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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Real Men Tell You What They Think of Romance


"How are you romantic and how can a woman be romantic to you?"
The Real Deal asks its panel of men to share their thoughts on romance.

Response from The Boyfriend

Clearly, at some point during high school all the girls were taken aside and taught about Romance, where all the boys were at that point remains unclear but I can guarantee you, they totally missed out on that class. O.K. so this is most probably not the case, still I've had numerous unsuccessful attempts at blaming this for my lame attempts at romance. Now, faced with this question I have had to think about it a whole lot more, where do women get their ideas about romance and why do guys just not get it?

When I did think about this I realized that I might not have been all that far wrong. I think that we can all safely assume that women's ideology surrounding romance stems from when we were very young. A prince in a fairytale awakening his princess from her slumber with his kiss or slaying a dragon to rescue this perfect fair princess unruffled, not a hair out of place and a perfect red rose clasped between his white teeth, ringing a bell? These were the fairytales that little girls loved to be told time and time again, while little boys were out playing with frogs in the creek, riding bikes or pushing bull dozers around the sand pit .

From a very young age girls are taught all about what is romantic and develop concepts about those actions a man makes to show that he really loves his princess. If you think it stops at kindergarden, you're wrong, those teenage chic flicks that girls love to watch build those romantic ideologies further, then there are books built on the plot of, man overcomes the world to be with his girl and when he arrives, you've read this before, looking gorgeous and with flowers. Even when girls have gotten over those teen chic flicks and the trashy romantic novels we are still bombarded with movies that relive the same plot time and time again and if that's not enough we read about Prince Frederick running off with his Australian princess in New Idea every week.... Does it ever end!

I guess the truth is that women have such huge expectations and pre-conceived ideals about romance from years of fantasies it can be pretty overwhelming for a guy. I don't even know where to get a dragon to slay these days? That's not to say that I wouldn't and I'd be willing to bet that most guys out there would love to have the opportunity to show off their masculinity and bravado taking out a dragon to get to their girl, but we don't live in that fantasy world! We don't even have the opportunity to pick the perfect rose ourselves its more like pick the florist from the yellow pages and pick the credit card! Surely you can now see how this in a guys mind does not really amount to the romantic ideologies of a lot of women. So if you can't be the perfect prince for your perfect princess why highlight it?!

Despite all that I give it a go! Who am I to argue? I do send flowers to my girlfriend, but when I do, I always go to this florist that I think has fantastic flowers and talk about what I want and if I can I try to pick out the flowers too. I always send her flowers to work, why? Because they are not about me, I send her flowers so that she feels great, not me! For me, it's the last little bit of that statement that makes that gesture romantic. Romance to me, in this modern day is more about the thoughts and the sacrifice. Reality has it that most of us guys are not going to be slaying a dragon any time soon and its not real easy to go pick the perfect rose either so the gestures that I make are selfless. There is no clause on the bottom saying "by accepting this gift or gesture you are forgoing your right to refuse me sex tonight". The gifts I give and the things that I do, I do to make my princess feel great about her and to make her life as good as it can be. In my mind, it's the times that I put special effort into cooking dinner or making something that I know she loves that are the most romantic, because that's something that takes my time, my thought and efforts rather than just my credit card!

I guess what a girl has to remember is that while you were reading fairytales about prince perfect and fantasizing about your life together we were out in the sand pit with our bull dozer building the castle to put our princess in. We grow up with different ideals ingrained in us about how to show our princess or prince that we love them more than life its self. What ever it is that your man is doing to be romantic love it and praise it, he is saying that you are his princess and he loves you! We just don't have the same cast that they had in all those fairytales!
If you want to be romantic to your guy spend your money on something that you know he loves and he knows that you're just not that psyched about! He'll know straight away that he has the perfect princess and that he is the luckiest man in the world!

Response from The Single Guy

Having been single for such a large part of my life I have rarely had the opportunity/need to be romantic. That's not to say that I don't value romance, I do, and I look forward to testing my romantic ability in the future. To be honest though, I am probably not as experienced in personal romantic events as many other people, including the other Real Deal Men, so I will probably leave the long winded responses to them.

