But for me, its not a question of when or where, it's a matter of "who."
Who will those two people sharing that first kiss be? There's a lot to be said of Shane and Oliver's growth and change over the course of the series, but, as Oliver put it, "...it will take some time to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses," among other things, like life histories.
As I mentioned in Oliver's house rule, I think there's a lot to be said for the kind of relationship Shane and Oliver have developed over their year together, they've faced challenges, trials and had the chance to see each other respond in a variety of situations---more than most couples these days!
But every once in a while something happens that reminds me that there are definitely things that this couples has to work on before they make this relationship gets my hand-stamp of approval.
Over The Issues
Both Shane and Oliver have some internal issues to work through before they can get together and stay that way.
Oliver and Shane have complimentary but equally problematic hangups. Shane has a habit of "running when faced with situations [she] cannot control." And Oliver has a fear of abandonment, courtesy of Holly. And until there's an understanding between them that there will be no more running, and Oliver can rest in the confidence that this is true, then he'll remain hesitant to pursue a courtship with Shane.
To be fair, in this most recent case, Shane wasn't running due to uncertainty, but rather her perceived certainty that Oliver had chosen Holly over her. Her propensity to jump to these kinds of conclusions is a forced reaction to the fact she and Oliver rarely communicate explicitly about their relationship unless upset---hold onto this idea for a bit.
But as long as the perception that Shane could leave at any second persists, it's going to place a strain on Shane and Oliver's relationship. They have to be over this before #ShOliver can go anywhere meaningful.
This is perhaps the primary issue holding Shane and Oliver back, much like the fading effectiveness of swagger and charm, so, too, is the fading effectiveness of talking around one's relationship.
As I mentioned before, it's the primary cause of many of Shane and Oliver's misunderstandings up to this point. And while the barrier that made this form of covert communication implicitly necessary is now gone, it's unclear whether or not Shane and Oliver will shed the habit.
Fact of the matter is, they have to overcome this. The tendency to avoid important conversation is a remnant of Oliver's issues in his marriage with Holly. Shane's pursuit of Oliver and her constant push for him to find closure has kept him more honest and more engaged than before. It's obvious in how uncomfortable Oliver becomes when she tries to talk him through things.
There is, however, one area in which Oliver finds no trouble openly expressing himself and his feelings about Shane, and that's when he's upset.
For instance, let's talk about Oliver's tendency to deal low blows when he's upset. Having trouble recalling Oliver low points? Me, too. But here they are for reference:
*All the Yoohoo's to anyone who can identify the back-track I inserted into one of the scenes. Your clue is the title of this section*
I am all for a couple who talks it out and fight with all they have to navigate through their challenges as opposed to around them, but what I absolutely cannot get behind are the jabs Oliver digs into their arguments. He has to find another way to communicate with Shane when he's upset before they get into a courtship. That's just it.
This has to be another remnant of his relationship with Holly. Because Oliver simply stuffed his frustrations down with clams and red wine in the past, he probably never learned to argue well. There's a way to disagree with your spouse or significant other an approach them with love in lieu of tearing them down. Shane has an abundance of grace where Oliver is concerned, which allowed him the space to learn this valuable skill, albeit clumsily and often at her expense.
And have you ever noticed that Oliver seems to get upset with Shane for the one thing which, in the beginning, he identified as an asset: her curiosity? In the pilot Oliver seemed keen on developing that natural inclination in Shane, but has rebuked her for it when it inconvenienced him ever since. He rejects her for the one thing she has openly admitted is her natural tendency, just like he did with Holly. Holly told Oliver she "needed to be free" and he married her anyway, but then found himself devastated when she finally left. Granted, Holly shouldn't have left, but he's become a master of the self-inflicted wound to some degree.
So "who" should Shane and Oliver be when that first kiss finally occurs? They should be whole, confident in their relationship with each other, able to communicate openly and freely about their relationship in a way that demonstrates love, and as unencumbered by the past as possible. They deserve their own distinct and separate future that belongs only to them.
Then, and only then, will they get my stamp of approval for courtship or a kiss.
Getting The Hand-stamper Ready,