didn’t or won’t email them back on Match in some cases…lol) the women get creeped out and stop going to the events. Oh yes, every Meetup  group has the ONE cute couple that met and one of the events. They’re usually in the upper echelon of the looks department needless to say. Many women go once or twice then stop going for the very reason you say. They join thinking 40 guys that look like Bradley Cooper will be there and then 40 George Costanza’s actually show up….lol

        3. Christine

          I agree that one shouldn’t pin too many hopes on meetup groups!  Join because you really do have a genuine interest in whatever the meetup group is about…do it to make new friends…but don’t necessarily have too much hope that you’ll find love there.  I tried meetup groups and got some great friends there (who I cherish), but never any guys to date.  I always got my dates either through online dating, or at alumni events for my alma mater.  In fact, I eventually met my boyfriend online.

          JB, once in a while there are guys in those meetup groups who look like Bradley Cooper.  However, they’re never alone and always show up with their wives and girlfriends LOL!  (seriously, they did…and after a while I stopped going because it became too depressing. It made it feel like that cliche about how all the good ones are taken!)

        4. Emily


          I actually joined the meet-up group to get out of the house and make some new friends. I wasn’t really looking for dates and certainly not expecting Bradley Cooper, but you may be on to something. At the last event I attended, one of the men who kind of attached himself to my friend and me for the evening said women don’t respond to him on the dating sites. He turned to my friend and said (in all seriousness), “I’m taking a survey. Would you date me?” Talk about awkward!

        5. Emily


          That is a good suggestion — alumni events — to meet potential dates. I haven’t tried the online thing. I am thinking about it.


        6. Christine

          Emily, I’m glad you didn’t join meetup expecting dates or you’d be seriously disappointed right now.  You have the right idea to just expect to make new friends–I made some really good friends through meetup and you can too.

          Alumni events are definitely worth a try.  At the very least, it also gets you out of the house and introduces you to likeminded people around your age (especially if you go to ones aimed at your graduation year.  Years ago I met my dates at “young alumni” events, which limited it to people from certain class years–so I knew that I’d run into age-appropriate men within a few years of me).

          As for online dating, I did meet my boyfriend through there.  However, it also put me through a lot of bad experiences before I did!  I would read up on Evan’s material here on this website about online dating, to see if it’s for you–I have to warn you that it isn’t for the faint of heart!

        7. Emily


          It seems that finding age-appropriate, SINGLE and appealing men is a difficult task once you get past 30. Good to know that you met a good guy through online dating.

          Like you, I have met some really great people at the meet-ups; I am just not interested in dating any of them. I have been to 4 different groups and, so far, they are too young or too old. And by too old, I mean about 20 years.


  8. 8

    As a woman, I think it is a little strange to not kiss at all until the third date.  I see it as a read of attraction and if a guy doesn’t try to kiss me on the first date, I assume he is not interested.  I don’t mean make out, but a soft kiss is a sign of interest.  I think OP’s standards are ridiculous for adults.  It seems very junior high to read so much meaning into a simple kiss.  I think normal men will naturally be turned off because it is so outside the realm of typical adult behavior.

  9. 9

    I am sorry to be blunt here and please know that I by NO means endorse this in fact I have written on here and on EMK’s Facebook page before about how horrible things have become but no kissing on the third date sweetheart men are expecting sex by the third date.  So if they are not getting so much as a kiss you are going to have a really really hard time getting past a second date.  Like EMK says there is nothing wrong with having these standards but you are really limiting yourself and right or wrong this is extremely unrealistic in today’s dating world.  I don’t write the rules I’m just relaying them. You may meet a man like this but he will be rare.  I would suggest you try meeting someone via church or a more religious function.  If you are doing online dating this is going to be very difficult.  I’m not saying don’t try it I’m just saying don’t expect much and FYI the guys on Christian mingle and so forth are just as bad.

  10. 10

    Hi Brook

    I am just wondering what the underlying reason for your 3 date rule.  A few things in your letter lead me to believe that you just plain are not attracted to these “great guys” you are meeting. Especially when you said you think you could “I could maybe get through it on the 2nd date”.

    Kissing doesn’t sound like something you anticipate with excitement, but as something you tolerate in order to get into a relationship.  Maybe you just haven’t met a guy who excites you enough, but you meet these “great guys” and feel like you should “give them a chance” so you delay physical affection to see if they’ll grow on you ?

    Are you particularly religious ?  Are you afraid the kiss will escalate into sex, or are you afraid the guy will thing you are too easy ?  Or are you afraid the guy might reject you, and being rejected after just a kiss is painful ?  Are you generally not physically affectionate ?  (in non dating situations, do you hug friends family members, pet animals such as dogs and cats, rough house with toddlers ?)

    I’m not judging you, I am just curious as to your reason. And I’m from a different generation than you (I’m 60) and to most people in your generation I’m a downright prude, but even I kiss on a first date if I like the guy, and am disappointed if I like the guy and he doesn’t try to kiss me good night. (Or if he gives me the dreaded forehead kiss).  Now, when I say I kiss on a first date if I like the guy, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a wild make out session, but at least a kiss on the lips (tongue optional).  Maybe it’s because even though I reject casual sex, (one night stands, FWB, booty calls, etc) I am a very physically affectionate person who loves to hug, cuddle, kiss and eventually make love with a boyfriend.  I never took the “love language” test, but I am guessing that my #1 love language would be physical touch.  If I really liked a guy and he didn’t try to kiss me by date 2, I would assume he wasn’t into me, and move on.  And if he told me that he had a 3 date rule for KISSING, I would assume that we weren’t compatible, because once I’m in a relationship, I want LOT of touch (not just in the bedroom either) and I wouldn’t trust that he could fill that need for physical affection in me.

    A little over a year ago, my boyfriend greeted me with a kiss (just a peck on the lips and hug) on our first meeting.  I didn’t mind a bit.


    1. 10.1

      I agree. The first time I met my current boyfriend, I hugged him and gave him a kiss. I don’t usually do that, but there was already so much respect and mental chemistry from a week of constant texting. I was so happy that I was physically attracted to him. Our relationship has felt very comfortable and natural and easy. We took the Five Love Languages test, and physical touch is both of our primary love language. I think the OP isn’t a highly physical person, and she needs to be with someone who is a good match for her. She seems to be uncomfortable with being physical with a man. I have been doing online dating for several years, and I have never viewed a kiss as something to “get through.” If I want to kiss him, I do. If I don’t want to, I don’t.

  11. 11

    I would like to say to Brooke, that I am in the minority too.  To me, a kiss is not just a kiss.  Sex is not just something physical.  You are giving the very essence of yourself to someone.  A kiss is highly intimate to me.  I completely agree with you that there should be a connection there first, so that your first kiss is something very special.  You should never compromise who you are at your core for someone else.  If you do, you are bending yourself into a shape that you are not.  It will always be painful then and it will always hurt because it is not natural, it’s not who you really are.  Yes, there are things you have to compromise on in relationships, but the things that are at the heart and soul of your morals and integrity should never be compromised.  In today’s society, sex is so lose and just expected.  That’s great if that is what you are looking for.  But if you are not, then you should hold onto your beliefs because if you change them to go with the flow, you are not being true to yourself.  The right person will be out there, respecting you for your choices, for who you are and not expecting you to be someone you are not.  Compromise on things that won’t make you hold regrets.  Because when you start holding regrets, you can become bitter.  Then one day you may wake up and not even recognize who you are anymore.  There’s nothing wrong with taking it slow.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting it to feel right.  A kiss SHOULD mean something.  You can make a man feel great about himself, appreciated and respected all while staying within your own boundaries.   Don’t underestimate the power of how you choose your words and actions around him because that is what will make or break the moment.  Not your morals.

  12. 12
    Ben Iyyar

    Even, on this one you are right on the mark. There are only two choices for this lady, continue with her usual approach and continue to fail, or to soften her approach and very likely find success.  So good for you Evan!

