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A Gentleman’s Guide to the New Year’s Eve Kiss

Advice from Kempt’s resident lady and expert on all things French, Michelle Ong.

If you play it right, the New Year’s Eve kiss (henceforth, the “NYEK”) is the cherry on top of a perfect evening. Like cherries, it shouldn’t be that stressful. Here’s why: both parties are on the same page—no one, man or woman, would rather ring in 2013 blowing on a party horn like some lonely elephant.

And really, those 10 golden seconds leading up to the NYEK are—by far—the easiest window of opportunity you’ll get all year, kissing-wise. The next 31,535,990 won’t even come close.

But as for all things, you need a game plan, so I’ve cooked up a how-to for the three types of girls you might encounter. (Girlfriends and wives aren’t listed—Lord help you if you can’t figure that one out.)

Ahead: a holiday guide to planting a wet one, breath mints not included.

The New Friend The girl: You met tonight, but you like her—she told you her name, you remembered it, and you think you’d like to take her out to dinner in the new year. If you don’t feel this way, skip ahead to “The Hail Mary.”

The plan: Start chatting her up early to gauge if your interest is reciprocated. Then, when the moment approaches, get her somewhere a little bit away from the main action so it feels “magical” (bonus points if it’s a balcony), but not so far away that it becomes blatant that you’re trying to set the stage.

When the countdown begins, put your hand on her shoulder or knee while you chant the numbers together. Who knows, she might even lean in first.

The caveat: If this doesn’t work, you’re going to be the saddest bastard in town.

The Old Friend The girl: Someone who you’ve known for years, and who you came to the party with—along with 10 other members of your posse. For whatever reason, you’ve decided that tonight, everything changes.

The plan: Ask. Otherwise, since you’re her friend, you’re going to scare the hell out of her, and it’s not going to be pretty. But do it, a bit jokingly, about three minutes before midnight, so she has time to think about it, but not long enough for it to get weird either way.

Regardless of whether or not this is your transition to declaring your true love, or just a fun moment you’ll laugh about tomorrow, she’ll probably oblige, since it’s just a quick kiss and we’re not in junior high school anymore. (If you’re reading this and you are still in junior high school, go to your room.)

The caveat: Church tongue, not porno tongue.

The Hail Mary The girl: She is a smoldering stranger... or conveniently standing near you. You definitely don’t know her name, but it’s 11:42pm, you’re suddenly lonely, and liquid courage is a glorious thing.

The plan: You’re going to handle this one with your eyes. Try to herd her to the center of the room, where you’ll be surrounded by kissing people. (This will make kissing you seem less weird.) When that countdown starts, pretend you’re in a perfume commercial and lock eyes like your modeling career depends on it. When everyone starts cheering, just go for it.

The caveat: I’m legally obligated to point out that there is a chance this will go wrong. If it does, laugh, get everyone drinks, offer to pick up any dry cleaning bills... and then go dance like a maniac in another room.

Good luck, tiger.