It’s ten pm, you’re standing in the lobby of a movie theatre, and you’ve just been on a first date with some guy you only sort of like. You get a text from your dad; he’s waiting for you outside. This is it, you think, the goodbye. Your feet shift uncomfortably while he chats with some friend you don’t know and as you silently pray he doesn’t try to introduce you, you step down on something that feels unnervingly like pre chewed bubble gum in the new shoes you wore specifically for this occasion. People mill around the room, waiting for the bathroom, finishing their popcorn, quietly judging you, whatever people do after a movie, and you try to plan your escape route. There are way too many people around for a kiss. PDA? No, thank you. But you don’t wanna do a pussy-ass hug either so what other options are there?
Are handshakes acceptable in this situation? Probably not. It was a date, not a million dollar business deal. Just as you consider sticking a thank you note on his back and slinking away unnoticed, he turns towards you, intrusive friend nowhere to be found. He stares at you expectantly, “So do you have a ride home?” He’s talking. Reply, you idiot is all that runs through your mind. You panic and go in for the chummy arm pat, “Yea my dad’s just outside. See ya later!” That seemed acceptable in your mind, so you turn to go, but then you look at him and he’s encroaching on your physical space. You can smell the hug coming on, but there’s no time to escape, his arms are inches from your torso. You give in and open your space to avoid seeming like a hugaphobic freak, but as soon as contact is made, you wish you hadn’t. It’s awkward. So awkward. One of your arms is being crushed beneath a sweaty armpit and you frantically try to recall whether or not you remembered to refresh your deodorant at home, while also focusing on applying the perfect amount of pressure for optimal hug comfort. Not vise-grip hard, but not dead fish limp. It’s a delicate procedure and you’re fairly sure you’re too far into dead fish territory but it’s too late to correct yourself, changing pressure mid hug could be misinterpreted. You don’t want him thinking he should lengthen the ordeal. Definitely not.
After what feels like minutes, but was probably only half a second, you finally pull apart, breathing out a quick goodbye and rushing out the doors into your dad’s waiting car as fast as possible without actually sprinting. You don’t want him to think you’ve got a case of the runs, and need to get home to the toilet.
That situation sound familiar? We’ve all been there. It’s not the fifties anymore; the boy isn’t going to drive you home and walk you to your door where you can be alone to kiss to your heart’s content, oblivious to your parents peeking through the curtains. This is the twenty first century. There are buses, and trains, and over-protective parents that don’t want you driving home in the car with “some hooligan.” Chances are, your post-first date farewells are going to have to be carried out in a busy public place, where physical contact is questionable.
Movie theatres aren’t the only minefields to be navigated. Dinner dates can be just as disastrous. You and your date are both finished with your meals, the whole ‘who’s gonna pay’ ordeal is over, and now you’re stuck in the middle of yet another awkward situation. Are you going to walk out of the restaurant together? Or say your goodbyes right there at the table? Who knows! Certainly not you. Suddenly, your date is leaning towards you over the table and more questions arise; is he looking for a kiss? Or just a hug? When he closes his eyes, you realize a kiss is what he’s after so you wet your chapped lips and go in for it, but you realize at the last second that there’s a table in the way, and in the process of avoiding the fatal tipping of both your glasses, you miss his lips entirely. He chuckles awkwardly and tries again. Successfully this time, but if we’re being honest, it’s not quite the same on the second go. By the end of it, you’re both feeling weird, and at least one of you is going to have spaghetti sauce on your good clothes.
So here’s what I suggest. Let’s forget hugging, forget kisses! Let’s bring the chummy arm pat into social normalcy. Is it really such a bad idea to avoid the awkwardness of it all and just be friendly with one another? Teenagers today seem to think that a valid date has to involve physical intimacy. Phooey I say! Public areas are no place to figure out other people’s boundaries. Is he going to be a bear hugger or a one-armed from the side kinda guy? A lip biting rascal or a quiet, slow mover? Nobody knows! And do you really want to test the waters somewhere where strangers could witness your imminent embarrassment? No. No you do not.
A chummy arm pat is the perfect solution. Everyone’s comfortable with a little arm on hand action, and there’s virtually no way to mess it up. Just a light smack, and a breezy goodbye, and you’re home free. Start the revolution today. After your next date, pat that sucker on the arm like you’re just two old chums. And if he goes in for the pussy-ass hug, turn away and curl in on yourself like the hermit you are.
Teaguen is a cheesecake enthusiast, an up-and-coming crazy cat lady, and a self titled chicken strip connoisseur. She spends her time writing cynical inner monologues, suffering through high school, and avoiding unwanted bodily contact. She finds it impossible to keep her ramblings down to 140 characters, but you can find her on Facebook at Teaguen Craig.
Featured Image via Shutterstock.