“Let’s get your mom some flowers.” It was this simple sentence, uttered by my dad, that began my informal education in romance. I was nine years old, and we were on our way home from an afternoon of errands. My dad stopped at a roadside flower stand, picked out a bunch and delivered them home to my mom. There were big smiles and generous hugs for the both of us.
Over the years, my dad taught me a lot about romance. Besides the valuable lesson in floriography, he instructed me to open car doors for dates, always pay the check and not to be shy about giving them my arm anywhere we walked. I witnessed my dad stop at the roadside flower stand many times. He would send my mom love notes. In both direct and indirect ways, my dad taught me how valuable a spontaneous romantic gesture could be.
A lot of my father’s playful, romantic side has been sewn into the fabric of my marriage. One of the first impressions that WonderWife™ says I made on her was the fact that I showed up at her door for our first date carrying a big bouquet of sunflowers. I try not to let too much time go by without a love note here or a text message there. With WonderWife™ it’s easy.
I can’t imagine being with somebody that didn’t stir my inner romantic side. Being romantic shouldn’t be a chore. Nor does it have to be done with big sweeping gestures. This is where TV and movies have steered us wrong. A room lit by 100 candles may be romantic, but, as I found out one night, it requires a lot of work to set them up and light them. Not to mention the time it took to blow them out later. Yes, candles are nice, but a simple note hidden in a conspicuous place can work just as well. The one that I left for WW™ in our kitchen pantry is still hanging there three years after I wrote it.
Romance is about surprise. It’s turning off the lights and throwing in a CD one evening. It’s having a picnic on the front lawn every once in a while, instead of dinner in front of the tube. Romance is most powerful when it’s unexpected. The best flowers you can give are on a random Tuesday, to let your partner know you’re thinking about them even during the ordinary, mundane times.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m Casanova. Nor am I implying that I am the most innovative romantic out there. There are sometimes long stretches that go by where the romance is pushed to the back by dirty diapers, doing the dishes or a new episode of Lost. But I’m wired in a way where if I can’t remember the last romantic gesture I’ve made, something in me clicks and puts a new one into motion. And there are some simple, proven gestures that always go over well.
To the ladies out there: romance doesn’t just fall to the guys. The same lessons apply. The fellas like a little attention as well. Everyone in a relationship should realize that romance doesn’t take a lot of effort, just a little bit of thought and planning.
I’m lucky to be the son of a romantic. The lessons from my dad have made a strong impact on me and helped me get the most out of my relationships. So when I’m out with the Bean doing errands, every once in a while I will lean over and say to him, “Let’s get your mom some flowers.”
1 year ago