  13. 13
    Karl S

    I remember one date I had where the girl and I didn’t share a hug or kiss or anything on the first date, but the conversation was great and she was cute so I asked for a second meeting. On date 2, I went in for a kiss on the cheek and she veered away, claiming she doesn’t really do hugs or kisses. It was really confusing. Needless to say I didn’t stick around too long.

    Another girl I met that same week was touching my arm, making physical contact when I made her laugh and was happy to kiss one the first date. Although that relationship didn’t ultimately last, I was much happier with her than trying to stick with the first girl.

    Maybe the OP should avoid online dating and try finding boys through activity groups like dancing that she can be friends with first. You can go at your own pace there until comfortable. As an online dater, I wanted to know pretty quickly if they were into me or I’d just move on.

    I don’t think the “Nick” scenario really applies to Gen Y these days. I’ve had dates where I the bought coffee/drinks and I’ve had dates where I paid only for my own and it never had much bearing on whether I got a 2nd date. I’ve got plenty more than a kiss without paying a cent.
    I’ve been seeing one woman for 6 months now and I remember we bought our own drinks the first night we met.

  14. 14

    I’m torn on this one.  I’m rather “old-fashioned” when it comes to kissing and just don’t do it on a first date.  It allll depends on the situation as to whether I will on a second date.  I remember one guy (shorter than I) kind of bounced up for a quick kiss at the end of our second date and it startled me so much I flinched which immediately became awkward for the both of us.  Needless to say, there was no third date.  I knew it was because of my reaction, and I should have used humor to deflect the awkwardness, but I was pretty shy back then and just didn’t think to use it.  He had potential, but at the same time, the two dates WERE pretty awkward and stilted, and I couldn’t pull my personality out and just be ME, so it’s probably for the best.  I’ll never forget him zooming in, though.  I at least want to see a kiss coming.  I sympathize with the OP, but at the same time it’s good to know that online daters move faster than those one has met through various other avenues.  The guy I’m seeing (7 months so far) was one I met dancing, and he already knew that I was a “baby steps” kind of gal and was quite patient with what I call “big body hugs” the first few dates.  Karl, your suggestion to meet people through activity groups is spot on.  It allows the more reserved girls (and guys) to sort of feel things out before becoming personal with kissing.  And I do consider kissing to be personal.  Just my view on it.

    1. 14.1

      So funny! I met a guy shorter than me, also, who “zoomed in” for a kiss on the meet n greet. Yuck. I look for a guy who watches my body language. A smart man who is sensitive to your needs will watch you to see if you want to be kissed.

  15. 15

    I’m with most the commenters. I just feel Brooke is reading waayyy too much into this. She’s too much inside her head on things. No spontaniety  what so ever. She claims she’s not a prude (yes it’s important to set boundaries) and you never owe a man anything but it just smacks of being uptight and the dating situation as being contrived somehow.  By all means keep standards but I’m with one of the other commenters-maybe meet guys at group activities where you can feel comfortable at a slow pace. Relaxing and enjoying the moment instead of worrying incessantly about a kiss might prove quite enjoyable.

  16. 16
    La Miss

    First things first, Merry Christmas Evan and I wish you and your family all the best for the coming year. Thank you for the incredible content that you offer us via this website. Thank you for sharing your heart and talent with us. I am one of your many lurkers and though I have bought your book (highly recommended!), like everyone else here I get to enjoy and benefit from your blog for free. So thank you because it has made a big difference to my life. I hope that you continue to prosper in wealth, health, and happiness.
    Getting back to the current blog I just wanted to share with the OP as I am similar in that I very rarely kissed on the first or second dates. My boyfriend of 10 months waited till our fourth date to kiss me. Before him I was a prolific dater looking for my future husband (meeting people online but also out at parties and through friends) and usually didn’t kiss till several dates in. Or rather I wasn’t kissed till several dates in as guys made the first move every time. This didn’t stop them from asking me out on another date despite the tongue free earlier dates. I understand that the exception does not make the rule, but I thought that sharing my experience might show the OP that it can be done if that’s the way she feels most comfortable.
    I was actually surprised at Evan’s response as I had expected his advice to be similar to that on the best time to have sex for the first time – i.e. wait but make sure he’s having fun and that you let him know that when you are ready it’s going to be amazing. That’s sort of what I did with kissing. I’m an introvert extrovert I suppose, outgoing and very social, but also quite shy. Without it being about playing games I didn’t feel comfortable getting physically close to a guy that I didn’t know. But I did feel comfortable getting to know him, flirting, laughing and smiling easily, asking him about himself, looking him in the eyes, just generally being really interested in the person sitting in front of me (btw that came straight from the pages of this blog – to quote: Men want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates: warmth, affection, nurturing…). Dates who went on to become boyfriends told me that I was friendly but also aloof so they didn’t know if I’d even say yes when they asked me out again, but they liked me enough to risk it. I think they had fun so even though they couldn’t figure me out they still wanted to try. The not kissing wasn’t the reason they asked me out again, but it also didn’t stop them from doing so.
    Also I’ve thought about Tom’s point, that they might have been men without many options, which might be the case but I honestly don’t think so. I can think of a guy who was an Oxford graduate and director of his own company who kissed me on the fifth date, another very handsome Greek psychiatrist who took me to electronic music gigs, an Italian architect who also dj’d fortnightly (I live in London, love this city!), all of them very tall. My boyfriend is an ex model who is now a therapist specializing in work with young people, including those in street gangs, he has travelled everywhere and is the type of guy who has women asking for his number. He waited till the 4th date to kiss me and after he did I got this fit of nervousness which made me literally turn on my heels and run to catch my bus without saying goodbye. He says he did wonder whether I was too shy, perhaps even childish/immature to be someone he could have a good sex life with, but our conversations were stimulating enough and he had enough fun that that was just a doubt that he has since been able to set aside.
    So OP I would say that if you want to open your net as wide as possible, then listen to Evan and relax about kissing as it will help bring the boys to the yard. But if it’s just not you, then know yourself and own who you are. Do what makes you comfortable but understand that it might mean putting more effort into the other things that will make him feel good and want to come back for more. 

    1. 16.1

      Fantastic comment, La Miss.  “Introvert extrovert.”  That is me to a tee – very social, yet very shy.  Thank you for your input, I was nodding the whole way through.  Merry Christmas!

    2. 16.2

      I enjoyed reading your post ,La Miss.

      I’ve also had positive experiences with not kissing on the first date….it’s all about making it fun like you said. I didn’t kiss my last boyfriend till the 3rd date and he made no issue about it.  He was handsome and was working towards a grad degree  (psychology).Before I agreed to go out with him, I hesitated because he’s ex girlfriend wasn’t reserved by any means-she was a lingerie model  and I assumed she moved quick. I’m so glad I didn’t hold it against because he turned out to be a great guy.

      The way I see it, it’s the guys with NO options that find not kissing on the first date a deal breaker. I mean, if he’s not used to dating women he’s not going to have an abundance mindset. He will feel offended about not getting that kiss on the first date as it might be his only chance. Or  if he DOES have options and couldn’t handle not being kissed, then he probably just wanted something casual.


  17. 17
    Elly Klein

    I think Evan is giving some good, honest, solid advice here. Yes, it’d probably be in Brooke’s best interest if she could loosen up a bit on the kissing thing. But…

    Let’s just say this is truly a boundary for Brooke. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with communicating that boundary in some way. Before the first date might be best. Perhaps something like this in a text message: ‘You look really handsome in your pics, and I’m very much looking forward to our date. But at the risk of being presumptuous, I just wanted to let you know I don’t kiss on the first or second date. I need a little more time than the average gal to get to know someone before puckering up. 😉 Hope that’s cool. Can’t wait to meet you!’

    If someone truly likes you as a person, I don’t think holding out until the third date for a kiss is a big wait, especially with online dating when the first date is the first time you’ve ever met each other.

