The Art of Romance, Part Two
In Part One, I uncovered some of the things that go into being romantic. These include utilizing romantic settings, being attentive to details and using emotionally charged words. Continuing on my quest for enlightenment, I have found yet more ingredients.
It’s easy as a man to read a girl’s description of what romance means, and then brush it off as sickening. But take a moment and look at the concepts behind the words and try to determine why these images and traits trigger a sense of romance. I found this description of romance written by Christine Coppa online. Try not to puke:
What is romance?
Romance is a fancy steak dinner for two in a room lit purely by candles. It’s flowers on a random day and falling asleep in your lover’s T-shirt that smells like his cologne. It’s a date to a famous children’s bookstore and a shared slice of cherry pie—a stroll through a crowded museum that doesn’t feel crowded at all. It’s making toast for someone in the morning and drawing a heart in the butter, then watching it soak into the bread like it was never there at all, but you know it was. It’s handing him a towel for the shower and sopping up the water on the floor, not nagging him about it. It’s kissing in the rain, in the snow, in the sunshine, on a street corner after you just met. It’s wine and mouths that taste like wine. It’s being mistaken as a couple when you’re not. A plane ticket to nowhere special, just somewhere together. Romance On A Budget.
It’s waking up next to someone and smelling their skin and liking that smell—now familiar—even if it’s only been a few days. It’s a warm body pressed against yours that fits like a puzzle piece. It’s talking about nothing for an hour and feeling like you’ve solved a murder mystery together. It’s a toothbrush in a cup next to yours. It’s his tie flung over your desk chair. It’s holding on to him on the subway when the car jerks. It’s knowing he is always there for these simple moments. He will not let you fall. You really believe this.
As a man, I’m sure more than a couple lines in this made you cringe. The flip side of this idealism is perseverance through the hard times. In short, being realistic. Coppa redeems herself when she concludes:
But romance is also dealing with situations as they come along. It’s not walking away. It’s not breaking up over the phone: Just throw my stuff out; I’m not coming to get it. Romance is a second chance: Meet me for dinner. C’mon, let’s talk this out.
It’s a hand in yours; it’s a shoulder for your heavy head. It’s showing up when you say you will, not shutting your phone off, changing your number, your address. It’s tender understanding, fragile but strong. It’s honest. It’s patient and sweet and it’s picking the other person up when they can’t stay above water because they’re scared, so scared they’re breathless. Romance is giving of yourself, working through whatever comes up.
Men tend to be practical, so this aspect of romance is something they can wrap their heads around. You as the man are expected to bring stability, solutions and reassurance. Being able to project to a woman that you can balance both this pragmatic realism as well as the sappy mushy idealism … that’s where the art lies.
Bonnie and Clyde: Us Against the World
You and she form a union, and no matter what the world may throw at you, that bond is unbreakable. Along these lines is the concept of conspiracy: scheming up a plan where you two are doing some playful misbehavior as a pair. This may come in the form of future projection (telling her how you two will rob a bank and then flee the country and live in the Bahamas drinking umbrella drinks).
People-watching and then laughing at the expense of those around you works through this technique. I was sitting in a restaurant with chicky and there was a little girl eating dinner with her family. I told my girl, “That’s the ugliest boy I’ve seen. I can’t even eat my dinner anymore. DAMN he’s ugly.” We snickered about this for an hour. Our little inside joke, solidifying our bond.
Similar to Bonnie and Clyde is the bubble. It is the sense that when you are with her, everything else in the world melts away. There is nothing more important than you and her in that moment. One way to build this feeling is to whisper into her ear randomly, such as a compliment. Eye contact is also powerful in creating this connection.
The Element of Surprise
This one is huge. I hear it anytime I ask women about romance, and I see it in every description. Give her gifts unexpectedly. But do it infrequently. If done too often or predictably, you will lose the element of surprise or she’ll become bored. Gifts don’t need to be expensive, just thoughtful. Likewise, random texts showing you’re thinking about her will work.
Drop by her work to take her to lunch unexpectedly, or for any other purpose, but not just to say hi. She wants you to have a life. If you’re stopping by just because you’re bored, that’s unromantic.
One of the most effective ways to be romantic is to leave a hidden note for her somewhere to find when you’re not around. The note doesn’t need to be more than a sentence, such as telling her your feelings for her or your appreciation that she’s in your life. Women have been known to burst into tears when discovering this note.
Pulling a girl in for a kiss when she doesn’t expect it, or sneaking up behind her to grab her butt, are ways to make affection surprising. We’ll get to affection later.
A prevailing wisdom is that men should appear unemotional. But emotions can lead to romance when they are appropriate. She doesn’t want you to fly off the handle like a little girl, but she doesn’t want you to be a cold robot.
Connect deeply. It shows you trust your own emotions, and more importantly trust her to feel them with you. This includes the emotions involved in strong sexual chemistry. You can be sexual and still romantic.
She knows you will be there to take care of her, to hold her and protect her. Even if you can’t be there, she needs to have the feeling that this is your desire and intent.
She expects you to be emotionally strong, to balance her sometimes erratic mood swings, and to be a grounding force. When you’re a man, she can fully express herself as a woman.
Stay tuned next week for Part Three.
About Dr. Evan Marlowe Evan Marlow is the dean and founder of Man School. You can visit at Manschool.cc