Stop telling people how to be romantic

I read this and was inspired.

Strike that. I read 7 of the 21 things on this list and was torn between inspiration and annoyance.

Honestly? 21 Uncommon Romantic Gestures That Would Make Any Girl Melt? Any girl?

First off, I am most obviously annoyed by the gross generalization that this listicle contained sure-fire, infallible ways to woo women that clearly could not be resisted.

Then I started reading and … wow. The 7 bullet points that I got through before discarding it as junk were so absurdly specific they were clearly written from a girl to her boyfriend who just doesn’t quite get it. Or to every boyfriend she’s ever had, except that one who did all of those things. Either way, words like “because you know that she loves when you put in the effort to choose, but is really picky when it comes to what she wants,” kind of give away the ulterior motive here. Because every woman ever in the history of women is super picky, obvs.

So then I got to thinking…

What are the gestures I find romantic? Because I might have what could be considered a strange sense of romanticism. Maybe. At least, based on every “do this because your woman will be wooed” article I’ve ever read, I have a strange sense of romanticism. Because none of those things would woo me.

I thought about all of the strange little quirky things guys have done for me that I thought were romantic and I could list all of them and make my own “this is what that guy did so you should achieve the standard he set” list but why? Instead, I will offer the following general ideas on “how to be romantic,” from the perspective of a left-of-center romantic.

1. Pay attention to them. This isn’t about chiming in on their story at the right places with a well-placed nod or “mmhmm” to let them know you are genuinely interested (although, that’s nice, too). This is about picking up clues they don’t know they are giving you. Things you might think are completely inane might totally make their day. This is bigger (smaller) than just remembering their Starbucks order. This is a buying-the-right-socks kind of attuned.. I think you’ll be fairly pleased with the results of doing something small that shows just how close you were paying attention. And that doesn’t mean taking out the trash because she asked you to do it 42 times already.


Actually… I think that about covers it. I really think the core of romanticism is figuring out what your partner thinks is romantic. For some women, it’s wine and roses. For me, it’s a cheeseburger and concert tickets. For some women, it’s having a man who will sit quietly and still while she subjects him to yet another Reese Witherspoon movie (sorry, was that judgey?). For me, it’s a guy who respects that I love horror movies but find slasher films completely pointless. For your partner, it’s probably something completely different but would you rather find out by blowing $20 on roses and a fake smile or would you rather pay attention and figure out from that if she’s into roses or punk rock?


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