Many columns are written around Valentine’s Day about romance, but if you want to keep the home fires burning, you’d better be romantic more than one day a year. I thus now present my romance quick-start guide for guys.
Conversation: Pickup lines, even the best ones like, “Are you a parking ticket? ’Cause you’ve got fine written all over you” or “I’ll bet you $20 you’re gonna turn me down” or even “Inheriting 80 million bucks doesn’t mean much when you have a weak heart” are counterproductive.
That’s because this guide is about relationships, not one-night stands. The secret to conversation is that all you have to do is start it and give it lil’ boosts once in a while. Most women talk way more than guys do, so let them. Throw in a few well-placed head nods, make eye contact and you are halfway home.
Chick flicks: To show your woman you have a tender side, you’ll have to endure a chick flick from time to time. Anything with Meg Ryan in it will do (except “Courage Under Fire”).
The trick to enduring chick flicks is simple: massive doses of caffeine. I’m talkin’ about a hidden caffeine patch feeding you continuous streams of the good stuff. The one thing you absolutely cannot do is perform the inadvertent head-bob-and-snore/snort maneuver right in the middle of a particularly weepy scene.
A bonus is to cry during the movie. Not blubbering tears, just the stoic one-tear-sliding-majestically-down-your-cheek thing will suffice. To achieve this, simply surreptitiously apply a drop of Visine or whip up real ones by thinking about the only movie guys can cry about, “Brian’s Song.”
Gifts: When I first joined Facebook in 2009, a friend gave me a gift. It wasn’t an actual gift, it was a digital picture of a gift. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. I assumed it meant that us cheapskates have won.
Uh, no. Birthdays and anniversaries had better be marked by you giving her something that can’t disappear with a delete key. Jewelry is always good, but do not trust your own judgment. AC/DC logo earrings – even if they are diamond-encrusted – ain’t gonna cut it.
That severed horse’s head replica pillow from “The Godfather?” No. “The Complete Three Stooges Collection” on Blu-Ray? Are you crazy?
Lingerie is a gift for you, so don’t even go there. As a matter of fact, stay away from buying any clothes. Women’s clothing sizes are what U.S. Department of Defense cryptographers practice on, so do not attempt to figure them out. Get it wrong – too big or too small – and woe is you.
Fresh flowers still work, and while I agree with that thought that just popped in your head that buying artificial ones makes way more sense than ones that will die in a few days, you are just asking for trouble.
Greeting cards: This usually trips guys up because there is an overabundance to choose from. Cutesy funny ones are OK, but beer commercial funny ones are not. A good rule of thumb is to pick the one that you would most hate receiving yourself and she will love it.
Arguments: You and your spouse are going to argue and fight; no way around it. It is uncomfortable and unpleasant, but a fact. The important thing is to keep your eyes on the prize – namely that makeup sex is often extraordinary. So when arguing, put effort into making it seem believable and try to suppress your smile.
Music: So after the fight and you are both feeling amorous, nothing helps set the mood like some music. While I love many types of music including funk, pop, jazz and Cantina-ese (the style the aliens were playing in the “Star Wars” Mos Eisely bar), I am at heart a rocker. Still, I know from trial and mostly error not to try and set the mood with certain songs.
I mean, Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” are about the same thing, but playing the former will get you puzzled stares while the latter may result in a later tax exemption.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.