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Cute Ways To Get Close


Ditch the yawn-and-stretch move for good with our cool—not clichéd—ways to break the touch barrier. Try them all…

By Maggie Kim

t’s the end of your first date and suddenly, your date’s personal space seems like a no-fly zone. Breaking the physical barrier for the first time can seem daunting, but here are some real people’s creative maneuvers to get touchy-feely—without seeming creepy.

Do a practice touch
Going for a hand-hold or kiss after not having touched a person at all can be anxiety-provoking for both of you. But casually touching the person mid-conversation gets you both used to being close, which makes things easier later. “I’ll often touch people to emphasize a point, show empathy or even to highlight humor, like an affectionate
Help your honey out of a car—or into a coat.
light slap on the arm,” explains John Emch from Seattle, WA. A similar strategy is to make a relatively big move—but then back off. Peter B. from New York, NY, does this by putting his arm around a date and then removing it. “I’ll just throw my arms around a girl’s shoulder like I would a friend’s at the start of a date,” he says. “It lightens the vibe up immediately because it’s just me being friendly.” It also sends the message early on that he’s interested, which lets his date give her own cues that she might otherwise not for fear of getting rejected.

Rely on chivalry
Small, gentlemanly gestures are an unthreatening way to make contact. “I hold my hand to help a date out a taxi,” says Jeremy Kagan from New York, NY. “It's polite, and it allows my date to be the one to actually reach out.” Help your honey out of a car—or into a coat. “My ex-boyfriend used to help me with my coat, then lift my hair out from under the coat for me,” says Ann Lee from Philadelphia, PA. “It was thoughtful and also sensual to have his hands brush against my neck and stroke my hair.” And ladies, there’s no need to wait for the guy to make a move. “If I’m walking with my date, I reach for his arm so we wind up linking arms,” says Megan of Morristown, NJ.

Lean in
When you’re sitting very close together, the space you must cross to touch one another becomes much smaller—and less terrifying. “I took my now-girlfriend to a concert in the park,” says Bryan Dunn from Austin, TX. “It was really crowded, so we had to stand close together... and that kind of closeness often leads to kissing.” You can get the same effect by sitting right next to each other at a tiny café table, too. Even if you’re not in a crowd or sitting right next to each other, try lowering your voice gradually over the course of the date—you’ll find yourselves leaning closer just to talk, with your faces getting closer than they would be otherwise.

Cook something up
During at-home dates, teaming up in the kitchen lends itself to getting cozy. “As a chef, I know for a fact that asking your date to help in the kitchen is a good way to initiate touching,” says Matthew K.
“I take my dates salsa dancing. You have no choice but to touch each other.”
from Portland, ME. “You make contact as your bodies pass by each other in the close quarters or showing your date how to chop properly.”

Sniff it out
An innocent excuse to zoom in on a person’s touch zone sends the message that you’re interested in more, and you don’t have to be brazen to pull it off. “I was at a bar with a guy who seemed too shy to make a move, so I sniffed the air near him and said, ‘Wow, what’s that smell?’” says Stasia King from Los Angeles, CA. “I sniffed all around and then zeroed in on his neck area and exclaimed, ‘Oh, it’s you!’ Then I leaned in for a long, slow, circular inhale just under the earlobe. He got the picture after that.”

Pick a hands-on date activity
For an easy intro, choose an activity that requires closeness anyway. “I take my dates salsa dancing,” says Johnny F. from Houston, TX. “You have no choice but to touch each other and move together in a pretty sexy way. Even if you’re not good dancers, you can laugh about how you’re missing the steps.” If dancing isn’t your style, try something else physically active like rock climbing that requires participants to make contact.

Be direct
What keeps many people from breaking the touch barrier is not knowing whether their dates are interested. Being brave enough to ask makes it obvious that you are looking for contact, and you two will know what to do next. “I’ve really been straightforward,” says Leonard R. from Los Angeles, CA. “I just say, ‘Can I kiss you?’ It’s worked out pretty well!” Tina H. from Miami, FL, puts a fun twist on it. “I’ve said to guys, ‘You want to kiss me, don’t cha?’ They love it because it takes the pressure off them but it’s still light and fun.”


Maggie Kim is a freelance writer and singer-songwriter in New York City. Find her at maggiekim.com.
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