    1. 17.1
      La Miss

      I don’t know Elly about that advice. I personally would not advice that at all. It’s just a kiss! If it’s a boundary for you (as it was for me) it’s also about understanding that it’s not for most men (and most of my girlfriends too). A text like that before you’ve even met will probably make them run. I imagine the guy thinking why is she already stressing about us kissing, haven’t even met the woman yet, she must have issues or must be uptight. Imagine a guy saying ‘Look I don’t pay on the first or second date, it takes a special woman for me to get my wallet out and I would need to figure out if that’s you before I do. From the photos you look gorgeous though, looking forward to seeing you!’ Imagine getting that text before a first date! That’s very different to him not saying anything, taking you somewhere quite cheap on a first date or agreeing to split the bill at the end of the night, but being so much fun and so charming on the night that you put that aside and say yes to the next time he asks you out because by then you’ve had the chance to see that although paying might be a bigger deal for him than for most guys, it’s fine because there’s something about him that you like. Not kissing early on is fine if you understand that most guys asking you out do want that kiss, if they’re not getting it because of your boundaries fine, but you’d better try and make it worth their while. And a no kissing text or a no kissing speech is not the way to do that.

      1. 17.1.1
        Elly Klein

        I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, La Miss.

        I actually thought about what it might be like to receive a text from a man communicating a ‘paying on the first date’ boundary. And depending on how he put it, I wouldn’t mind at all. If he said, ‘It takes a special woman to get my wallet out’… err, no. That sounds rude and bitter. But if he said something along the lines of believing in equality, not feeling comfortable paying for every online date he goes on, but he’d be more than happy to treat me from the third date onwards because he’s a loving and generous person, I’d think that was fair enough – especially if he were a teacher or had a lot of expenses (like kids) or the like, and didn’t have $100 to throw around each week on a couple of random online dates.

        In any case, if someone just can’t get past something – if it’s truly a boundary for them – the only thing they can do is communicate their boundary and fish in a smaller pond. The right person will understand. If someone’s gonna be outta there the moment you communicate a boundary in a fair and reasonable manner, they’re not the right person for you.

  18. 18


    Just simply be honest with the guy. Don’t discuss the kissing thing unless it is in person. Here is how to go about it: Just before the check arrives or you leave the table, ask him to see his hand. Reach for his hand with your palm up, place your other hand on top of his. Pay him a compliment about his hand and tell him how much you enjoyed the date. Then explain to him what kissing means to you while his hand is sandwiched between yours. You can lead in with: “I just wanted you to know that……….”. Make sure that somewhere in your discussion, you make it abundantly clear that your lack of kissing does not mean you are not interested.

    How do I navigate this without pursuing a guy but letting him know I’m interested?” Therein lies the problem. He is going to need some kind of a pursuit signal. Ask him if he minds if you plan the next date. Be willing to plan and pay for the next date.


  19. 19

    I’m an older Brooke, and I can’t think of a single time I’ve kissed someone on a first date.  Until the last few years, I also didn’t kiss on the second date.

    The man I’m currently dating is very alpha (ex-military) and clearly extremely experienced with the opposite sex – unlike me!  At the end of our first date, I initiated a quick kiss on his cheek.  We shared a real kiss at the end of our second date.  Serious physical intimacy did not happen until one month later…and my late-30s guy has confessed that until me he cannot recall waiting beyond a third or fourth date for sex!

    So my two primary pieces of advice may be 1) initiating a kiss on the cheek around date 1 or 2 could be a way to strike a balance between indicating interest and keeping things casual, and 2) the right guy will be willing to adjust his expectations and will respect you more for having those boundaries.  I can tell you that my current guy doesn’t have the highest opinion of women in general but is very careful to add “except you” or “except Erin” now when discussing women with his friends.

    That said, I’m not married so the case can be made I’ve completely failed at dating and that my advice should not be trusted:)

  20. 20

    I guess I’m in the minority of men (and women) here.

    I almost never kiss on the first date, maybe on the 2nd date.  Probably on the third date.  And once it happened on the 4th date.

    With my current gf, we kissed on the 3rd date and had sex on the 5th.  With the previous gf, the first kiss was on the 4th date and sex was at 2 months.  I think going by prescription is a bad idea.  You have to read the other person, especially her body language and how the relationship is progressing and factor in your preferences.  I don’t understand kissing someone you just met.  I want to kiss someone that I kind of like and want to get to know better.  If you don’t want to kiss, you keep a bit of distance from him.  If you want a 2nd date, give a firm handshake or hug with a big smile and let him know that you had a good time and would like to hear from him again.  Not kissing on the 1st or 2nd date shouldn’t be a deal breaker.  Isn’t it healthy to progress at a slower rate?

    And I think sex on the 3rd date is waaaay too fast (if I want a LTR).  But that’s just me and I’m a guy in his early 50’s.

  21. 21

    Oh, Brooke  I completely get you! .)  I’m in my twenties  and prefer not to kiss on the first date…not because I think it’s “wrong” , but because it weeds out the players and those who expect sex after a few weeks of dating.   Besides,  everyone expects to kiss on the first date,  particularly at the end of the night before saying bye…where’s the spontaneity and magic in that?

    Set your boundaries but him feel desirable in the process …” I find you so attractive/ I really want to kiss you, but I still wanna know more about you .) Look deep into  his eyes and smile softly as you say that..maybe even a light touch on the arm….

    You energy behind your words is what turns a potentially awkward moment into a hot moment…The “prudes” are the ones that turn them down without being flirty and tantalizing about it.

    Also, I had no idea women not paying on dates was such an issue. Yes, it may not be “romantic” for a woman to pay her half but if she has a job it’s totally appropriate. Interestingly, most guys refused to let me pay and they get weird about it so I just say “thank you very much”.  If the date is horrible and I know I won’t see them again I insist on paying anyways.





    1. 21.1

      Thank you!!!!!!! Very Very Helpful!!! I will next time with an online date!!!

  22. 22

    Confession: the hubby got his first kiss on our 4th date!

    And yet, I agree with Evan on the effectiveness argument. If you struggle with dating, you must change what you are doing.

    If you are very attached to a “rule”, boundary, or criteria, you must accept to pay the price of fulfilling it, which could be needing more time to find The One, or having to sign up for a less-desirable trait as trade-in.

    This being said, I’m also tired of the pressure to give physical favors before ones feels comfortable doing so. What’s wrong with needing an emotional connection before sharing body fluids?

    And if you are a man tired of having to pay on the first date, please know that personally I was not attached to having the man pay for me (and I can’t be the only one), and I always got my wallet out when it was time to pay. If he insisted to pay (and he always did because I dated men who had a clue), he got extra brownies point; but no one would have been rejected for not paying.

    As Evan says, we think that our experience is the reality. I know my experience is not *the* reality, but it certainly was *my* reality, and *my* reality is that I never had to kiss or have sex to keep a man interested. If there was no special connection, no kiss would have changed that, so I could spare myself the sharing of saliva with a stranger. And if a special connection had occurred, no lack of kiss would have changed that either. For the record, I never NOT got a second (or third or fourth) date, unless it was obvious there was no mutual interest. What can I say, I had a knack for eliciting an emotional connection (hint: men crave those as well, even if they deny it!), therefore there was no need for me to violate my physical boundaries.

    Now, going back to the Letter Writer’s question, I suspect that her problem comes more from *how* to communicate her need to “go slow” than to having that need in the first place. When I was dating, and wanted to “go slow”, I was not waiting to communicate my need until the guy tried to kiss me. That would indeed trigger awkward feelings of rejection and be embarrassing. As Evan keeps repeating it – and it’s so true – we want to be around people who make us feel good, and awkward and embarrassing don’t really feel good!

    There are more sensitive ways to communicate “I’m really into you but I need you to be a bit patient” than presenting your cheek when he reaches for your mouth!

    And finally, to the Letter Writer, I’d suggest to ditch the three-date rule, and simply be in tune with what happens organically. If you feel the emotional connection that you need on date 1, then go for that first kiss earlier than your “rule” says, and if you only feel it on date 4, then go even slower. If you give plenty of other signs of attraction and interest to your date, and if you can get an emotional connection growing, you will be able to respect your boundaries, while also screening your date for his patience and communication skills.

