How often have you seen the opportunity for that first smooch just pass you by? Prevent missing it again.

1. Judge her mood
Don't trust the usual body language guff from the paperback you picked up at a secondhand book sale. Hair-twiddling, wrist and neck displays and the like can be highly misleading on their own. Pleasant though these protean gestures are, they are more an invitation to show one's hand rather than a sexual green light. Women in particular make very ambiguous signals. (Don't we all know that, already?) Try to get at least four of these positive signals in rapid succession before going in for a kiss.

2. Read when she's flirting
So what are these positive signals you should be looking for? Women have 52 non-verbal solicitation behaviours to attract men, consciously or subconsciously. Some favourite signals that she's interested are: tilting her head to the side (to show interest), tucking in her chin (to be sexily coy), pushing her hair behind her ears (for vulnerability) and narrowing her eyes, making them smoulder. Think girl-next-door meets bad girl.

3. Make the move
Kissing is an invasion of personal space. Don't just lunge or you'll take her by surprise, and embarrassment and regret will ensue. Quickly testing how welcome you are just inches from her face is the goal, and leaning in to speak into her ear works best. Personal comfort zones vary. A safe distance can only be found by moving closer until the person leans away. Luckily, personal space only really extends forward, so going in ear to ear means you can get close without frightening her.

4. Have a back-up plan
Even if it looks like all systems go, the only sure signals of success occur just a heartbeat before your lips lock. So it's wise to perfect a move that can easily convert to complete innocence if you have to 'abort mission' at the last moment. For example, lean in whispering "Do you know what…?" before pausing for a second. You can still save face, simply by finishing off the sentence. Though hopefully her tongue will be inhibiting your speech at that point.