I was asked recently what the most romantic thing I’ve ever done for anyone is. It’s a tough question — I’m a romantic at heart, and I’m constantly doing things to show the person that I’m seeing / interested in / married to (wow — how many other people would add that to a list of ways to describe “significant other”?) that I’m thinking of them. I like doing that, both for the obivous reason — that would be to show them that I’m thinking of them, for the mentally incapable at home — as well as to make them smile, and hopefully feel a little better about life in general.
I used to think — as we’re all programmed to do — that it’s all about money, and buying gifts. That certainly is a valid point, but that line of thinking is dangerous, not only to your credit rating (ask my accountant if you have lingering doubt) but to your ability to be romantic. Don’t misinterpret — I love to get gifts, small or big. But sometimes, the best gifts are free.
I love things that are not generic, little things that are geared obviously to me. Flowers are nice, sure (ladies: every guy in the world except for those with tiny tiny penises would love, just once, for the woman in his life to give him flowers. For the record.) but even better are those things that show that I’m the one in your thoughts. A friend once made me — by hand — a book, a journal for me to write things like this in, made from printer paper cut in half and duct tape and some of her art (it’s much more attractive than I’m making it sound). It’s quite possibly the best and most cherished gift that I’ve ever received.
I once wrote a song for Melissa. I’ve written poetry (you can laugh and point all you want, but don’t knock it until you try it), and even an (award-winning) screenplay (Muckfuppet – coming soon to a film festival near you). One of my tattoos was an anniversary gift to Melissa*. I’ve drawn things, and hand-picked bouquets of flowers.
So, maybe you’re poor and utterly uncreative. You know what’s romantic? A random email or text message, one or two lines only, something inspired by your significant other (“Remember what I said about your smile? Well, I guess I meant it about all of you.”). If you’re in the same house as them, walk over to them and give them a hug, or a gentle kiss, suggestive of nothing. Clean their apartment while they’re out of town with the girls for the weekend.
The best thing about relationships (being in them, specifically) is the chance to show and receive romantic gestures, from the cosmically grand to the everyday and seemingly insignificant. All of it adds up, in the end.
And don’t take these things for granted — when you’re alone again, single and living it up, once all the memories are comfortable again and you’ve finally gotten used to cooking for one and stretching out across your whole bed, it’s these little things that you’ll still miss. Getting and giving.
I know I do.
* To those who wonder if I regret that tattoo: no. Melissa was a major part of my life for five years, and those five years largely dictated many things about who and where I am. I make sure that all of my ink means something to me that I want to hold on to for life, and I think that bit of ink is among my favorite, because it keeps me from forgetting a lot of important things. And it’s a cool design, too.