    1. 22.1

      Hah my partner had to wait… Maybe 4 months or so? This went through both bye and v day, so super patient guy. The key was communication on my end of what was going on with me and other clear indications of interest, holding hands, hugging, cuddling, etc. so for Brooke, perhaps merely be more outwardly affectionate. But yes, rules like 3 dates in I do blah blah blah are stupid and childish.

    2. 22.2

      Hello! As I clarified with Evan just now, I don’t have a “third date rule”. I don’t know where the rule came from. I never mentioned a rule in my letter. Online dating is tough because the first date it the first time you’ve even met them! Enjoyed reading your response though!

      1. 22.2.1

        Hi Brooke,

        Thanks for coming back with clarifications! In addition to feeling attracted to the guy, it looks like you also need to feel an emotional connection to enjoy kissing a someone new. If that’s the case, I’m like you, and you could improve your dating by taking an active part in creating the emotional connection that you need as soon as possible. Evan’s reminder of his 2/2/2 rule was super helpful and implementing it might help you a lot with that, because you would not feel like you’re meeting a complete stranger on the first date. (I’ve never tried online dating, so it’s more a guess than actual experience but it looks spot on).

        If you manage to elicit an emotional connection early, you get three benefits: 1. you feel more comfortable giving the guy what he wants, which is a validation of his attractiveness, 2. the guy feels something special for you, which makes him want to drop his other prospects and focus on you, 3. he becomes more patient with the physical stuff, because he now finds you absolutely irresistible.

  23. 23
    Elly Klein

    Some really interesting, varied advice here. I guess it’s about: a) Deciding whether or not you can ease up on the kissing thing because, as Evan explained, it’d be in Brooke’s best interest to do so, and b) If you can’t, communicating your boundary in the most effective way possible. I think ‘effective’ comes down to what feels natural for you. If you’re a wordy person, you might want to send a well-written text in advance. If you’re good at flirting and non-verbal communication, you might not have to say anything at all and just be warm on your date, give him a big hug at the end and let him know you’d love to see him again.

  24. 24

    I think Evan ignored an important part of Brooke’s letter in this sentence here: “I may not want to kiss until the 3rd or 4th date to feel comfortable and enjoy it.”

    This is important. Because I feel like he’s answering the question as if she is playing some kind of game, like she won’t kiss until the 3rd date to weed out the players like someone else mentioned above, or like she doesn’t want to be seen as too easy etc. This is made all the clearer with the comparison of “Nick” and his desire to have his date “earn” his spending time and money on her. “Nick” is clearly testing his date. But I really don’t think that’s what Brooke is doing in this case. If her reasoning was such Evan’s response makes a great deal of sense. But she’s expressed that it takes her a few dates to feel comfortable enough with a person to become physically intimate with them. Now I know in this day and age kissing is seen as practically no more intimate than a high five, but there are still some people who see kissing as one of the more intimate acts one can do. I’m one of them. I find kissing generally very unpleasant unless I’m with someone I really am interested in.  I definitely am not the sort of person who’s ever been comfortable going to a party and making out with random guys. And yet I’m more than happy to do many other things that would definitely not garner a PG 13 rating. There’s something about mouths on mouths, and the exchange of saliva and so on that just for me psychologically is linked to something much more intimate than some of the other supposedly more intimate acts.

    Let’s also not forget that not everyone feels sexually aroused in the same way either. There are a lot of women coming out of the woodwork these days talking about how they simply are not sexually interested in someone until they get to know them much better. The more I talk with my female friends the more I’m discovering so many of them feel this way. And how many of them have sadly forced themselves to be intimate with men they were not yet physically attracted to or aroused by because they were told, as Evan said here, that men generally won’t wait.

    So with all that said, I don’t think encouraging someone to do something they wouldn’t enjoy and aren’t comfortable doing is a wise course of action. And I certainly do not find it comparable to “Nick” who doesn’t like planning dates (though of course if “Nick” felt truly that emotionally and physically uncomfortable with doing that, then I wouldn’t suggest he do it either).

    I will agree that it is likely many men won’t be happy waiting, but that’s quite irrelevant. I don’t think Brooke would want to be with such men. And yes, possibly it might take more work and more effort to find the men who will wait, but I think that that would be worth it. I mean, enough posters here have said they have managed to explain kindly that they need to take things slowly and have done so effectively, and I’ll be another one. It’s absolutely possible. It needs to be done with softness and kindness and a bit of humour goes a long way too. Reassurance is extremely important as well. And I think also demonstrating physical affection in other ways: holding hands, touching his arm, leaning in, stroking his hair, all of that helps reassure the man that she likes him and that she wants to see where things progress.

    Brooke – you don’t have to put yourself in a physically and emotionally vulnerable position that makes you feel uncomfortable and that you won’t enjoy in order to make a man like you. There are patient men out there, ones who truly will listen and understand. And heck, it’s not like you’re saying never, you’re just saying 3 – 4 dates, and that’s not that long really in the scheme of things.  My advice to you is to be warm. Be kind. Be funny. Show him through other actions that you are attracted to him and this isn’t a rejection in the least, and then say as much with your words. Heck, if you feel bold enough, you can even make it a little sexy. As Tom Hiddleston taught Cookie Monster, there is a benefit sometimes to delayed gratification. 🙂

    1. 24.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I didn’t tell her to change. I didn’t insinuate she was playing games. I told her that she could do whatever she wanted, and pointed out only that her discomfort with early date intimacy may drive away a number of men. As long as Brooke’s content with that outcome, she can continue on her path. But it does beg the question: why write to me? So I can offer advice like “be warm” when rejecting his advances? That’s nice but, in my opinion, doesn’t provide as much insight as the comparison with Nick. To each, her own.

      1. 24.1.1

        Actually you did insinuate that she was playing games by your comparison to “Nick” who you explain was playing a game in order to have women earn his money and time. By using your “Nick” metaphor you exactly implied that Brooke was like him.

        And she wrote to you for this reason: “How do I navigate this without pursuing a guy but letting him know I’m interested? . . .How do I date without giving in to their timeline and letting them make all the decisions on timing with the physical? I don’t judge them for wanting to move really fast so I don’t want them to judge me for needing some sort of emotional connection or a bit more time to feel excited and enjoy it.”

        She wanted advice how to communicate effectively with men how she felt and that her lack of wanting to kiss right away was not a lack of interest nor a sign she never would. You didn’t answer that question. Instead you said she had two choices, keep doing what she was doing and lose out on most men, or stop doing what she was doing and get more dates.

        What she wanted was the third thing: how to communicate with men and explain her particular situation in a way that wasn’t offensive or would be misconstrued. I attempted to answer that question for her in my first post.

        Your insight with your comparison to Nick can be useful especially as I said above if the issue is that she is not kissing because she is testing the person, but otherwise your comparison to Nick falls flat due to the motivation behind the behaviour. The premise of the argument as it were. To you also you think offering the advice “You have two choices” is the most sound because you only see there being two choices. And that’s fine too. I’m saying that there’s a third.

        And yes “be warm” actually is helpful advice. Telling someone to be warm and friendly instead of pulling away from his advances harshly can be helpful, yes (it’s actually a little odd to me that you don’t think it would be as you speak all the time about women being warm towards men, and making men feel like they matter and that women actually care about them – I LOVE that advice because so many women these days can be really cold towards men, almost mean towards them – I have one friend in particular who does this, so of course that guy doesn’t want to date her, he doesn’t think she’s happy when she sees him!). There’s a difference between someone who yanks her head away and looks at someone with disgust and someone who slightly puts her chin down with a small smile and pulls back a little while still holding onto him. There’s a difference between standing back and saying, “I’m not kissing you on the first date!” And staying quite close phyically and kind of intimately saying in a soft voice, “I really like you, and I really want to see you again. I don’t feel comfortable kissing on the first date, but let’s make sure we go out again very soon.” And then giving a big hug, squeezing his arm. I mean, I’d likely make a joke too, to diffuse the awkwardness, but jokes are unique to individuals so it’s hard to write a script for precisely that.

