Ladies, this article contains useless, boring information about sports and body hair, not top secret information from the Man Handbook…
are they gone? OK guys, let’s get down to business.
In this Man’s Guide to Romance series, we are discussing the concept of romance as it relates to us men, and what we need to understand about what women find romantic, versus what some of us think they find romantic. Not surprisingly, these can be vastly different things. This is no easy educational process, because most women find different things romantic. And, to make things more complex, the timing or mood might change their perception of romance. Are you confused yet? If not, then you aren’t paying attention.
Past Lessons: Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3
You made it. Congratulations.
In previous lessons we have learned about cautiously giving thoughtful gifts to the women in our lives, treating them with respect and making them laugh. We also covered some ways to ensure we are paying attention to the details and communicating our appreciation of those details.
We have our playbook, and now it’s time to put our offense to the test. Get in the game, and run some plays. You might get bruised a little, but romance, like football, is a game of inches. Progress is progress, as long as it’s forward.
Part One – The Dinner in
In an earlier article we discussed the romantic notion of making a meal for your spouse or girlfriend. This is a fantastic and inexpensive way to celebrate your romantic connection. Make sure you have it scheduled and that you will not be interrupted. Also ensure that your loved one knows you will be doing all the work that night. The rules of chivalry also apply, even at home. Pull out her chair and push it in when she sits down. Pull it out more when she sits and you might have a few laughs, but your efforts for romance will be quickly snuffed out. Comedy is all about timing though, just use your best judgment.
Some things to consider here in preparing a romantic meal are: choice of food, music, environment and dessert.
Choice of food:
Pasta and a salad are good choices for a romantic dinner. A nice pasta dish, with some grilled chicken strips, vegetables and bread will be just fine. Try to avoid broccoli or any other vegetable that produces gas. Fried chicken and corn on the cob are not good choices, and neither are hot wings. There is nothing wrong with those choices ordinarily, but it’s hard to move in for the after dinner kiss when you have corn in your teeth, or wing sauce in your moustache. Just sayin’.
A little background music is a great way to set the mood. I suggest John Coltrane or George Winston for example. Led Zeppelin is on the no-no list, as is Kid Rock and that guy with the painted face who calls himself Manson or something. Again, I too have very eclectic taste in music, but everything has its place and time. For example, my friend Darren likes to listen to heavy metal while doing laundry… perfect blend. But for a romantic dinner, you want something quiet and peaceful that will add to the mood, not distract from it.
Make sure you will have the house to yourselves and that it will be free from people coming and going. Turn the ringer down on the phone and find someone to watch the kids. If you can’t find someone to watch the kids, drop them off at the movies or make them wait outside in the truck for a few hours (this is a joke Mom, please don’t call me). Seriously though, if you are not able to find someone to watch the kids, or they are too young to leave with someone, then include them in the fun and make it more family oriented. It will still be romantic to see you take care of dinner and care for your wife. Plus it’s good for the kids to see an example of this behavior.
This piece is critical. So critical that you could actually skip the entire meal and just have dessert. If you aren’t sure of your culinary abilities here, then buy something decadent for dessert from a local bakery. Cheesecake is usually a good choice, unless your wife is allergic, then get cheesecake and an EpiPen (look that one up if you have to). Everyone loves dessert, and it provides a great time to talk and laugh while you enjoy it with the love of your life.
Now that we have covered the dinner in, let’s move on to something a bit more complex. The Big Dinner Out. Are you up for it? Good, let’s go shopping.
Part Two – The Big Dinner Out
Where the dinner in was inexpensive and relatively easy, the Big Dinner Out is much more elaborate and requires some serious planning and strategy. The general concept here is that you are going to plan a dinner out with a show (a live show if possible, even a comedy club), and you will plan everything, down to the clothes she will wear, which will be new clothes that you pick out on our shopping trip. Stop sweating, it’s going to be OK.
Start this part of the exam by deciding where to go to eat and what show to see. Make the appropriate reservations (if required) and set the date with your wife. Make sure she does not have any plans that might conflict with getting ready or being out late. The places you choose should drive the shopping component.
making sure you have your wallet list in hand, go to a store that you know your wife likes. You should have some idea of what colors and styles she likes, but you will be able to enlist the assistance of a salesperson in your quest that will help you with matching and styles. Typically, I have found that the salespeople are more than happy to help you, especially once they understand the purpose of your quest. You will need to find the following:
1. An outfit – A dress, or pants and top that match. Pay attention to what she likes a few weeks before going shopping. This part of the exam takes a lot of preparation.
2. Shoes – Nice shoes that will also be comfortable. Spike heels are not comfortable, and the last thing you want is to be holding your wife up like the town drunk while you are walking to the dining establishment. If she likes heels, then get them, but within reason. Make sure you know the size of shoe to buy, if you aren’t confident, then just make sure she already has a pair of shoes at home that will work.
3. Accessories – For those who don’t know, this is the stuff they wear with the outfit. A necklace, maybe a bracelet, earrings, even a handbag if you are really brave (I know, I know, I wouldn’t either). Let’s just go with the jewelry for now.
Now that you have the outfit, you’re ready. But wait until closer to the date to unveil your gifts. I would suggest revealing the surprise of the new outfit you chose at least the day before in case anything doesn’t fit quite right, or if you got the wrong driver on her new Nascar shirt. Nothing puts out a fire faster than giving an Earnhardt Jr. fan a shirt with Jeff Burton on it.
If you really aren’t comfortable with shopping for clothes for your wife, that’s OK. You can just do the dinner out. But, if you are willing to take the shot, it will be very impressive.
For a nice touch, get some fresh flowers for her on the day of your Big Dinner Out. This will be a nice reminder of your date for a few days after. Another helpful hint, order dessert no matter what she says. If she says she does not want dessert, order it anyway and take home what you don’t finish.
Now that wasn’t so hard. And, if you take any, or all, of this advice, you will find the results to be quite pleasing. You can ride the wave of romantic success right into a new big screen TV, a motorcycle or maybe even one of those glittery bass boats. OK, all joking aside, remember the person who is most important in your life and let her know through your words and actions. It doesn’t take much effort and the reward is endless.
You passed the test.