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In today's hookup culture, finding a date can be as easy as swiping right. Social media and dating apps like Tinder have made it increasingly easy to communicate with anyone and build an instant connection out of nothing.
However, for many, and especially for women, attraction often extends past just physical appearance. So what happens if your online connection doesn't translate when you meet in person? How do you know if the attraction will still be there, or if it was ever there at all? Essentially, how can you know if there is any sexual chemistry?
Rule #1: Meet at a relaxed location.
On Friday evening, I met with a guy that I had matched with on Tinder. We'd been talking for nearly two weeks when I'd finally agreed to meet with him. Granted, it was my first time meeting a stranger from online, so I made sure we met somewhere public for drinks and I brought along two friends. Was this too cautious? Maybe. We ended up at a pretty loud bar which made it a little hard to talk to each other. I spent a good part of the night unsure yet if I was attracted to him, which had a lot to do with the fact that I hadn't gotten to know him that much better. Even if it were to just be a one-time hookup, it's hard to tell if there is any sexual chemistry if you don't sit down and talk to the person.
Rule #2: Don't go to a sit-down dinner place.
Speaking of sitting down with the person, you also don't want too much of that either. As the evening progressed and I started to unwind, I began to realize how difficult it was to make conversation with a relative stranger that I was bound to for the rest of the evening. That was one thing I had done right, at least—meeting somewhere like a sit-down dinner place would have been a little awkward and it would have put too much pressure on us. This way, there was some wiggle room to move around, dance and hang out with my friends as well. Being able to dance with my date was also a good indicator of chemistry—if you get along on the dance floor, you'll probably get along in bed. So, you want to meet at a location that has a more chill vibe to be able to have some good conversations, but also somewhere you can move around and have fun with your date.
Rule #3: If you think you see a red flag early on, trust your gut.
In my efforts to unwind, I drank. Maybe a little too much. After three shots of tequila and a jagger bomb, I was ready to hit the dance floor. As for my date, I could tell he was interested because he kept his attention solely on me, but... there really wasn't much flirting going on. There wasn't many subtle touches or little compliments. This wasn't that unusual, as he had told me before that he was quite shy—but I didn't think it was to this point. To me at least, it was becoming clear that the connection between him and I was more platonic than anything. Because I can be a shy person, I need someone who is the opposite, someone who will make me feel comfortable in a group. But unfortunately, I spent most of the night trying to make him feel comfortable around my friends all the while drinking excessively in order to feel comfortable myself. This was a big turnoff for me, and it hindered my attraction towards him. When it comes to dating in general, you need to know yourself to spot what you want or what you don't want in someone else. I probably should have detected his shyness as a red flag right when he told me, which was another mistake of mine.
Rule #4: Don't drink too much.
It sounds pretty obvious, but if you're trapped in a potential bad date, it might not be. Fortunately for me, my date wasn't that bad—but that didn't stop me from drinking too much. If you feel like the spark is not really there at first, just relax. Give it a chance. Don't get too drunk and then spoil any shot that your connection could blossom into something as the night progresses. Drinking can be a fast and easy way to open up and break the ice at the beginning of a date, just be sure not to overdo it. Also, if he's a good guy, he won't want to take you home if you're wasted (and if he does, major red flag). I was lucky enough that my date was also drinking and found my drunk-self endearing, but basically you're just running the risk of embarrassing yourself—and there's nothing sexy about that.
Rule #5: But, if you need to get drunk to feel comfortable around them, it's a bad sign.
It was around 1 am by this point and the both of us had been drinking a lot, but weirdly enough, I still wasn't sure if I felt entirely comfortable around him. There was still some sort of... awkward tension between us. It didn't dawn on me in the moment that this was probably a bad sign. So while we all decided to head on over to another club a couple blocks away, I took it upon myself to try and connect with him more. And it wasn't difficult really, we had lots to talk about and we got along just fine. But the connection still didn't feel like anything more than friendly. So in my last ditch attempt to see if there was any chemistry between us at all, we took one more shot and headed back to the dance floor. Now, I hadn't known this before, but this second club was basically just a sweaty pit of grinding people... but that apparently was the push he needed to finally make a move. I shouldn't have been surprised when he started grinding on me, but it came completely out of nowhere for someone who had hardly laid his hands on me the whole night. Grinding on each other was the first "intimate" moment we'd shared all night, and I realized I was only comfortable with it because I was drunk. Otherwise... that sexual tension just wasn't there.
Rule #6: You can tell a lot from a kiss.
And then he kissed me. And it wasn't bad at all. In fact, for someone who'd been taking shots all night, he was a pretty decent kisser. But... it was just that—a decent kiss. I didn't feel any more attracted to him than I had all night. There wasn't any sexual chemistry between us, it was painfully clear now. And even after the night was over and he kissed me goodnight again later, it still felt the same. There wasn't any spark... in my heart, or anywhere else either. You can share some mind-blowing kisses with some people, and other will just be okay. You can tell so much about how attracted you are to person based only on how their kiss makes you feel. And more importantly, if they're really good kissers, they're likely really good at other things too.
In the world of online dating, it's practically impossible to tell if your connection will still be there when meeting face to face. There are so many people out there that you might share an amazing sexual connection with, and others that you wont. But if you know yourself and you're careful to watch out for the signs, it can be easy to spot this on the first date. I don't think I'll be seeing this guy again, even if it's just to hookup. Chemistry of any kind is just something that you can't force.