Clue Chick talks body language:

I usually start with a handshake, unless we've been talking online a lot, in which case, I may start with a hug. Neither of these should be taken as particularly indicative of anything, though; pay more attention to how I say goodbye at the end of the meeting.

A hug is a pretty good indicator that someone likes you, however it's not definitive. Like Clue Chick says, better to go on what the other person does at the end of the date.

I met Teresa about a month after we started e-mailing and talking to each other on the phone (via MySpace). She flew up to Portland from the Bay Area and I met her at the airport. I walked right up to her, asked, "Are you Teresa?" and, without saying a word, she stood up, put her arms around me, gave me a really long super sexual hug, complete with rubbing the back of my head, and said, "It's so good to meet you." I was pretty taken aback by this. I've done lots of sweet hugging in my life, but shit, it was like we fucked in the middle of PDX. Also, we were definitely interested in each other, but weren't sure what was going to happen once/if we met. She was a lot less certain about it than I was and kept vacillating about how she felt and what she wanted, saying, "There's a good chance we could meet and totally not be attracted to each other." Which, of course, is very true and is a huge possibility when it comes to meeting people via the internets. She would say she just wanted to be friends one moment and then say she liked me the next, "But I don't know, we have to meet first." After a few weeks of this I just decided not to expect anything and I definitely wasn't expecting her to be so affectionate so suddenly once we were physically together. But she was. Don't get me wrong, it was really nice, but it just threw me. Never, ever go into anything with expectations.

But yeah, during that hug, I thought, Wow, we're so going to have sex. And we did. But that's another entry. (Actually, it's its own separate blog.)

If you touch me and I smile or blush, you're good.

If you touch me and I give you a pinched smile, or don't seem to respond at all, stop touching me, because I don't like it.

If you touch me and I move away, pay your bill and leave, because I'm about to.

If I touch you on the shoulder or arm, I like you and I'm trying to send you that signal.

If I touch you on the hand or knee, I'm ready to take you home.

My rule is never to touch someone first. I don't think I've ever just touched someone. That's bizarre to me. I always let the woman make this move.

Touching is weird, though, and you have to take the person into consideration. Are they just an affectionate person in general? If so, don't get your hopes up. I've hung out with a lot of women who will touch my hand or shoulder or something, but I see them touching other people in this way as well, so that's a pretty good sign that there's no physical attraction there. It's best to observe how someone is with others and to listen to what they say. If you're on a date or something and the other person has made it known that they're not typically an affectionate person, or reserve their affection for "special" people, but are affectionate with you, that's a good sign they're interested.

If you tell a really lame joke and I laugh, it's probably a good sign, but I laugh easily, so maybe not. If you tell a good joke and I don't laugh, though, it's a bad sign.

I get, "You're really funny" a lot, but it's like that scene in Igby Goes Down where Sookie keeps telling Igby "You're funny," but never actually laughs. I have a really sarcastic and random sense of humor and not everyone gets it (or finds it funny). It's a generalization, but I tend to get along with people from the east coast easily because of this. Sarcasm doesn't fly so much in the pacific northwest or even in northern California. This was one of the reasons Rachel and I got along so well: she's a sarcastic bastard.

If my cell phone rings and I ignore it, I'm not expecting an important call and I think it's rude to take phone calls when i'm on a date. If I take the call without explaining that it's unavoidable, I'm bored and I'm looking forward to ending our date. If I make a call, it's not going anywhere.

This can be slightly tricky. I was on a date with this woman named Stephanie and she answered her cell once during the date. But it was from a friend we were going to be meeting later at a club, so she kind of had to take it, you know? It just depends on who it was and the circumstance. If someone answers their cell and yaps it up for several minutes, yeah, the date is an official failure.

But perhaps Stephanie was trying to give me a sign she wasn't interested. See, after we eat she invites me back to her place. Which you'd think would mean something, right? So we go to her apartment and she offers to fix me a drink. Again, you think there's some kind of subtext there. She shows me her apartment, shows me all her books, then she says, "Want to watch a movie?" So I say sure. We start to watch The Yes Men and we get to talking about previous relationships. She tells me she used to be married to a guy from Puerto Rico or some shit and says, "Yeah, I kind of have a thing for dark guys." Right, and I'm sitting on her couch and she's sitting next to me, her body is kind of pointed toward me, she's got one knee pulled up to her chest, the other foot is on the table, so her legs are kind of spread and I'm just thinking, Uh huh. I joke: "So that's why you wanted to go on a date with me." And she pauses for a minute and says, very seriously, "Oh, no. We're not going to have sex or anything. I'm not attracted to you. I mean, nothing personal, I'm just—" And I'm just like, Uhhh, okay? And then she goes: "Oh, fuck. I'm sorry. That was really fucking bitchy. I'm sorry. No. I—fuck, I know I've, like—okay, I asked you to come back here and I've done all these things that probably totally make it seem like I want to have sex—" and then she abruptly stops. I'm just sitting there, thinking: ? And she says, "It's really weird now, huh?" and I go, "Little bit." And she keeps apologizing and after a few really awkwardly silent moments I say, "Hey, you know what? I think I'm gonna go."
"No. Don't go. I'm sorry."
"No, it's cool. Really. It's just—you know, yeah, it's a little weird."
"No, I'm sorry. Come to the Fez, you said you'd come dance with me."
"Yeah—I don't know. I think—"
"I don't know." I chuckle nervously. "Uh, there was just some, like, real miscommunication going on."
"Yeah. I'm sorry."
"Yeah. Cause, wow," I laugh, trying to relieve the tension. "So, yeah, I think I'm going to go now."
She sighs. "Okay. I'm sorry."
"No, it's cool. Have fun at the Fez."
"Okay. You should still come. Really."
I just kind of shrug. At this point I'm really close to the door and I just really, really want to leave. The whole thing is pretty embarrassing. I make my unceremonious exit into the cold, rainy night and am decidedly flummoxed.

The thing is, I honestly did not like Stephanie in that way, yet the whole thing was pretty humiliating. I mean, I had been hanging out with indie/DIY/crust punk zinester kids and really just wanted someone to go to a club and dance to some M.I.A. with. And even if I brushed the whole misunderstanding off and went with her to meet her friends at the Fez, I know that at some point she'd tell her friends about The Huge Misunderstanding and I don't want to be That Guy Who Was Set Straight. Nobody wants to be That Guy. That Guy is almost as bad as The Old Guy at the Club. Plus, Stephanie is like 5 years older than I am and I would've been That Young Guy Who Got Told. Fuck. Forget it. So many other people to chillax with.

When we're saying goodbye, if I hug you, you'll definitely get another date. If I shake your hand, I have to think about it, but probably not. If I avoid shaking your hand by gathering up my stuff, we're not going to see each other again.

Again, it's hard to tell. I've been on lots of dates, faux-dates, "hang outs," etc. where I was given a hug. I've hung out with girls who've touched my hand, my shoulder, my face, my leg, etc. and it never resulted in anything substantial. Perhaps I missed dozens of opportunities and perhaps I was at the receiving end of really mixed signals. I'm no one to offer advice and this entry is only a smattering of suggestions by illustration of personal experience. One thing I've learned is to let the woman take the lead. If presented with ambiguities, I'll error on the side of caution. Don't assume much, if anything. I used to think a whole mess of shit before I went on my dating spree last year, but those convictions were turned on their heads. Maybe I was just too much of a dolt to pick on the physical cues. Who is ever certain about these things?