The difficulties of being a gentleman

This post could also be titled:

“The biggest dating mistake Lee J ever made” or “Why won’t he hold my hand?”


I really like touch. I think it’s the greatest sensation. If you’re a love languages person, you’d say, “Lee J, touch is your primary love language.” And you’d be 100% right. 

Here’s the difficulty: I rarely initiate touch when I want to deepen a relationship. So when I’m most interested in a girl, I’m less likely to make the first move toward holding her hand or putting my arm around her. (There have been a few exceptions to this, but only due to incredible ignorance (I’ll get there soon) or strong inspirational influence.)

This has left several women I’ve dated quite confused early in the relationship and has been the reason I never dated several others. 

The way I mentally see it is 

The more interested I am, the more I need to respect her, and my past experiences (mostly one) taught me I need to be a gentleman and only do what the girl wants me to. 

So that leads to a lot of difficulty, especially early when women often want “romance,” “surprise,” and whatever else. I’ve got not problem with those things after I’m comfortable with her, but I’m scared to repeating past mistakes. 

A girl kissed me kind of out of the blue (looking back I should have seen it coming) when I was 16. I liked it a lot. A lot more than I expected to and a lot more than I liked her. It was a good learning experience. 

A few weeks later, I was asked to a dance by a friend of a girl I went to seminary with. Her parents were extremely conservative and only allowed her to go to the dance because they knew I was LDS and similarly conservative. 

Things went pretty well as far as I thought and (in typical fashion) I could only assume other guys at the dance were in a similar situation I was (catholic girls school dance). So I misread the social cues when all the guys and girls started kissing after the dance. 

Major error. Like in my worst top ten of all time. I realized as things played out I had basically brought shame upon me, my parents, my ancestors, my church, my pets, my cows, and anything else I might have been able to bring shame upon. 

So I resolved never to make that mistake again. 

I haven’t. 

I’ve had some less than natural first kisses (girls don’t always want you to ask if it’s ok, btw), and I’ve had more than my fair share of missed handholding or cuddling opportunities, but I’ve never made that mistake again. 

I doubt any of you will end up being the one this matters most to, but if I haven’t held your hand after a few dates, and you wonder why, this is it. So if that’s something you want, say it with words or actions. We’ll both be thankful you did.