So there you are, the date is coming to a close, you're in the car or walking her back to her house from Muni. Heart is pounding. Sweat breaks out across your brow even though it's a characteristic 52 degrees in San Francisco. You've planned out the perfect kiss but are still nervous as hell as to whether she's going to be down and reciprocate. The moment comes, you close your eyes and against better judgement lean in...
And your lips meet her cheek.
Wait what?? Cheek?! Her lips were definitely the destination, and that is exactly not where you landed. You pull back, just barely regaining composure before your eyes meet again. She says something awkward about what a nice time she had at your local dive Toronado, and you say something awkwarder about how you should totally do it again sometime.
You drive/walk away and all you can think is "What the !@#$ did I do wrong?!"
Here's the skinny: there are 4 other checkpoints that must be crossed before you receive the green light on checkpoint #5. If each of the checkpoints are not approached and green lighted, there is little to no chance that you are getting through the 5th. Or the 3 subsequent ones either. There are exceptions to these rules such as intoxication levels typically reserved for Irish bartenders, but for most women this "zone rule" holds pretty true.
So what are they already? Indeed. The 4 zones or checkpoints that must be crossed successfully and (more or less) in order for that first kiss to happen are:
3. Knee/lower thigh
4. Low back
And the next three, just for good measure:
6. Hand holding
8. Anything covered by a bikini
Sure, in the way that Anne Hathaway probably feels very different about her Oscar win to Jennifer Lawrence, there are also parallels in their experience. Similarly, every woman is going to have a slightly different order for their zones but there will also be parallels. As with anything in dating & relationships: proceed mindfully.
Start with a brief touch of her shoulder while moving through a door or a brief touch of her forearm when you both share a laugh. Notice what you feel or what you sense from her during this moment and immediately after (aka mindfulness). If things feel comfortable and cozy, that's a green light. If you feel any sense of discomfort, fear, or emotional/physical pull-away, that's a red light. If you are not sure, repeat your approach and really pay attention.