a bit of romance

Reader J. S. writes:

This last weekend I celebrated my anniversary with my husband. He got me Pyrex. I was not pleased and I think he could tell. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but is it too much for ask for a bit of romance on our anniversary?

Dear J.S.:

You poor, poor dear. Your husband is obviously a complete moron. What was he thinking?

Okay, I’m joking (mostly). He’s not a moron. He’s a dude. Unfortunately, sometimes this is just how their brains work. Let’s look at this another way:


That’s a prize unto itself, sugar pie.

all she really wants...

Sometimes you've got to spell it out for them. Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But this blog is not supposed to be male-bashing all the time, and I know what you really want me to do is give him tips on how anniversary presents are supposed to go… but I want to be fair to some extent, and at least talk about the matter of “expectations” and romance when it comes to the sexes.

If you had received this Pyrex as something he picked up at Wal-Mart on a normal Tuesday night because he was buying socks and he saw it and thought how much you’d been complaining about trying to bake in your old ceramics or something, this would be a sweet gesture. In fact, it would be an ideal gesture. It would be him showing you that he thought of you. In that instance, Pyrex is totally romantic. Romantic and practical – the perfect mix!

I know that on your anniversary, you want something that is impractical. Whimsical. Magical. Useless but beautiful. You want flowers that are going to die in a week. You want a piece of lingerie that you’ll only get to wear on super special occasions. Or earrings that are totally not reasonable for anything other than a trip to a Charity Gala in New York or fashion week in Paris. I’m a girl, too; I have these cravings, and I’m not even married. It’s romance. We want it. Especially when there’s a reason to be romantic.

In fact, I want them on non-romantic occasions, too. I want a guy to be so hung up on thinking of me that he just sees a dozen roses at the supermarket where he’s buying hamburgers and he can’t help but get them for me because they’re pretty, and I’m pretty. He’d get the Pyrex from Wal-Mart, too, but the roses would be more often. And the earrings. And the lingerie. Just anything pretty he saw that made him think of me. Which would be everything.

But more than likely, the one guy who would be willing to do that for me would also be a complete creep. Would you really want to date that guy? Let alone be married to him?

Or actually, he’d be a woman. And again I ask, do you want to date women? It’s a totally viable way to go, but you’ve got to be honest with yourself about it. I think if you’re married to a man, you’re probably not going to be dating the ladies anytime soon.

On a similar note, I’m almost thinking he could do no right in this situation, which is kind of terrifying. If he’d gotten you cheap daisies instead of nice roses, what then? Or what if he’d bought you the lingerie from Wal-Mart?! Noooo! Just how high are your romantic expectations in this case? Does he have to fly you to Rome for a week for it to be romantic?

I’m going to explain the situation this way: most guys think about love and romance differently than most girls. Apparently, guys see things as set in stone. If they’ve said “I Love You!” once, that’s it, you don’t need any re-affirmations, it’s all settled, and they can go back to watching football.

Girls, of course, don’t think that way.

I once heard someone put it thusly: A man gets married thinking the woman won’t change; a woman gets married hoping the man will change.

So while I understand your desires (again, I’m a girl, too), first off, you’re lucky as it is (in my opinion), and secondly, it’s probably not going to change. Is this going to ruin your relationship? Are you going to divorce him because he got you something practical for your anniversary? Nah, probably not. My best advice is tell him what you need (romance) directly (“Honey, I need you to buy me flowers on our anniversary, and in fact, whenever you see flowers, you should probably get them for me”). If he can’t figure it out from there, I’ll allow you to give him the moron tag.

Remember that he did a good job with the Pyrex, somehow. (Unless you never cook, in which case, you can also give him the moron tag.) The old adage is true: it’s the thought that counts. He thought of you. He thought of your anniversary. Ok, so he’s not batting 1000, but he’s also not a woman, and if he were, you probably wouldn’t be dating him.

So I am copping out and saying “be thankful for what you have”. If he’s a loving husband and you have a fine life together, fudging it on the romance once in a while ain’t so bad. If you’re not getting what you want, it’s your responsibility to tell him.

Of course, for all you guys out there, remember: buy a girl flowers (or whatever it is she likes, and you should know that) and she’ll eat out of your stupid moron hand. We want to know that you’re thinking about us. Even the stupidest seeming random gift can make us totally giddy in the middle of the week for no special occasion whatsoever. Spoil us once in a while. It ain’t hard. If you’re in a committed relationship (or you ever want to be) and you’ve never gotten her flowers (you can even pick one from the sidewalk), you are probably a moron. Just sayin’.


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