Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lessons in Love: Bring on the Romance


Relationships are work. Good ones are like having another job. You have to interview for the role you want. While interviewing you must present your best self yet be honest enough about your flaws and failures so the person gets a true sense of your ability to file the position. Some pre-employment checks may be involved. Your references may get checked. Generally, there's a trial period before you receive full benefits. After that initial period is over, you're expected to perform. And you're expected to perform at a high level of competency at all times. You cannot get complacent in the role as there are always new challenges presenting themselves. If you start slipping, you will no doubt be placed on a performance improvement plan and given a warning. And if you still fail to meet the pre-arranged standards… chances are you will be fired. Without a recommendation. Think on it. I'm talking to the women and the men. It sucks to be fired. Especially if you could have avoided it.

One of the easiest ways to keep a relationship out of the "needs improvement" file is by keeping things fresh. Doing the same thing day after day is a grind and you wind up taking it for granted. How about a little spontaneity and romance. By this I do not (necessarily) mean trying out some new freaky-deaky move in the bedroom. I mean romance. Are you following me? Okay here's a BougieTale:

It's summertime. And it's been a long, hot long distance summer between me and the (then) SO. Tempers are starting to get a little short. Schedules are not aligning. One Wednesday, I traded in some miles and fly into town unannounced. I charmed the concierge into letting me into the apartment. I grabbed the spare keys to the Land Rover and headed to the grocery store. I didn't answer my cell phone all day. By 6:30 pm, my infamous seafood Florentine on angel hair whole wheat pasta was done. Wine was uncorked, flowers on the table, candles were lit, and I was in a really flattering dress with uncomfortable strappy heels on. I had just hit play on the mellow music mix and just finished twirling in a perfume cloud when I heard the key in the lock. Two steps down the hallway, he knew something was up. "Hello?" he called out. I stepped into his line of sight, "Hi honey, how was your day?"

To my surprise and dismay, his face fell and he fought back tears. Now understand this is a man that didn't go emo… ever. He came forward and gave me a bear hug and clung. Finally he said, "It's been a long day and it's been a long time since someone made this kind of effort for me. It's nice. It's just really nice." I gave him a glass of wine and sent him to take a shower while I set the table and I thought about it… How often does the man get the romantic gesture? Let me tell you ladies… it is greatly appreciated. You don't even have to go all "I flew in and cooked", it can be as simple as noticing that he has a pair of socks with a hole in it. Buy a new pair, put a funny card on them and leave it somewhere he can find it. Tell him you're giving him an hour of "alone time" to do what the hell he wants. Give him the last biscuit on the plate. I can tell you that sending my SO's favorite brand of gummy bears to his office in individual bags so he could share made me the coolest chick on the planet for little while. It's called a romantic gesture. It comes back to you twenty fold.

Fellas, I see you nodding your heads in agreement, "Um-hmm, brother wants a little romance too. Can a brother get a Valentine's day gift?' Yes you can but fellas... While you appreciate romance, some of us LIVE for it. And I'm not talking about the grand "baby don't leave me" gesture. Pour a sister a cup of tea on a cold night, bundle her up in her leopard print snuggie and leave her alone. Slap a post-in note on the mirror saying, "You're always beautiful to me." Sappy yes but do you know how appreciative a woman is when she is made to feel good about herself… and you're the cause? Suck it up for one night and watch the freakin' Lifetime-Movie-of-the-Week with her. Boil an egg and call it breakfast… are you catching my drift? It's not always the flowers and the candy or the dinner and the jewelry (though we love that).

One time I got all misty eyed over a package of SweetTarts and a Sprite. Don't. Judge. Me. It was the perfect pick me up in the middle of a very raggedy day. Oh fellas, just so you know: Cleaning the bathroom after old girl has been nagging you about it for a week is NOT a romantic gesture. It's an overdue household chore… no points for you. But running a bubble bath in newly scrubbed bathroom and putting a class of wine by the tub… now you've got it.

Before I go completely hearts and flowers let me add one more disclaimer. Ladies and Gentlemen, if your relationship game is shoddy all the way around and all you've got are romantic gestures – that's not going to work. The romance is just frosting on the cake. If the cake is nasty, it still gets tossed… ya feel me? I know ya'll are catching my drift, I don't need to beat you over the head with it. Do something nice. Keep love alive.

Tell me, what is the LEAST romantic gesture you've ever heard of? Is romance a lost art? What is the most romantic thing you've ever done, or have had done for you or wish someone would do?

22 comments:

Lady4Real said...

