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The Newcomer

Advice from a romantic

Let me say right away that I don't consider myself qualified to give advice of any kind to anyone, BUT...I am a romantic. And, as such, I think I can speak for some others about what we ladies appreciate in the romance department.

I take this adventuresome-and foolhardy-step based on response I received after writing a Valentine column. In that column, I suggested men might do well to concentrate on romantically courting their wives more aggressively. I found out the column had some impact when a waitress I didn't know confided to me that she and her husband had read the column together and the best Valentine Day she'd ever had followed.

So, on behalf of my fellow females, I'm going to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and try to warm up these chilly days leading into winter.

In that February column, I told the guys that sitting on a couch absorbed in a ball game and asking the wife for a cold one did not constitute courtship. I suggested a little candlelight and soft talk might work wonders.

I also suggested that a guy, who started the day with a kiss and a compliment, could expect a warm welcome home at the end of the day.

I still suggest all of that. But, fellows, I think you are now ready for Courtship 102.

First, stop calling that precious woman, who takes care of you and loves you, "My old lady". And for sure don't refer to her as "Hey you!"

I can guarantee a "My lady" or "Honey" or "Dear Heart" will be worth at least a hug and a kiss. And, if you continue with the terms of endearment, you might see a complete change of attitude...for the better.

Next, surprise her.

If you never cook and can't cook, stay out of the kitchen, but do bring home a boxed meal the two of you can share. (Perhaps from China Buffet or Double D Steakhouse?)

And don't just shove it at her as you come in the door. Transfer the food to your best dinner plates, light a candle and actually sit down at the table to share it with her. (Your grade goes down two points, if you settle in front of the TV with it).

If you prefer to cook the meal for her yourself, great! But don't leave the dirty dishes for her to clean up.

Surprises don't have to be about food. You might tell her to get gussied up and then take her dancing. Or tell her to put on her boots and jeans and take her for an autumn hike along the river. Or, if she's a city cat, walk her through the mall and buy her a little bauble along the way.

Smaller surprises are also appreciated-a love note and a candy kiss placed on her pillow or a nosegay on the bedside table are worth an A+.

(You do remember what a nosegay is, don't you? I told you in that February column. A nosegay is a few flowers gathered into a tight little bouquet and tied with a ribbon, even a string will do.)

Romance 102 includes a third piece of advice.

And this might be the toughest one of all for you men out there.

Apologize.

If she has taken offense at something you said or did, even if you believe you were in the right, acknowledge her frustration, her anger or her sadness. Sometimes a lady just has to know you know you are part of why she isn't happy. In other words, let her know you were the big ass she thought you were, but remind her that you are a work in progress.

Then apologize.

Now, fellows, you don't owe me a cent for this course in romance. I offer it to you free of charge, but, if these tips work for you, you can send me a posy, if you want to.

(You'll find the definition of posy in your good old Webster's Dictionary.)

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