Should a Guy Ask if He Can Kiss You?

Or is that always a bad move? If he doesn't have the confidence to just dive in, does it turn you off? Or does it depend on who's trying to give you a tonsil exam with his tongue? If a guy tries to feel me out before he feels me up, I usually get snapped out of the make-out dream ... unless ...

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So, yesterday, I gave you the first half of the Barnaby story--from the mutual-friend-set-up, to the laudable personal transformation, to the ridiculously fun karaoke night out when he checked my fishnets for quality. (I think they passed.)

After that, we stayed in touch--quite frequent touch--the rest of the week; and spent full days, it seemed, emailing back and forth. He invited me out to a Wednesday night get-together, but I couldn't make it, so I invited him to come with me and my cronies to a Saturday night book event: Stephen Elliot, editor of The Rumpus, was going to read from his new memoir, The Adderall Diaries. Barnaby came along ... and at one point, a friend of mine took me aside and said, "Maura! Barnaby is adorable! And he has a huge crush on you!"

"Really?" I said. "No, I'm sure he doesn't. He just thinks I'm ... nice."

"Could you please shut up now?" she said. "Because you guys clearly need to have a serious, long-term, meaningful relationship."

She didn't seem to be joking. He DID seem to be especially cute that night, in a red-and-navy plaid shirt.

When I asked Barnaby if he'd like to go to a second party that my friends were getting ready to troop off to, he said, "Why don't you let me take you out to dinner instead?"

So we went to one of my favorite places--MOTO: a groovy restaurant in East Williamsburg, under the elevated part of the JMZ that runs along Broadway, where they always have the quirkiest musicians playing. That night, the fine establishment--so named because its bar taps are made out of retro-fitted motorcycle parts--sdid not disappoint: A jug band, complete with a washtub-bass player, was warbling away in the corner. (Perhaps it's worth noting that I would not have been able to tell you that the proper term for the quartet was "jug band" or that it was a "washtub bass" had Barnaby not informed me. This is one of the many reasons he's so cool: He knows EVERYTHING. Also, have I mentioned he's insanely adorable?)

Soon after we sat down, Barnaby said, "I'm a little drunk, and I'm going to try to kiss you. So if you don't want me to, you should probably stop me now."

I told him I had no plans to do so ... and we pressed our lips together a few times--with gusto--and it was really nice.

(When I told my dear friend Ruby Finch the story, she said: "A guy should never ask if he can kiss you--he should just do it!" And, of course, she has a point; I'm sure I've used similar words before to complain about a guy who tried to feel me out before he felt me up. But when you think someone is pretty sweet and ridiculously handsome and maybe, understandably, a little insecure--having been overweight his whole life--you cut the person some slack. You maybe even think it's quite endearing.)

After the kissing was over, he sat back in his chair and said, "You know, I'm not sure if I want to date you, or for you to just be my friend, but I do think you're a pretty wonderful lady."

Hmm. Ohhh-kay. But fair enough. "Are you saying you're not sure what you want because you can tell I'm not sure what I want?" I asked him.

He considered that. "No. I will say that if this was just going to be casual, I wouldn't have told you so much about myself. The one thing I am certain of is that I don't want to lose you as my confidante."

I was tempted to say that confidante and girlfriend were not mutually exclusive terms, but since I wasn't sure how I was feeling, I held back.

Despite how incredibly awkward I'm sure this all sounds, in actuality, it was a relief to get things out on the table.

After we finished our meal, we kissed again--in the way of the French, that time. It was downright HOT. Then I biked off.

* * *

The next afternoon, he came over, and we did a little more necking and a little more awkwardly-discussing-what-was-going-on. My conclusion was: "Let's just take things slow and have fun. Because kissing is nice, isn't it?" He agreed that it was.

Anyway, that is more or less where we left it, and more or less where we're at right now: in a state of pleasant ambiguity.

My prediction is that we will end up friends forever, and boyfriend-girlfriend never.

But lovelies, if you'd like to place your bets, please do.


* * *

Edwinna: you are allowed to say "i told you so" whenever you want, and to leave repeat comments daily, if you so desire.

Yumm: Ugh! Nothing worse than feeling completed insulted by the set-up. I've been there, sister.

Celia: What happened to the formerly-not-so-hot hottie?

Paris, Ellen, Jenny: I'm glad you guys are so in favor of Senor Jepperboom. I'm going to tell him he has fans in the blogsophere.

I love to hear from you guys.