May 16, 2013

Relationships | Bring On The Romance

There was this one question I remember being asked by a married male friend some time ago. He is one of those guys that has the typical male “split personality.” You know, he likes to be seen as a manly-man in a large group of people, but when is one-on-one reveals a lot more of his personal vulnerability.

His point during our conversation was trying to gain some insight into how he could be more romantic.

I found his talk with me rather amusing, because when he and I are together the sexual innuendo and flirtation level is rather high – even when we are among our coworkers.

I asked him, “Do you flirt with your wife like you do with me?” He stared at me like I had just asked him to remove his liver and hand it to me. Without him even saying a word, I knew he already had a huge challenge in front of him.

But romance isn’t always about epic efforts like Hollywood would like us to believe. Mostly it is about the small acts of saying to your partner “You matter” on a consistent basis. And being seen as being more romantic is not an impossible feat. It just requires you to let go of all the preconceived notions you have around what being “a man” is, and what being a guy who gets laid an awful lot does.

There are a lot of cliché ways to be romantic: flowers, chocolates, poetry. And if that is where you need to go to get things rolling once again, then at least put some creative thought to it. I'd suggest staying away from the penis-shaped chocolate though.

First and foremost, you must be willing to ditch that ridiculous concept men seem to have about “the man card.” And here’s why – because we know there is no such thing and it’s just a bullshit aura of bravado to help you avoid being teased by the equally unlaid male friends hanging around your garage/mancave.

Gasoline and grease might be the kind of cologne that keeps your beer-swilling buddies coming around, but all that banter they bring with them about “the little woman” or “the wife” … or the not-even-getting-laid-on-your-birthday “the ball and chain,” won’t spread her thighs even with the help of an air-compressor. Machismo is better left to professional wrestlers and movie actors in bad action flicks.

If that is a true representation of who you are, then you might need to take a break from overhauling the old Ford before she kick starts the relationship dodge.

Your second challenge in being more romantic involves stepping way outside of your comfort zone and into the darkness of “retail.” It’s not about buying her gifts, chocolates and lingerie … it’s about being smart, unpredictable and spontaneous. Sixty-one per cent of women wish their partner was more spontaneous – and that costs you nothing.

It’s not about holding her purse while she’s in the change room; it’s about making sure she has taken the right things into the change room with her. She not only wants your approval, she also wants that look of lust to return to your eyes – without the rude grunting. If you want her hemline to be a bit less Victorian and a lot more Victoria’s Secret, you’ll need to sink yourself into some retail research that doesn’t involve cheesy animal print lingerie.

And don't forget, you need to give her a reason to dress up ... and mattress dancing isn't it.

I know it sounds daunting, and for some of you, probably grotesque … especially if you can’t let go of the “man card” just yet. Here’s a hint that should be easy wrap your horny little brain around: find the courage to ask that hot little number at work where she got that outfit you like. All you need to say is: “I like your outfit today, where did you get that?” or “My wife has been looking for a new outfit for the office, any advice on where I could take her?” Two things here – a nice professional compliment (given today’s HR policies) will make the woman feel good, plus it helps establish your reputation among the women at work as someone who notices their efforts to look good. Just keep it professional, hot shot.

The third factor should be a no-brainer – remember the good advice that your father gave you. This isn’t the part about how to wire a trailer hitch or bump-start a stalled dirt bike. This is the part about being considerate, using your manners and treating every woman with respect. When you do that, you’ll quickly find your street-cred as a nice guy increased dramatically. Still think nice guys finish last? Nice guys don’t finish the race because they’re at home getting laid while all the “bad boys” have their wallets drained by some “dumb blonde” who hasn’t had to buy herself a drink in 12 years. She may act ditzy, but she knows the economics of the brass rail quite well.

Open doors, be polite, think about someone else first and compliment without coming across as creepy – yes, it takes practice. There isn’t enough genuine kindness in the world today and there is always room for another gentleman, regardless of the radical feminists would have you believe. We’re all a bunch of self-absorbed, self-centred, thoughtless gits when you get right down to it. We’ve forgotten how to relate to each because we spend most of our day staring at the thumbprint-smudged screen of our not-so-smartphone. Be different and show you have a human side.

My fourth tidbit is tied directly to the third in that you need to be doing the little things on a regular, but still slightly unpredictable, basis. Small surprises and gestures of thoughtfulness go a long way in earning you some serious romance cache, which can always be cashed in for a tumble on a Tuesday night.

Here are the expectations in most marriages: anniversary / birthday / Christmas / Valentines. You already know that. Whether you are meeting those expectations or not has already set the bar for your romantic value. Take them for what you will, but these are suggestions that have worked on me and nothing more:
  • Thinking of you because it is Tuesday note
  • Turning on my iPod to find new songs I mentioned I liked already uploaded
  • A funny note on my steering wheel that made me laugh all the way to work
  • A naughty note tucked inside my panties I had set out to wear the following day
  • An incredibly romantic handwritten card on my pillow … just because
  • Sticky notes on the bathroom mirror to tell me what he sees when he looks at me is sexy
  • My favourite treat tucked inside my lunch bag
  • A regular habit of flirting with me via texts and sexts 
  • Taking me shopping to buy me clothes he wants to see me in 
  • Kissing the back of my hand – damn right it’s cliché, but I will tell you this, he did on our first date and I have never forgotten. But not the old 16th Century bowing before a lady kind of kissing; just a simple unexpected kiss – and it was before we had locked lips for the first time.
You’ll notice more than half of these cost virtually nothing other than the time and thought my husband put into them. Romance comes from the imagination, not from the wallet. Any woman that tells you otherwise is best avoided, because she’s only digging for gold.

What does not qualify as romantic gestures in a traditional marriage are things such as:
  • Taking out the garbage without being asked
  • Putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher
  • Remembering to put the toilet seat down
  • Grabbing my ass in public and suggesting it qualified as PDA
  • Saying “Happy Birthday / Anniversary / Mother’s Day / Valentine’s Day” etc. on Facebook instead of getting me an actual, hand-signed card
  • Giving me pet names that are associated with sports, cars or sex acts

My last piece of advice seems to me to be the most simple, but as I have learned from my male coworkers, is actually the hardest task: flirt with your wife.

You see, to me, it makes sense that you would want to have the kind of relationship with your partner where the sexual innuendo and flirtation can actually lead directly to the bedroom. But so many men struggle with maintaining this once they settle into a long-term commitment and I don’t know why. You have no problem flirting with the waitress at the strip club, but the woman you can actually land between the sheets causes your anxiety level to peak at Himalayan heights.

Your wife wants to feel like she isn’t just someone who shares your house and last name, she wants to feel like a woman that still is flirt-worthy after doing your laundry, feeding your offspring and living up to all the other expectations that society wants to put on a modern woman. She wants to be desired in an honest and expectation-free way. She knows what flirting is – she probably does it shamelessly at work because the men there actually find her to be fun and witty.

Just don’t use the innuendo to get her into bed, learn to use it to get her in the mindset that going to bed is actually her idea.

Do you have to be original all the time? Hell no … You only need to prove that you are thinking about us and showing a level of decency and kindness. And remember, romance isn't a one-time thing. Romance is a consistent state of mind.

Learning to be more romantic isn’t difficult. The challenging part is learning how to allow those qualities within you come out and allow yourself to let go of those preconceived notions of what it means to be “a man.” (Cue the Tim Allen trademark grunting.)
Andee     xoxo

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