I’m not saying I have a corner on the romance market. On the contrary, I’m a “wanna be” romantic. Which means I wish I were the type of person that women swoon over, pointing at my wife saying, “Wow, I wish I were her”. I just don’t have much romantic aptitude, and I’m far too lazy to ever really be considered a romantic person. My lovely wife, on the other hand, is a hopeless romantic. I think at heart, every woman wants to feel special and thought of often. That’s the basis for being a romantic. I’ve found over the years that it doesn’t take much from me to foster this feeling she has. So I’m sharing my secrets here; the same tools that make me a geek, have made me an effective romantic.
Probably the best romantic advancement for a married guy online is the invention of the online florist. These sites allow me to have reminders for important dates, not that I’m the kind of guy that FORGETS my wife’s birthday, but I might forget to celebrate one of the lesser dates that SHE remembers, such as the day we met, the date of our first kiss, etc. The online florist allows me to set up a reminder that will send me an email when the date is approaching. I can even set the reminder up to a week beforehand, which gives me plenty of time to plan something. Five minutes online, and I’ve done something that will make her feel special. Not much to ask, I think. Being a romantic is about showing you care for the other person, isn’t it? Thinking about them when you’re not around, and letting that be known. The big benefit of the online florist is that they’re getting their inventory directly from the growers, so the quality has been better than I’ve ever gotten by going to a local florist. The flowers DON’T use the local florist for delivery, they are overnighted directly to her door (or to her work for those with two incomes). Online florists have lots of reasonable gifts beyond flowers as well, and you can type in your message in a convenient gift card. My only word of caution here is, that if you live in a hot summer climate, be sure to spring for the extra “before 10 am delivery”. Your average overnight delivery truck doesn’t have air conditioning for the cargo. It’s hard to be romantic with dead flowers… although you’ll get an assist for the thought.
Romantic Notes? SMS or Email!
I often ponder about how my mom and dad communicated while my dad was at work; they didn’t. Mom didn’t bother dad while he was at work. It was a different age, and communication was more controlled. Coming from a long line of Irish descendants, my family isn’t what anyone would call “loving”. Now with the adoption of SMS, email, IM, Twitter and Facebook, we can stay in touch much better, much easier, and much less intrusively with our loved ones than in generations past. I travel for a living, and my wife stayed home, raised the children, and controlled the home front. It’s the opposite of romantic. She gets lonely, and we talk…and talk… and talk… Mostly I apologize for things going wrong while I’m gone. Murphy’s Law isn’t so romantic, either. Several years ago, I got her a state-of-the-art phone (at the time) and taught her how to use SMS and Email. She wasn’t very technologically savvy at the time, but she caught on, especially when she saw the results. This was essential because as I have gotten busier, it has become more difficult for me to talk to my wife during the day. Now, when I’m out and about, I’ll send her a quick message that “I’ve landed in Denver” or “I miss you tons”. It’s small and simple, but really goes a long way to ensure her that I’m not like a repressed teenager going off to his first year of college when I’m away from her. It also helps her know that she doesn’t have to turn on CNN to see if there were any plane crashes. She can send me a message at any time, and I’ll usually answer within minutes. Most wireless providers now offer free text messages between family plans. This has worked so well for my wife, she now keeps her shopping lists on her iPhone, and she’s changed her traditional wall calendar to be an ultra-geek Google calendar. Hardly romantic, but the idea and effort that I would teach her how to use the technology to be able to communicate with me was seen as a loving gesture.
I guess this is where romance and logic cross paths. If you’re still reading, then you need some help romantically, or at least you think you do. That you’re still reading is a good sign, because all it takes is effort and some simple listening skills to be a little more romantic. In the movie Phenomenon, John Travolta is trying to woo Kyra Sedgwick. Sedgwick is rather unapproachable, but she makes some hand-made chairs and no one is buying them. They’re ugly. Travolta buys several of the chairs (as many as he can fit in the back of his pickup). She’s touched, of course. Later in the movie, Travolta says to another character, “Find a woman’s chairs, and buy ‘em all up”. It’s simple, beautiful, and brilliant. Listen to your better half. What does he/she love? Support that passion even if, and especially if, you don’t agree with it. Do a quick search on Amazon, or any other online shopping company, and find her chairs. For example, my wife loves to read and her romance novels are her escape from the daily grind of managing the “ranch” and its two dogs and seven cats. I know what authors are her favorites, so I have a reminder set up for myself on Amazon and Barnes and Noble so that I get an email if something new is announced for one of her favorite authors. Then when a new book comes out, if I can beat her to the punch, I can surprise her by getting the book before she even knows it’s released. Simple, but it shows her I’m thinking about her needs and wants. That’s all being a romantic is about: Showing the other person you’re thinking about them.
Show you care
I traveled a little over 100 nights last year. There are days, and weeks, when I’m not my wife’s favorite person. It’s hard to have any romance hundreds of miles from home. I’ve had to miss all sorts of important events, and I can’t even remember the last time I was home on my birthday. But I’m always home on her birthday. I make sure that week is an office week, where I don’t travel, no matter what. It’s a simple promise that I have to work pretty hard to keep some years, but it pays romantic dividends like Apple stock.
I also always try to pick up something small for my wife when I travel. Normally, it’s the “airport bear”. Nearly every airport in the country has a little Beanie Baby type bear with the local city or state on its chest. It’s become a symbol of my romantic efforts, feeble as they often are. If I find a bear I haven’t picked up yet, I grab it. I pick up something simple from each place I go. A t-shirt here, a sweatshirt there. Anything, it just has to say, “I was thinking of you”. I also use my frequent flier miles and Marriott points to get her the things she wants. Again, just another way to say, “Thanks for putting up with me.”
It’s not difficult to be romantic, even if romance is not in your nature. If you love the person you’re with, and they are even the slightest bit romantic (which they are) these tips will help even the busiest workaholic keep in good graces with those who are most important to them. There are hundreds of things you can do with this, be inventive! The bottom line is, we are all so connected now, there’s just no excuse for us not to take time to make our favorite people feel special.