I used to love romancing my wife. I always looked at it as if it was my duty as a man and husband to make sure Teresa always felt loved, and I tried hard to come up with unique ideas. It was hard for me to do when we were dating, before we got married. At least, it was hard early on, given what an introvert I am. But once I got to really know her, and found out what she liked, her favorite things, etc., it became very easy. She was such a sucker for romance, and I say that in love.
I've noticed too many guys just don't understand how to romance their wife or significant other. They either don't even try, even simple little gestures (holding hands, or complimenting her clothes or how she looks...and mean it), or they try too hard (the big splash plays, trying to do something for the reaction instead of for what it's meant to be...for her). Guys can be kind of stupid. I say that in love.
The key with romance is to never do the same old thing...unless the same old thing is something you've never done before. I had to come up with original ideas. Sometimes it was very simple things. On our first date, I opened and held the door for her, whether it was at her apartment, my car, or the restaurant door. It's the polite, gentlemanly thing to do. I am amazed how often I see a couple where the man walks in front of the woman, and doesn't hold the door for her. It's so simple, yet too many guys don't get it. On that same first date, it was raining, so I walked with Teresa, holding the umbrella with my left hand, and I placed my right hand in the small of her back. She told me later that this gesture was one of the most romantic things any guy had ever done for her. To me, it was a respect thing. I wasn't trying to impress her. It was the right thing to do.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Eric, you are one romantic guy!" No, no...I jest. You're really thinking, "Eric, you're just making yourself sound like the awesomist guy ever...you're just a showoff." Well, while it's true my wife called me the most romantic man in the history of men (I may be paraphrasing), I've had my share of duds. I've been on dates where I've tried way too hard. I took a stuffed animal on a first date for a girl and she was not impressed, and she actually told me at the end of the night that I should just keep it. We didn't have a second date...or a third. I re-gifted a book one time, and it turned out it was a book that a student had given to my wife, with a written dedication on the inside front cover. I was completely embarrassed. Flowers are nice, but they can also be unoriginal, and may fall into the "trying too hard" category. Red roses on a first date are too much.
The L word needs to be used in moderation, as well. Early on in a relationship, it may not be appropriate. I'd like to say that you'll know when it's the right time to say it, but that's not always the case. If you say it first and she doesn't feel the same way, it can be awkward. And don't say it if you don't mean it. That could get you into some trouble later. When said at the right moment, it can be very romantic. (For those of you who don't know what the L word is, it's "lettuce".)
Guys, keep in mind that you really need to be yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not. Do not fall prey to the "Cyrano de Bergerac" ploy, where you get a friend to hide in the bushes or give you a speaker to put in your ear to feed you lines. It never works. It has been tried on every sit-com ever made, and a few movies (see ROXANNE), and it just doesn't work. Be yourself. Even if you have a big nose.
Ladies, don't be hard on your man if he isn't just naturally romantic. Even taking him to see chick-flicks won't help. In fact, that might make things worse. Chick-flicks need to be fed to guys in small doses.
I started this post seriously wanting to share my experiences and offer help to those less-romantic, but it has fallen into the realm of parody. Maybe that's where it belongs. Romance seems to work for some couples. It definitely doesn't work with all. Guys need to be willing to try romance, but it can't be forced. I feel as if most women want their man to be somewhat romantic, but are willing to live without it, based on what I've observed, and that's a shame. My advice, and I'm no expert, is for guys to try it and be sincere. It might actually bring your relationship to a new level. Maybe to 2nd or even 3rd base.
Have a romantic evening, everyone! You sly dog...