I’ve been in the dating pool for about five years now. I went through a messy divorce, but before the fighting, there was extreme love and passion. When we dated, he really courted me, listened and made me the center of his world.
Now I find myself dating again and I can’t help but to compare my experiences now with my ex-husband and the few I dated before I found him. It wasn’t always roses and candlelight, but it definitely wasn’t three texts, show up at my house, and bam! Let’s make a baby. These men don’t do it for me, and I’m starting to think that I have been out of the dating world a little too long. Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned, romance?
Single and Sighing…
Do you know what the scariest holiday of the year is for men? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t Halloween! That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day! It’s a few days away, and men all over the world are emptying bank accounts, scouring the web, offering their first born sons for impossible-to-get reservations, and shaking in their silky, heart-covered boxer shorts (the ones they got for Valentine’s Day last year). And the question they’re sweating over is the same one you’re asking: “What is romance and where do I get it?” Well, I’ve got on my diaper, wings, and my little heart-shaped bow and arrow, so let’s get all “romantical”.
WHAT IS ROMANCE? Well, S&S, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what romance is, every woman knows it as soon as she sees it. The problem is, each woman sees it a bit differently. Your “romantic” may be the next woman’s “creepy”. One woman sees a man who’s playful, another sees a man who’s childish. Where one woman sees a man who’s persistent, another sees a stalker. And men are supposed to figure out which of these qualities to display on the first date, before we even make it to the restaurant! So how can you help? TELL THEM. Be frank. Be honest. Say, “I don’t know what kind of women you are used to dating, but I need to be wined and dined, not texted and sexed.” You will get his attention, and while you have it, explain to him what you think romance means. From there, he either gets it right or gets left.
WHERE CAN I GET IT? S&S, yes, things have changed, and not for the better. In today’s world of text messages and microwaves, most men (and dare I say, most women too) have lost sight of the main ingredient that used to make EVERYTHING so good: time. I have hand-written letters from my wife that kept me sane in the military. I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for all of the texts in the world. A home cooked meal verses a Hungry Man dinner? No real contest there. Ask the kids which they’d rather have, grandma’s chicken soup or a couple of packs of Ramen Noodles.. I don’t have to answer that, do I? Sadly, marriages, relationships, and dating are no exception. Everyone wants old-fashioned love but no one wants to put the time into making it. Our world seems to be spinning faster than it used to. So, if you want a romantic man, you’ll have to find one who thinks you’re special enough to slow down for. To find that guy, and to truly appreciate him when you do, you’ll have to slow down too. Tell your speed-daters to take a hike and wait for the one who puts his phone away when you start speaking. It may take a little more time to find him, but he’s worth the wait… and so are you.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR MEN ONLY!
I know it’s V-day, but don’t panic men. We’re in this together. I’m here for you, and I bring good news. During my months as a double-agent here at the GEM headquarters, I’ve managed to get my hand on a romance secret formula. It reads like this: L+M+C+T=R. That is Listening+Memorizing+Considering+Time = Romance. For those of us who failed algebra, science, and everything but gym, here’s the break down:
Listening: When her mouth is moving and sounds are coming out, she’s talking. Stay with her. If you actually pay attention to what she’s saying, you’ll hear the things that she thinks are funny, scary, sad, and romantic. Football season is over. No excuses.
Memorizing: During your listening, if she actually says “that is really romantic”, immediately make a mental note (or a physical one, with pen and paper if need be) of whatever the thing was. It happens more often than you think; during “chick flicks”, at weddings, even when she’s reading those books with Fabio on the cover. The information is GOLD, but only if you can remember what she was talking about when it happened. Don’t assume you’ll retain the information; you won’t.
Considering: If you’ve listened and taken notes, you now have vital information on how to proceed. What did she think was romantic? Why did she think it was romantic? How can you use it to get that same type of reaction? Consider it all thoroughly and carefully, organize appropriately, and come up with a plan. Buckle down, man; you can do this! And do it soon…
Time: The longer you think about the romantic act, gift, night, etc, the better your planning will be and the more it will be appreciated. Something she said four months ago that you’ve been working on every since is better than a gold necklace that you bought yesterday on sale and tossed to her this morning, while saying “Well, here you go”. In this way, the time you spend is more important than the money you spend, so use both wisely.
I know, I know; it all seems too crazy but it’s just crazy enough to work. Good luck. And to all of the lover’s in the world… Happy Valentine’s Day!
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William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1