It's still new but not so new; let me explain Bougie Cousin and BougieLand. I'm back with my oldest son's father, he was my middle school/high school sweetheart. He was always so nice to me, there for me and most importantly my best friend. We broke up because we were young and needed to see the world and find ourselves and we found out that the world wasn't what we thought it was gonna be and we already knew ourselves pretty well, the only thing missing was us being together, and we have remedied that situation. Now with all that being said let me just say, everyday is chock full of love and the romance just happens. We just had two blizzards hit us and were stuck in the house for three days straight, I was bored, lazy and hungry. I told him, "I sure am hungry." He said, "So am I". Then we just turned and watched t.v., I never noticed that he got up and left for a little while, well about 20 minutes later I said I was hungry again and he said he was too, next thing I know he comes upstairs with a plate of chicken qusadillas, mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets, I almost cried. There was another time that he said he would make dinner, the kids were gone and we had an empty house. He came upstairs to call me down for dinner, I wanted to know why we couldn't just eat in bed (he cut me a laser beam side eye) I got up, went downstairs and was greeted by slow jams, candles and a beautiful delicious meal. I'm living in love and romance right now and appreciate every moment.

Steve said...

I'm feeling the story with your Ex. Sometimes we feelas feel like we give (and give and give) and the aprreciation is not there in return. So the fact that you went all in, yeah - I might got a little emo myself. A woman who flew across countryto make me dinner (shrimps and whatntot!!), in my dreams.

Grace said...

I was working crazy hours, barely getting home to eat or sleep. My SO at the time came up the office and brought mizza and sodas for the whole team. Very cool.

Bailey Quincy said...

These days a fella putting the toilet seat down is romance to me.

OneChele said...

Enjoy!

Troy said...

I'm assuming you want no stories involving lingerie and 5 inch heels? Cuz that's romance too ;-)
My girl writes me little notes and puts them in my pockets, laptop bag, desk drawer. Sometimes sweet or silly or inspiring. I live for those jawns.

JaymeC said...

BTW - great show last night! I tried to call in but kept getting cut off. As for romance, my husband surprises me with books. He knows I love to read so every once and a while a new book will show up on the night stand. Love it. His new thing (thanks to you, Chele) is the Wii so I re-did a guest room downstairs and turned it into his Wii Fit-n-play room. Doubles as a man-cave. Some days he's holed up in there for hours. And after 18 years of marriage, that's romance ;-)

Man's World said...

A woman that can cook, well - owns me.

Violet Rose said...

I think romance (on both sides) was missing from my last relationship. We let it die fairly early on.

Lady4Real said...

I sure am, its so wonderful to go through hell and finally make it to utopia

OneChele said...

Oh my.

Mocha Dude Speaks said...

Romance can come in different packages. I take the kids out for 6 hours and let the missus sleep in. That's romance.

Page Bartlett said...

I would love that thing where the guy draws the bath and stands there with the wine and the rose petals... oh and chocolate.

BB Waite said...

I was going to say how much I appreciate when the hubs takes the kids out and gives me a break. ;-)

OneChele said...

That's sweet!

Kandia said...

I like to be creative and do stuff that they aren't expecting so one day I waited till an ex-SO was about to get off work and I left a single rose and a card on the windshield of his car. When he came outside he was standing there in the parking lot grinning from ear to ear and looking around like who did this. Then I saw him pick up the card that's when I drove over there and he was just so surprised because he said women don't usually do stuff like that for men. I agree it's the little things that mean a lot. ;-)

Rob said...

A woman who does what you did for your man? Ring-worthy. We'll need the entire BougieTale of how that one went off the tracks.

creosus said...

That's sad.

creosus said...

I want to say that this is one of those posts that stand out among many good ones. The opening analogy of the effort one goes through to find and keep a job to finding and keeping a relationship was perfect. I always say to folks that job hunting is like dating.

The last two paragraphs made me laugh out loud. Your whole post has made me stop and think about what I am doing in my current very long term relationship. I think we both try to think of little things, but sometimes you feel stale and tired in your efforts and every gesture feels somewhat contrived. You've given me food for thought though.

Veronica said...

*sigh*

You had gummy bears... I had peanut butter M&Ms.

I got the sweetest kiss in the world when I pulled out that economy-sized bag. LOL.

SovereignT said...

I did something similar for my SO ...we are both in college but I am in school in VA and he's in school in ATL, so this past Valentine's day I mailed him a card (that it took me like 45 min to pick out lol) with an extra little personal note, and the imprint of my lips sealing a kiss on the inside. He was sooo surprised and so happy because he said he never would have expected that. It felt really good just to make him happy...I love doing stuff like that.

Hidi said...

Romance = Beautiful; I agree fellas need love too. :)

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