        Basically, there are ways to communicate with people that don’t have to result in “rejection”. She isn’t rejecting him at all. She is postponing his advances. And there are ways to make it quite clear that he isn’t being rejected, that he will be kissed in time, and that she likes him a lot. You might not think there are, you might not be able to come up with a script or suggestions and you are likely right that Brooke shouldn’t have written to you and maybe instead should have written to Captain Awkward who is very good at coming up with scripts like these. Every advice columnist has their strengths. It’s possible she didn’t know there were other ones better suited to her particular issue and because she likes your advice generally thought to write to you.

        At any rate, I think you were wrong in your advice this time, and I wanted to offer her a different perspective. But just because I disagree with how you addressed her question (to be clear, I think your advice is well suited to a “Nick” or to a woman playing the “I don’t want to be seen as too easy” game) doesn’t mean I don’t think you have good things to say generally. Just this time I don’t think you answered the actual question being asked. That’s all.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t think Nick is playing a game. I think he has a self-imposed rule that doesn’t work well with the opposite sex. Which makes him EXACTLY like Brooke, in my opinion.

        2. Joe

          If Nick believes in equality, and thus expects to split the tab, how is that testing, or a game?


          Nick’s expectation of equality is a self-imposed paradigm.  If other women can kiss on a first date, clearly Brooke’s “I’m not comfortable enough to kiss a guy on the first date” rule is also a self-imposed paradigm.
          As Evan suggests, she’s free to have whatever policy (you can call it what you want–feelings, preference, whatever–but at the end of the day that’s what it is to the outside world) she wants, but can’t expect others to accommodate her at all times.

    2. 24.2

      Thanks Callie. This is exactly how I felt when I read his response. Your last paragraph was so sweet it made me cry a little! I needed that encouragement!

      I love kissing and I find it very intimate and I know doing it can sometimes lead to more faster too. I’m aware most people don’t operate this way but it seems there are still some who do!


      1. 24.2.1

        It was my pleasure. And I’m glad I wasn’t putting words in your mouth (I must admit I feared I might be). It’s tough because a lot of people (like Evan) really don’t get the whole kissing is very intimate thing. I mean, he literally said above in response to you that it’s just a kiss which really tells me everything I need to know about his ability to empathize with people who think and act differently and have different emotional/physiological responses than he does – and to give him credit because he is right about this – than most of the majority do (as you also acknowledge here). It’s tough to offer advice to someone when you really don’t understand what the big deal is.

        But I do get what the big deal is. And I know many others who get it as well.  And I’ve had a lot of conversations about this issue in particular. Now Evan does make a good point that there will be guys who just won’t get it (like he doesn’t) and won’t be interested. His point I think is that you can’t make the guys who won’t get it get it. But I don’t think that was your question. I think you are asking about the guys who do get it, who would understand. How do you communicate effectively WITH THEM. Because you are right, you can still scare those guys off too by not kissing them and not communicating why you won’t kiss them.

        So, as I said above, for those guys warmth is a big deal. Touching an arm. Doing that coy chin down but looking up at him with your eyes thing. And using your words. “I really had a lovely time. I really like you. I’m not comfortable kissing after only knowing you so short a time, but I would really like to get to know you better and spend more time with you. How do you feel about that? Do you want to maybe go out again soon?”

        Sure the guys who need that kiss will be outta there, and you can’t always predict which guy is gonna be that guy. But at least for the guy who is cool with waiting you’ve communicated clearly that that’s all it is. That you aren’t rejecting him. That you want to see him again. And if after you do all that and the guy bolts, good riddance really 🙂

        Huge huge luck to you! And don’t let anyone pressure you to do anything physically that you just aren’t ready for yet. Waiting for the right guy is better than impressing the majority of guys 🙂 .

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I will only say that I DO understand what the big deal is for you, but that it doesn’t change anything. I can acknowledge your feelings and your reality and, at the same time, point out that your feelings and reality also box you in, to some degree. That is not shaming you, pressuring you, or anything similar to that.

          If I choose to go on a date and don’t want to talk about my family or friends (because that’s too personal for me), I’m entitled to have that arbitrary boundary that other people cross more easily, but I have to realize that others may not find it to their liking – it may be a turnoff that I’m so closed to sharing personal information. I can continue to say that I won’t talk about friends, family or exes for at least five dates and deal with the fact that women aren’t bonding with me…or I can let go of my rules a little bit and connect better with women over real conversation than talk about movies, work, and weather.

          So, 160 posts later, Brooke, you have your advice from Callie: “Be warm when you tell him you’re not going to kiss him.” And when you do, the guys who are bothered by the no-kissing policy are still going to bolt. And the guys who are not bothered by the no-kissing policy are still going to stay. Which is a very long route to saying that you’re going to continue to do exactly what you did when you wrote me the original email…and continue to get the exact same results. Kind of makes you wonder the point of writing to an advice columnist at all. I probably should have just said “Be warm,” and left it at that.

        2. Callie

          With all due respect Evan (and I don’t mean that facetiously), someone who says “it’s just a kiss” and continues to compare someone not wanting to kiss on the first date to an “arbitrary boundary” definitely does NOT understand. At all. But you do not understand how you don’t understand so it makes sense that you keep defending your stance as understanding.

          And I said way more than just be warm. I gave her literal words to say and practical actions to take. Please do keep ignoring the other advice I offered her to make your point. But here’s the thing: assuming she was warm in the first place is part of the problem here. You don’t know how she was rejecting them. Maybe she was being blunt, maybe she wasn’t saying anything just kind of turning her head to the side and saying goodnight. Maybe her nerves made her seem cold and indifferent. You mock my “be warm” over and over again, but at the same time you have advised women over the years to be exactly that. To show men that they like them, that they want to be around them. Warmth as opposed to say cool indifference makes a difference. As you always point out. Men don’t care what status women have, you always say, they care how you make them feel. So lean forward when they talk, smile, demonstrate through body language that you like them. You’ve said this. I’m telling her to do what you’ve advised in other situations. Come on man, I’m not saying anything absurd here. I taking a page out of your own book.

          She wanted to know how to explain to the guys who don’t mind not kissing on the first date that her not kissing wasn’t her saying she wasn’t interested in any more dates. That’s all. And that’s what I answered for her.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s very good advice, Callie. It won’t change a thing, but I agree with every word.

    3. 24.3

      There are a lot of women coming out of the woodwork these days talking about how they simply are not sexually interested in someone until they get to know them much better. The more I talk with my female friends the more I’m discovering so many of them feel this way. And how many of them have sadly forced themselves to be intimate with men they were not yet physically attracted to or aroused by because they were told, as Evan said here, that men generally won’t wait.

      Thank you! Yes I wish this was talked about a lot more. A lot of young women these days seem to label themselves as “asexual” quite quickly because they don’t feel sexual attraction the way most of society deem as  normal (aka feeling sexually attracted almost instantaneously).

  25. 25

    Hmm . . . for some reason I cannot directly reply back to you Evan, sorry about starting a new thread here 😛 .

    My answer to you is that: I know. I know you think she has a self imposed rule. That’s why you used the comparison. And that’s where I think you are wrong. And why I think your advice in this particular case is unhelpful. The wording she uses in her letter is about comfort and enjoyment and emotional connection. It isn’t about testing someone, or about not being seen as too easy etc. It’s about her physical discomfort in kissing someone she doesn’t know.

    You see: Her not kissing on the first date is NOT a choice for her. It’s not her deciding “I will only kiss after this length of time” (which is also evidenced in that she doesn’t have a specific number of dates, but rather 3 or 4), it’s that she is not physically ready or interested in kissing until she gets to know a guy. And it takes her personally several dates to get to know a guy.

    Brooke not wanting to kiss a guy she doesn’t feel comfortable kissing yet, is not her making some kind of rule that she can change or logic her way out of is my point. This is an emotional and physical thing. She is not kissing on the first date because she physically/emotionally doesn’t want to, she physically/emotionally can’t. And I think you’ll definitely agree with me that we don’t want anyone, men or women, doing sexual things that make them uncomfortable or worse correct?

