Putting the Man back in Romance

ROMANCE - When was the last time time you bought your girlfriend or wife flowers? Or chocolates? Or jewelry?

Was it romantic? Or did it feel more like you're buying their affection?

Myself and many others would argue that "gifting" is the lowest form of romance. Unless you put actual thought into the gift, like a book or item that is truly MEANINGFUL, well then you're really just paying for the stereotypical gifts that men are expected to give women.

Now I am not suggesting you go out and buy Wilma a new bowling ball (like Fred Flintstone did in one episode, which was later pastiched by The Simpsons with a very similar plot). Or a set of golf clubs. Or some other supposedly masculine gift which could either backfire badly or be misconstrued as something else.

During the 1950s and 1960s washing machines, dryers and dishwashers were big gift items for husbands to give their wives. Part of it was the times, the explosion in family earnings and incomes so that they could afford such items (a TV set, a new '57 Chevy, a bomb shelter, etc) and another part of it may have been the need for greater efficiency... to say nothing of keeping up with the Jones family down the street.

Some people will argue both for and against the "grand gestures" method of romance. Hiring a string quartet and playing outside their apartment window, that sort of thing. Making a fool out of yourself may work for some women, but others believe its an act of desperation and... creepy. Thus grand gestures are considered risky and usually the result of a really big mistake.

According to romance surveys most men and women remember the little things. Holding hands, cuddling on the subway, falling asleep together on the couch while watching a movie, kissing in the rain, huddling under umbrellas... these things are more spontaneous and just happen naturally. The trick however is to recognize the opportunities when they arise to be romantic instead of just ignoring them... and at the same time remembering to not RUIN THE MOMENT.

Now what does this have to do with being manly...?


#1. Learn how to pull out a chair for a woman.

#2. Open doors for women, the elderly and children. Pretty much everyone.

#3. Learn how to help a woman into her coat.

#4. Practice good hygiene.

#5. Avoid swearing so much.

#6. Dress neatly, not slovenly. You can still wear your ripped jeans and your t-shirt that shows off your pecs, but try to wash them regularly. Leave the beer-hat at home. Avoid slouching or scratching your crotch.

#7. Be courteous and helpful, both to her and others. ie. Offer your seat to the pregnant woman on the subway or an elderly person.

#8. Avoid ogling other women. Its considered rude, both to the oglee and the woman you're with.

#9. Use restraint. If you must fart or belch try to do so discreetly and/or say excuse me. Avoid over drinking, smoking, shouting at people or behaving like a buffoon.

#10. Don't act like a braggart. Converse. Ask her opinion on items of interest. Try to avoid the history lesson, political lesson, etc. unless its something they actually show an interest in. DO NOT PREACH RELIGION. Avoid controversial topics until you know them better.

#11. Behave a bit like a bodyguard, but without being obvious about it. Remember the world is a more dangerous place for women and they're not all confident about walking home at night. Don't be pushy about it however.

#12. Stand up for her and support her rights. No need to get into fights, just voice your opinion that she must maintain her rights.

#13. Show your affection. Hand holding, hugs, kisses on cheeks, nose, forehead, hands, etc.

#14. Avoid talking down to her, treating her like an idiot. You may be older than her or have more education, but that is no excuse for behaving like a prick.

#15. Walk on the outside of the sidewalk (so she doesn't get splashed by cars/etc).

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