Getting kissed off over a date

A month ago, I had a first date. It was drinks during happy hour at the Triangle Lounge in Fremont (his choice). We chatted quite amiably, I thought. Obviously, he didn't. When the waitress offered him a second beer, he declined. He announced he had to go meet a friend, after 57 minutes of conversation.I can take a hint. One to two hours is about right for a first date, and he called an end at the polite minimum. I smiled, shrugged on my jacket and strolled with him to the exit. We continued to chat until, in the shadow of the Lenin statue, I declared I had an errand in another direction. When he said, "See you again sometime," I nodded and smiled.Then he kissed me.I know, the cliché says, "Don't kiss and tell," but, well, I'm going to. For one reason, that peck barely qualified; for another, it left me puzzled. Wouldn't a handshake have sufficed?I wouldn't call myself a prude (but honestly, who does?). I like hugs, kisses and public displays of affection - preferably as part of the affection, not the public.However, it is my strongly held opinion that kisses convey a message: They cross a boundary and imply intimacy. A kiss is a promise. I let this opinion justify my righteous indignation over dates who let a first kiss do double-duty as one of farewell. I'm not amused.SOUR GRAPESIf you sense I carry baggage on this topic - ding-ding-ding, we've got a winner! I'm hauling around a heavy knapsack load of sour grapes that I blame on a certain pair of lips, attached to one particular man.We'll call him Steve. Steve travels for his work. He is brilliantly talented, and when our paths temporarily crossed last year, I transformed into a groupie. It never occurred to me to consider Steve romantically. I assumed he was married or otherwise involved and way out of my league. During his farewell party, I found out otherwise on all counts, and as we said goodbye, Steve initiated a steamy embrace that instantly turned my idol worship into romantic fantasies.His infrequent e-mails that popped up over the following weeks kept my hopes alive. When he stopped writing, so did I - eventually.Am I bitter? You bet! If he'd shaken my hand and gazed soulfully into my eyes I'd be just as tickled and retain sweet memories. Instead, I got that kiss, along with residual feelings of rejection and heartbreak.There is no call to lock lips unless you want future intimacy, I swore. But then I did it myself.GIVING THE WRONG IDEATwo weeks ago, I actually scored a second date, and with all signs appearing promising, we talked (as opposed to chatting.) I learned enough to dispel the promises and face reality. No single revelation killed my attraction, but die it did.I generally mull over romantic decisions, but by the time he dropped me off at home, I pretty well knew there wouldn't be a third date. And yet, I kissed him.Why would I do that?I wanted to give him one more chance. I will admit I'm fallible, and my rational judgment could have been wrong. Until we kissed (in my defense, he met me halfway over the emergency brake) I was not 100-percent convinced. If that kiss had generated fireworks and butterflies, I'd have reassessed. It didn't, so I didn't.So I guess I'll give Mr. 57-Minutes the benefit of the doubt; he may have thought the same. As for Steve, I'm not so willing. In time, perhaps, but for now I've got that knapsack load of sour grapes - ready to swing if those lips come in sight.Sofia lives in North Seattle. She can be reached at[[In-content Ad]]