    I think the issue at hand is you cannot really conceive of not wanting to kiss someone you are happy on a first date with. That if you are having a great first date of course you’ll want to kiss them. So you see anyone in that situation as necessarily holding back. Not giving into temptation as it were. But as I stated above there are many people (women AND men) who can be having a great first date but still need more than just one to feel physically attracted to someone. If you are so inclined you can go onto Tumblr and search the hashtag #demisexuality (for the record, I’m really not a big fan of that label, as I believe we all exist on a spectrum of how we are attracted to people and many many people need to get to know people first, nonetheless, reading about the experiences of people who take a while to be physically aroused by others might be helpful).

    In conclusion: I think the issue here is one of you simply not being able to understand how someone could not want to kiss and therefore you assume it has to be a self-imposed rule, as opposed to a more gut level emotional physically response kind of thing. That’s why I think you were wrong in this case, and likely were the wrong person to ask this question of. This particular question. You are often the right person for so many other kinds of questions 🙂 .

    1. 25.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I do understand; we just disagree. You say that “You see: Her not kissing on the first date is NOT a choice for her.” Actually, it is. By definition. If she made a different choice, she would kiss. She chooses not to. You can make the case that one should not make a choice to override one’s feelings; that’s fair. But don’t pretend that Brooke has no free will over her actions. I’ve coached lots of women in making more effective choices with men (in spite of their previous history/feeling) so I know quite definitively that it can be done.

      1. 25.1.1

        I’m not pretending anything. I’m saying that being physically intimate before you are ready/aroused is very difficult. Like, would you be able to intimately kiss a man (not a jokey kiss, but a soft slow intimate kiss, a kiss that signals attraction)? (I actually don’t know if you are bi or not, so no offence if you are and I’m making presumptions here) And if not do you see your lack of interest in kissing men as a choice you’ve made? And as a choice someone could coach you into being comfortable with?

        Because that’s comparable.  Her brand of sexuality dictates that she needs to know someone very well before she gets turned on by them. The difference is that Brooke knows herself well enough to know that after a bit of time her attraction DOES grow. All she’s asking for is a way of communicating that that will happen. Not for you to coach her out of her lack of arousal on a first date.

        But yes, we do disagree. You think that every action is one made purposefully and a choice. I think some are. And I think others are just who we are. Some people are straight, some are gay, some are bi, some are pan, some people are asexual, some people are aromantic, some people are demisexual and so on. Some people are aroused by a certain kink, some people by another, some by vanilla. Some women are attracted to Chris Hemsworth, and some to Tom Hiddleston. Some men love Jennifer Lawrence, and others Natalie Portman. Some things are not choices. Some things you cannot logic yourself out of. You think it’s possible to make yourself be attracted sooner to people. I do not. You think men are men and she has two choices. I think men are individuals and communication is paramount. And that there are men out there not only willing and happy to take things slow, but who even prefer slow themselves.

        So agree to disagree for sure on this one. And ultimately Brooke gets to decide for herself what is her best course of action. And who knows, maybe what you said struck a chord, that would be wonderful. I’m not her after all. I just wanted to trust her own understanding of her physical and emotional responses to men and try to answer the actual question she asked. That was all. Maybe she finds my answer totally off base, and I’m okay with that. I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

        1. Mel

          I’m saying that being physically intimate before you are ready/aroused is very difficult. 

          I’m with Callie on this!  Sure she can choose to kiss the guy, but I suspect most of her experiences will be bad, because quite simply her body and mind is not ready. You can’t force yourself to be something you are not (well you can, but it most probably it will end in disaster). And I bet she will walk away from most of those experiences of being kissed and feel nothing and not want to go out on a date with the guy again.

          Brooke, I think you should wait until you feel comfortable. The right guy for you will understand this.

  26. 26

    Hey Joe! Just saw your reply and again for some reason cannot reply within the thread, ugh.

    You said “If other women can kiss on a first date, clearly Brooke’s “I’m not comfortable enough to kiss a guy on the first date” rule is also a self-imposed paradigm.”

    This is a logical fallacy. You are presuming that all women feel the same way and have the same form of attraction. This is not the case. Other women are happy to kiss on a first date because they like it. However Brooke is not because she doesn’t enjoy it. It’s quite simple. It isn’t some choice. It’s her literally not being aroused by men on a first date. I mean, other men enjoy kissing other men, so I assume by your logic you do too and the fact that you don’t kiss a man is simply a self-imposed paradigm correct?


    1. 26.1


      In fact, I am not presuming that all women feel the same way.  As I suggested in my post, there are women who will kiss on a first date, women who will only kiss on a second date, women who will only kiss on a third date, and so on.  The fact that Brooke does not kiss on a first date means that there is a certain amount of choice in her decision.  Perhaps if you go back and read #1.1 you’ll get it.


      As Evan says, he’s only pointing out reality.  Are you more or less likely to go on a second date with Nick when he insists on splitting the check on the first date, because women are his equals–unless you disagree that men and women are equal?  Is he more or less likely to ask you for a second date when you tell him you don’t kiss on a first date?


      And talk about logical fallacies.  The fact that other men kiss men doesn’t mean that I enjoy it.  Brooke enjoys kissing men, but only after a certain amount of time has passed.  You calling it comfort, or me calling it a rule doesn’t change that fact.

      1. 26.1.1

        “I am not presuming that all women feel the same way.”

        Well you implied as much by saying that Brooke has a self-imposed rule. Because what you are saying is but for that rule, Brooke would totally be cool kissing on a first date.

        Also you might not think that “rule” and “comfort” are different, but from where I stand they are vastly so. You and Evan currently see what Brooke is doing as a rule that is based on her values: “I will not kiss a man until date 3.” As something, as you have said, self-imposed. A conscious thought out decision on her part. But many of us others don’t see it as this logical sit down thought out self-imposed kind of thing. Many of us see it as more in the moment: “I am not attracted to this guy yet, nor am I physically or emotionally comfortable enough to do so, I don’t want to kiss him tonight. But I do still like him and would like to go out with him again.”  This happens every single time she dates. Because her sexuality is such that it takes her a long time to be aroused by someone. Or rather, a few dates, which really isn’t that long a time when you step back and think about it for a moment.

        Here’s the thing you are both failing to understand, again quite possibly because you yourselves have never experienced this so you can’t fathom how anyone else could be this way: Brooke isn’t someone who is attracted to her date but holding herself back because she doesn’t think it’s right to kiss on the first date. She does not want to do it for much more innate biological reasons. She isn’t turned on. She doesn’t feel a desire to kiss him. How is it a “rule” that she has self imposed on herself when it is a physiological and emotional response? Is it a self imposed “rule” that someone is afraid of heights? Is it a self imposed “rule” that someone is allergic to cats? Is it a self imposed “rule” that you aren’t attracted to men?

        A rule is a decision. Something thought through and then a conclusion is drawn. Comfort at times can be as well, especially when one feels discomfort due to more moral or value based issues. But based on everything Brooke has said it is clear that this isn’t a choice for her. She’s physically and emotionally not in a place to kiss a guy on a first date. That’s not a choice. That’s just her body and how it feels.


        And sir, I will remind you what you said: ““If other women can kiss on a first date, clearly Brooke’s “I’m not comfortable enough to kiss a guy on the first date” rule is also a self-imposed paradigm.”

        In other words you said that other women can do it, and since Brooke is a woman so can she and that the only reason she doesn’t is she chooses not to. That’s what the sentence above means. So I merely was using your same philosophy: If other men are happy to kiss men, then you as a man can be as well and you simply choose not to. If the original sentence was not what you meant, possibly you may wish to re-state it.

        1. Joe

          I really don’t see how you keep failing to understand that it doesn’t matter whether you call it a rule or not–the effect is the same.  As Evan says, Brooke needs to find a way to communicate her issue to men and hope they don’t bail, or (wo)man up and try something different.


