Can I Kiss You Comes to Campus

Isaak Kifle

Speaker from the on campus event "Can I Kiss You?"

Dating is a strange thing. What would, at first glance, appear to be just another form of interaction is given far more attention than imaginable. Guys that cannot be bothered to put two and two together or remember the year of a key event in history will ultimately spend hours obsessing over and planning a date. They will plan everything from every inch of their own appearance to each and every minute in excruciating detail. Most of all, guys go into the date with intention; they know exactly what they want out of a date. However, there is one question that is almost never considered: should they ask?

That was precisely the theme of “Can I Kiss You?” It was a presentation that speaker and author Mike Domitrz has put on for schools around the country, as well as some military bases. Co-sponsored by the Victimology Club, the Office of Intercultural Relations, the Office of Student Activities, the Office of Residential Life, and the Athletic Department, Mike came to UNH on Monday, October 4 and spoke to the UNH community at 8 p.m. This was one of the most popular events of the fall semester, so it came as little surprise that the room was packed, and the wall separating the lounge from the AB meeting room had to be removed to fit everyone.

Mike uses a clever mix of comedy and drama to make a presentation that will have students paralyzed with laughter one minute and silenced with grief the next. Bringing a couple of people up from the audience, Mike gave a couple of examples of the right and wrong ways to go about on a date. He said, among other things, that you should never just “go for it” or use body language as an excuse not to talk. The ideal relationship, he asserts, is one based on mutual understanding, respect and communication. And for those who know perpetrators or victims of sexual violence, Mike had two respective messages: learn the difference between backing-up and covering-up your friend’s actions, and support is always better than vengeance.

Putting a few minutes aside after the presentation, Mike was able to answer some questions in a personal interview. Mike’s crusade against dating violence began shortly after his sister was raped in the late 80’s. Listening to an inspirational speaker one day convinced Mike that he wanted to take the kind of power that those speakers have and channel it towards preventing tragedies like the one he had to go through. Having been speaking to students and presenting “Can I Kiss You?” for nearly twenty years, Mike is continually motivated by the impact that he has around him. As for his most rewarding moment, Mike credits each and every time he hears from a survivor of sexual abuse about how much his words have helped them.

To anyone who is seeking advice, information, or support regarding sexual assault or dating violence, Mike’s “Date Safe Project” can be reached at And to anyone who missed the presentation, the interview ended with two words that, in essence, summarize the entire philosophy and lesson of “Can I Kiss You?: ask first!