I asked a number of male friends about their experiences of romance and what they found romantic themselves. These Romancing the Bloke posts are the result.
Romance and sex aren’t unrelated, of course – physical intimacy is part of the expression of love after all, as martial artist and horror writer Alan Baxter notes in passing.
The activities I find romantic are anything where my wife has gone out of her way to do something just for me, whether that’s cooking my favourite meal, arranging a cool outing or visit from friends, a surprise movie and dinner out, an unexpected blow job. 🙂 You know, just something where you feel special and looked after with no other reason than because she wants to make you feel special.
Honestly, those kind of gestures are enough. Some grand and elaborate thing is usually no more romantic, just a lot more expensive.
Are romantic gestures important? Definitely. You want to feel looked after. You want to be reminded every now and then that you’re not taken for granted. All the things men are supposed to do for women, and the reasons for them, work both ways. We may not want a bunch of flowers, but buy me a cool book for no reason, arrange for me and a mate to go to a great gig, arrange a dinner out and surprise me. Anything like that. All the stuff women like, men like too. At least, I think they do. I certainly do.
S. certainly finds physical intimacy, whether or not it involves actual sex, very romantic, and playfulness and spontaneity will get him every time.
What absolutely would work for me are the same things that were happening when we were dating: When she walked in to the room and I lost the power of speech because I had no breath. The things that caught my attention then still catch my attention now – maybe moreso.
- Sitting in the cinema and snuggling
- Kissing in the rain under an umbrella – dropping the umbrella and still kissing and then laughing
- Sitting by the harbour having a meal and champagne – it rains – really rains – no real shelter – everything gets wet – and you sit there finishing your meal and champagne
- Delivering a meal to me at my office because I am working late, wearing nothing but an overcoat – but not staying because I have work to do – oh dear
Activities I find romantic are things done with that sense of fun, gratitude , intensity , lust or delicious lightness as we did in the first few months before we lived together
My partner has done so many romantic things for me. One Valentine’s Day, I was speeding through Melbourne in a sports car and she took off all her clothes and kissed me saying Happy Valentine’s Day then got dressed again. Another time, it was my birthday and I was away working. She walked in to the restaurant where I was sitting with work colleagues –– she walked in, hours from home. I couldn’t speak – I know I cried and it was totally wonderful because it was impossible and I had no idea.
The things I find romantic are where I get the feeling that I am worth it and this is for me because she loves and/or desires me or just appreciates me. I love it when she washes my hair in the shower. Intimacy without anything sexual is beautiful and romantic.
I think romantic gestures are important, if by that you mean evidence that you care and love for someone in a demonstrative way. I think romantic gestures for me can be interpreted as signatures of actions that show the other person is “the one”.
S. isn’t the only man who appreciates the intimacy and romance of bathing. Romance writer, JM Bray, (whom I interviewed for a Quintette last year) lists that as one of the activities he finds most romantic.
I hate to sound like “a typical guy” but I have to admit that when I first started thinking about answers, my brain went right to sexual situations. After caging that beast, the ideas became clearer. (But feel free to add sex to most romantic gestures and many men will be good with that.)
I honestly lost sleep over this whole thing, because in our relationship, I’m the “big romantic gesture” person. As I tossed in the bed, my mind churning I wondered: What is a romantic gesture? For me, it’s an action or choice that expresses your love for someone. As I give my answers, I hope you’ll see why I’m taking the time to define it this way.
The activities I find romantic are travel, nice dinners out, surprise gifts… These are all romantic activities I enjoy. But they are not things my wife does, because I arrange them. She is the queen of the consistent, small gesture.
Coffee in bed; being washed in the shower; touching, physically. When she wraps her arm in mine as we walk, her hand on my back when we are with friends, her finger grazing my cheek. MMM HMMM!
When our kids were little we decided that one of us should be home with them. Of the two of us, I could make more money, but it meant some tough work situations. At one point I was commuting two hours each way to work so I got up about 4 am. Though I encouraged her to sleep, my wife got up every morning, made me coffee and a lunch while I dressed and then saw me out the front door with a kiss and a word of love. It went on for months. That’s all kinds of romantic.
To answer “What romantic thing would you like your partner to do?” – it’s not a “one thing” but an attitude: To feel good about herself. Fortunately most of the time, my wife does. Don’t underestimate the romantic power of self-confidence and contentment. They let romance flow.
I think romantic gestures are vital to a healthy relationship. They let your partner know you love them and care for them. I put romantic gestures in three basic categories: Big moments (trips, gifts,) expected moments (Valentines Day etc.) and everyday moments. For me, the last one is the most important. In March my wife and I will be married 29 years – it’s working so far.
So there we have it. It may be a small study sample, but certainly many of the men I know have big hearts and appreciate the romantic – not the grand and sometimes overblown gestures of St Valentine’s Day, but the small daily things that come from love and appreciation. Also sometimes bonus surprise nakedness and unexpected oral sex. But honestly, I think women appreciate those things too.
It’s Valentine’s Day on Friday, but why wait until then? Show your love on any day of the year.
What is your take on romance and romantic gestures? Feel free to leave a comment!
My thanks to all the men who answered my little survey and revealed their loving hearts to me for this blog. You’re all lovely.