When you're, say, kissing a new girlfriend for the first time, you know it's okay to smooch her, it's just a matter of waiting for the right moment. But if you are using the smooch as a way to catapult into a relationship, you need to be more careful, as there are few things more awkward than trying to kiss someone who doesn't want to be kissed (even if that person is your girlfriend. Sometimes, I would try to kiss my girlfriend and she would pull away at the last second. I don't know if it was teasing or what, but it made me feel really stupid to be standing there with my mouth partway open like a fish and my eyes closed and then not have another mouth on which to latch...).

Recently, I went out with a girl with whom I used to work. We had always had this kind of mutual attraction that was sort of unspoken but recognized by both of us. The problem we always had was that we were both always "attached" to someone else whenever we had the chance to hook up.

So, the other day we went out for coffee and then drove around for a while, and I thought we would probably end up smooching. But then she started talking about this other guy we used to work with and how she had always had a crush on him, too...and she still did. So I figured my chances of getting smooched were dead.

I took her back to her car, expecting her to get out right away, but she stayed and talked. I turned the car off and we sat in the dark, talking for at least two hours. Every once in a while one of us would make some kind of movement toward the other (e.g., taking off the seatbelt, shifting in the seat, leaning on the dashboard, etc.). As an excuse to hold hands, she started talkin about her rings, which I examined, and then we checked whose hands were bigger.

So now we're holding hands in the dark, smiling into eachother's eyes, leaning towards eachother, and not saying anything. It was only at this point that I realized we really were going to smooch. I waited for her to lean in a little bit, and then we kissed. So I guess the moral is, follow your gut and watch closely for the signs, because I could have saved myself two hours of awkward conversation in the car if I had just smooched her right away. And we both would have gotten home before 1:30.