To me romance is about showing somebody how important they are to you in a personal way, making an extra effort to make them feel special. Whether it's poetry in the moonlight or an esky full of beer, the romance of a situation will depend on many aspects of the individual and the situation. I personally would find poetry in the moonlight FOLLOWED BY an esky full of beer extremely romantic.

From observations of and conversations with mates, I think many men find it hard to release their romantic side as it may feel that it somehow challenges their masculinity. For these types of guys, the romantic act may be a lot more subtle, but just as meaningful. Then there are the other, more flamboyant types of guys to whom romantic acts come naturally and are much easier.

As far as being romantic to me is concerned, as I said it is all about putting in the extra effort to somehow show how important a person is. This has ranged from text messages to candlelit dinners to surprise parties, and they were all romantic in their own way.

Response from The Married Guy

The tired old stereotype of the typical unreconstructed Australopithecan male goes something like this 1. Say it with flowers 2. Dinner, maybe a movie 3. Then its log fire, bear skin rug, lava lamp and Barry White all the way baby!
Man, that is so American, so clich├ęd, just so.... well un-Australian.
What we are talking about is the spice, the sparkle, the magic (hey, if you're a Star Wars Geek maybe even 'the Force'), the zing, the glue, the catalyst - anyway its the stuff that greases the wheels of the love-mobile. Some people call it romance. Whatever you call it, its what helps us to love and to be loved.

To me there is as much romance in the little things as there is in big flashy expressions. For example, my wife remembered that I had liked the look of a movie from the video shop which we didn't end up getting. A few months later she'd gone to the video shop, found that movie, and along with a nice bottle of wine and something tasty for dinner we had the recipe for a great night in. It was only a little thing, but it was really nice that she remembered and made a special effort to do something for me. She might enjoy a glass of wine somewhere, I try and remember what it is and bring home a bottle sometime. A few things in a basket on a sunny day and you've got the makings of a picnic. A pair of cosy bed-socks for the winter, because she said her feet her cold (admittedly this was win/win as icy cold feet poking into me in the night where close to making me a cardiac arrest risk), but the fluffy doggy-shaped hot water bottle was the real winner. All little things but they add up to happiness.

Then there are the extravagances as well. Way before we got married she worked long shifts during the uni holidays and weekends emptying bed pans in a nursing home just to save up for tickets for a month's backpacking holiday around New Zealand for my 21st birthday. It was a huge surprise. And that was a shed load of bed pans. It gave me such an amazing feeling that someone would do something like that just for me. I think that's romantic. Incidentally, it took me ten years (but no bed pans) to return the favour - two months travelling around Europe, with her 31st birthday celebrated in a (surprise) farmhouse in the Tuscan hills.

But I digress into the big things again, it's really the little day-to-day things that are the spice of life. The daily things we do to make each other feel special and show each other in a thousand little ways that we care and we pay attention, that's what really keeps the love-mobile cruising on the highways and byways of life.

Happy cruising!

Response from the Divorcee

Romance Shmomance! Bah Humbug! Would it be unfair to say that the biggest "wish" for females in a relationship is more romance? We've all heard the cries of "...just once I wish he would bring me flowers when it wasn't my birthday or anniversary". This should tell you one thing (at the very least) and that is that the whole concept of romance is completely foreign to men. It just isn't built into our psyche. And another ....."If he loved me, he would want to do all the romantic things I have in my head" bollocks. If it isn't a natural thought process, then how can it be a show of affection or love? Personally, I blame Mills & Boon, Mattel "action figurines" and the plethora of self-centered American talk show hosts who perpetuate the myth that to have a satisfying relationship you need to have rose petals sprinkled on your bed sheets and cherubs singing in the background (or at the very least, Barry White)! REAL romance (if I can call it that for a second) comes from a feeling of closeness to your partner that nobody else shares. This comes with communication, trust and a desire to truly "know" that partner. The occasional call or email at work to tell them that you are thinking of them or the sharing of something about yourself that makes you vulnerable (the time has to be right though!) are things that I would classify in my book as romantic actions. I show a woman that I care about her by sharing time with her (it doesn't matter where it is) and getting to know her. Listening to what she has to say, asking questions ....making her feel like I really want to know what makes her tick.

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Responses are from a site designed to give women a better understanding of men. Get a male opinion by asking The Real Deal Men.
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