          Calling it the same as an allergy is a bit specious as well.  Allergies are physiological responses.  Phobias are psychological responses, and even then there’s evidence that they can be tempered:


          To-may-to, to-mah-to.  Let’s call the whole thing off.

  27. 27

    As a guy who dates ‘o plenty I wait a few (normal*) dates for various reasons – comfort level, flu season, want to make sure I’m interested, and most importantly I don’t kiss girls who I don’t know aren’t kissing other guys – and it’s never been a problem. If there is a lot of interest and compatibility most guys will stick around for a couple of dates. If guys are turning tale after a couple of kissless dates they’re not all that interested and/or are looking for a short term deal.


    *Sometimes my first few dates are all-day outings such as hiking or skiing or a road trip. After such a date (which is like 2-3 dates) if there is no kiss, that would be a problem for me.

  28. 28
    Mrs Happy

    I’m 42 and married now, but I started dating in my teens, and until I married at 36, must have had… ?hundreds of dates. Lots of boyfriends, numerous proposals, a few engagements, two marriages. Seriously I am having trouble recalling ever kissing on the 1st date (bar one very memorable occasion involving a hot summer night, a strappy dress that was loosened before I realised, and some ice cubes) and often not for the first few dates. I never had a rule about it, but many guys didn’t make a kiss move at the end of the 1st date. Fine by me.

    So from my point of view there are heaps of men who didn’t kiss me on the first date.  They exist. They’re not rare.

    Maybe the OP is attracted to and dates the kind of man who always makes a move on the 1st date, and is aggressively physical thereafter? Maybe she should try to date different types of men?

    Likewise with sex. It usually took months in a relationship before I had sex with a man. In general I  only had sex with boyfriends I felt very emotionally into or in love with. Heaps of these men (men that have relationships before getting sexually active) are out there.

    The OP can set things up to be smoother at the end of the night by not having him drive her home on dates 1 or 2 or 3 – this will make the kiss move less likely.

  29. 29

    I’m stuck on the fact that people are equating Nick’s not wanting to spend money on a woman (a materialistic act) with Brooke’s not wanting to kiss a man before she knows him (an act of physical intimacy).  To quote Martin Short in Captain Ron “HUUUUUGE difference!”


    I can’t help but think is this the advice y’all would give your daughters:  “So what if you are uncomfortable with physical intimacy with a stranger, if you want to be popular and get yourself a boyfriend you better stop being a prude and lock lips with every rando who comes along or you will be alone for the rest of your life because guys won’t stick around if you don’t give him a little sugar.   C’mon girl!  Get with it – it ain’t no big deal.  Every other girl is doing it so you should be fine doing it too!”


    I don’t believe any of you would.  You’d probably tell her to do what she is comfortable with and don’t give into peer pressure.  The right guy for her will love her and respect her for who she is and respect her boundaries, and not for doing what everyone else tells her is the right thing. You’d tell her – you just do you.  If you wouldn’t your daughters to do it, I don’t believe you should tell someone else to do it.


    It also seems to me to be a bit insulting to men – like the implication is that men are one dimensional creatures for whom getting physical is all that matters and they can’t control it so as a women you better kiss on the first date and have sex by the third (but only if he agrees to exclusivity) or he’ll move on.


    It’s also bit of a mixed message to women.  Wait until your comfortable, but don’t rush him but he’ll want sex by the 3rd date but you need exclusivity…wait? What?!  How well do you really know someone by the third date?  Almost not at all.  And how do you ask him for exclusivity without rushing him when you’ve only on your 3rd date and he expects sex or he’ll walk away?


    Not a sermon, just some thoughts.

    1. 29.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Cat5, in my opinion, your error in thinking reveals itself whenever I give advice that asks women to make any sort of adjustments. In your world, men need to change. Women need to do whatever they’re doing, regardless of whether it’s working or making them happy. Their arbitrary rules are more important than whether those rules actually work. That is why the Nick analogy is well suited, as explained by Speed. So while my logical arguments never seem to sway you, I will try again.

      Read the original piece in which I talk about life like a Venn Diagram. Everything in life is about that Venn Diagram. If you hold out for a $1,000,000 salary and no one wants to pay it, you can claim that you’re “worth” it and that these are your boundaries… you’ll just be unemployed for a really long time, given that there are few million dollar jobs. Dating is no different. It’s economics. You’re a seller of your services. Is there a male buyer? If so, how many?

      My advice is geared for the MANY based on what I feel will be the MOST EFFECTIVE in reaching men as a whole. I have a 60 year old client who is a born-again Christian and a born-again virgin. Those are her boundaries. They eliminate, off the bat, probably 95% of men. She knows I don’t agree with her stance, because it makes our job harder, but she’s sticking with it. I don’t judge her in the least. My job is not to impose values; it’s to provide information about what works most often.

      Given that men look for sex before they find love, putting love/marriage before sex is usually an ineffective stance. In general, men want to make sexual progress fast – within reason. Which is why your last paragraph is so infuriating to me – as if you haven’t been reading this space closely for years. I’m extremely clear in articulating reasonable boundaries that will work for both women AND men. (Remember, your boundaries have to work for MEN, too, to be effective with them).

      So you never hear me talking about how women have to have sex by the third date. Never never never. No matter what men want. Because if men push too fast, it’s EQUALLY ineffective as if women go too slow. That’s the part you seem to ignore – as if I’m only telling women to change.

      My advice is based on most people’s reality – confident men who are attracted to you will make some sort of move to kiss you on the first or second date, depending on the circumstance.

      You have two choices: give a speech/turn your cheek, or kiss him back. If you choose the former, there are consequences – making him feel rejected and embarrassed first and foremost. But if you kiss him, it’s a nice coda to the evening that makes him want to come back for more. A kiss doesn’t mean intercourse. A kiss is just a kiss. My recommendation from there is to mix up romantic and platonic dates so you don’t move too fast, but to keep making progress sexually. Why? Because it’s supposed to be fun AND because it’s effective in making him feel attractive and bonded to you. If you just avoid physical intimacy, dance around it, overexplain it, etc, guess what? He’s not having any fun. Your “healthy boundaries” have eliminated another decent guy that you liked.

      Next, I recommend that women “go around the bases” and enjoy foreplay indefinitely…until they figure out if they should be boyfriend/girlfriend. That could be three weeks. That could be two months. I generally recommend 4-6 weeks of consistent effort before hopping into bed/calling it official. This is a reasonable amount of time that works well for most women AND most men.

      I repeat:

      If a guy wants to get laid on Date 2 just because, he’s ineffective and will turn off many women.
      If a woman insists that a man plan and pay for three dates without a kiss, she’s likely to be ineffective and turn off many men.

      Neither gender is “wrong” for disagreeing. Both need to acknowledge and understand the greater dating landscape (men want speed, women want comfort) to make informed choices in love.

      And that’s exactly what I’ll tell my daughter when she grows up; that there is an objective reality when it comes to relationship dynamics that needs to be observed, instead of playing some sort of fantasy game where whatever you want is “right” just because you want it. See Nick, above, who puts his made-up rules ahead of his effectiveness.

      It would be delightful if, in the Christmas spirit, you acknowledged the truth of what I’m saying, instead of ignoring it as if it’s nonsense. Understand, women write to me when what they’re doing ISN’T working and they’re looking for understanding or feedback as to WHY. That’s what my answer addressed. And again, I didn’t tell Brooke to do anything different; I let her know the consequences and male thoughts behind doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I have no idea what Brooke will do next, but at least she’ll understand that there are a majority of men who will not come back for more with the awkward woman who makes a big deal over a kiss.

      To me, that’s unassailable. To you, it’s another cause to grind your axe that women are right, no matter whether they’re happy.

      So I’m going to make up a rule that a man must propose to women on first dates to prove their seriousness. Don’t go out with any man who doesn’t do this; he’s likely a user who’s after just one thing. I look forward to seeing you defending her because she has the right to do whatever she wants.

      Of course she does. She’s just going to be alone forever.

      1. 29.1.1


        What’s the most devastating thing about this and reading all of your replies is that before you responded to my letter on this blog, I doubted myself and ended up being more physical with a guy faster than I wanted to (we didn’t have sex but we messed around). I did it because I didn’t want  to seem like a prude, I wanted him to like me, and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because let’s be honest, most people don’t think it’s a big deal.  Are we still dating now? no.  Am I alone? yes. Did I do try different to go at his speed because i’m afriad of being alone? yes.  Am I alone? yes.




        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Reality is reality. You can choose whether it’s devastating or not.

          If you can’t (or won’t) kiss or have modest foreplay for 3 dates +, that’s fair. You will be left with the subset of men who are fine with moving at that pace.

          If you can handle moving a little faster, it will open up a larger pool of men, most of whom move faster than you do.

          What you SHOULDN’T do is think that just because you kiss a guy that it means he’s going to stick around. I’m trying to help you operate from a place of comfort and confidence, not fear. If you’re more comfortable going on dates…if you’re more comfortable understanding that good men move fast…if you’re more comfortable in understanding that a kiss is not the same as sex…if you’re more comfortable knowing that hooking up doesn’t equal a relationship…you’ll be more empowered.

          Getting angry at me or men for reporting back to you what you’re already experiencing doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever. So I’m sorry you felt rushed. I’m sorry he didn’t call. But that’s the nature of dating. You can only control what you do, not what anyone else does. The ball is now back in your court. You can keep doing what you’re doing, or find a different way to go about it. Either way, I wish you luck and hope you find happiness instead of being scared, bitter, angry or quitting – because men don’t act the way you want them to.

        2. Brooke

          That’s my point. I do one thing, it doesn’t work, I do another, it still doesn’t work. Nothing I do works Evan. It seems I’ll probably end up alone.

        3. Willowandy

          Brooke – I cannot reply to post below, but I’ll say here:

          I think what D_M and Callie say makes sense (take his hand, say it, suggest something for next time, “warmly”). That would work well on me. As would a slightly longer cheek against cheek or kiss on the cheek goodbye moment.

          I am on the same page as Callie in that I am not PG13, but for me there is unlikely to be enough meaning and connection from fewer than 4, maybe 3 dates for me to want to kiss somebody.

          So obviously I am not a good man according to the expert here, but I’m not going to get hung up on that! 🙂

          If there are women who move faster and most men prefer that, then yes, Evan is right in that we unusual people give ourselves fewer options. The question is whether those options really are options? It depends what we want.

          I find much dating advice for men frustrating as being dominating or at least superficially confident and funny in a particular way appears to be very high on the list. Fine, I can cultivate that, the trouble is just that I find women who like that less attractive!

          All I can say is that it is always tougher to want to do things in a way that is unusual. I do it because I think it may also be more rewarding for me!

    2. 29.2

      @Cat5-did we read the same blog post and comments?! The commenters are telling her to “just do it if she’s uncomfortable”?

      A resounding NO!  Commenters merely expressed (like Evan) that she may unfortunately not be too successful. I didn’t read ONE comment saying she should do anything uncomfortable. In fact, countless commenters empathized with her, remarking about their own experiences, suggesting other avenues of finding guys as friends first, one commenter even worried she had been through a “trauma”.! Please, reconsider before you make such misguided generalizations to “support” your thoughts.

      i stand by what I said-quit over thinking everything! I rarely kissed on first dates. In fact, looking back -most guys who went in for a kiss on the first date-seemed to be “testing” me. And most often, I failed! I never got called back. But my current guy (we’ve been dating for 5 years)-we kissed when he walked me to my car after we met. It was SPONTANEOUS! I was attracted. He was attracted! We didn’t have sex until it felt right/over a month. Those were my boundaries in that specific situation. I didn’t impose some arbitrary no kiss till 3rd or 4th date! I went with my gut feeling. Maybe she should consider going with her gut feeling to tell her what is right for her too but not be so closed off to play by some “rules”.

      1. 29.2.1

        Caroline. I don’t have a “rule” I never said I had a rule of a third date kiss. I kiss when I’m ready. Meeting a complete stranger online I may not be ready on date two.



        1. Caroline

          brooke-im so glad you found your voice to respond so the blog comments aren’t made on assumptions.

          I’m quoting you-” I’ll never be a first date kisser or second date kisser”.

          Definition of rule:  a prescribed guide for conduct or action. A principle or regulation governing conduct , action, procedure, arrangement, etc.

          Stating you will never be a first or second date kisser is therefore a rule.

          That’s why it’s so good that you responded saying what you actually meant was you were open to other alternatives if it felt right. Honestly, I don’t see where you ever stated that in your letter. Always good to clarify. Btw- I think you should be pleased with how many folks on here empathize with you.some came up with ideas to help like getting to know guys on a friend’s basis first. Oh and I’ve never considered the first time you meet someone from online as a date. It’s a meet to me. Something casual and relaxed ( does a guy really think you want to kiss him after a cheap cup of coffee and 20 minutes?).

          Best of luck and be yourself!

        2. Brooke

          Thanks Caroline! Yes, I agree the first meeting online is a meeting (you’re still making sure that person isn’t crazy, so the timeline off ). I’ve kissed guys I’ve met organically on date 2, online just goes slower for me.  I think you’re right,  I just need to do me and hopefully someone will like that and vice versa! Whether that kiss is on the 2nd or 4th date 🙂

  30. 30

    As far as I can tell, Evan’s advice here is perfect. He’s not telling Brooke to steel herself to kiss someone she’s repulsed by or just feels uncomfortable kissing.
    His main point, as I read it, is that if she sets a “3-date kiss rule,” it’s going to prevent a lot of guys (like me) from wanting to date her.
    Most guys want to get at least somewhat physical between dates 1 and 3. Call it biology, socialization, whatever, that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sex, but it has to be something physical.  When a woman rejects our physical approaches, we interpret that as a rejection of any further progress in dating, and will then we will usually just fade. A kiss is the absolute minimum a guy—however modest, shy, gentlemanly or progressive– wants to continue the dating process.  I don’t think that there is any “speech” or “technique” that a woman can use to convince a guy to hold off on a kiss.
    It’s not just about kissing. Essentially, Brooke’s question is, “What technique can I use to effectively bypass or alter the entire expectations of men so that they suits my dating goals, philosophy and comfort level?”
    Evan’s answer, as I read it, is “You can’t,” which, to my mind and experience, is correct.

    This is why Evan’s character “Nick,” above, to me works well as a rough analogy. Nick’s dating strategy is completely logical, perhaps particularly from a progressive perspective. Its only problem is that it concedes nothing to the reality of dating/ most women’s expectations (right or wrong). I can’t go out with some woman on a first date and say, “It’s really great we’re two such progressive, high-earning cosmopolitan individuals. So, of course, it’s natural that we go halves on the bill. Or you can just pick it up yourself, if you’re in the mood.” 99% of women, in my experience, just aren’t going to accept that. Specifically, they may split the bill with you, but they’re going to decline a second date.
    Evan didn’t insist that Brooke change her values or dating technique. He’s only pointing out the obvious: that her current technique won’t work with the vast majority of men.  If she feels that she absolutely cannot change it, no problem. However, in that case, she should expect her current results to continue indefinitely. And if she’s fine with that, again, no problem. That’s sort of Evan 101, actually.
    I only find it a little questionable when people say, “these are my values and this is my comfort level, and I won’t change.” As a matter fact, changing circumstances are always forcing us to reevaluate or change our values, operating methods and comfort levels. Not only in the office, but with friends, family members, and so on. How can we expect otherwise in the dating world?
    Actually, my gut feeling is that Brooke just don’t like these guys, and so doesn’t want to kiss them. Which is totally okay. Enjoy the platonic dates and have good experiences.
    The only real danger is that if she meets a true “Mr. Right” that she really likes but she whips her 3-date kiss rule. No matter how elegantly she expresses that rule,  she’s likely to lose him right away.

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