Buy her flowers when she’s not expecting them

Any putz can buy a woman flowers on valentine’s day or her birthday or your anniversary. It takes a real romantic to buy her flowers when she’s not expecting it! Did she have to go out-of-town for a last-minute business trip? Did she call you at work to tell you how bad a day she’s having? Where you coming home and saw a guy selling flowers by the metro and you just decided to pick up a bouquet? This is the stuff that women eat up! Remember, women appreciate the thought you put into something more than the actual product – it’s how we get away with doing a crappy job when doing the laundry! The key is to be spontaneous and unpredictable. If she starts expecting flowers every time she goes away on a trip you’ll find yourself trapped having to always buy flowers, and the one time you don’t she’ll wonder why, which leads down a road you don’t want anything to do with! Just make it a point to every now and then buy her flowers for no reason other than you want to show her how much you care about her. I guarantee you’ll find that her appreciation will be far greater than when you get her flowers because that’s what’s expected of you that particular day of the year. The flowers don’t have to be anything special – roses are nice and all that but they lose their value if that’s all you buy. Mix it up with seasonal bouquets (easier than you think – just pick up a pre-made bouquet at the grocery store on your way to the protein tub aisle) and you’ll keep the excitement factor where it needs to be, and then, once you’ve got her thinking she’ll never get roses again…Bam! Go ahead and hit her with two dozen long-stemmed red roses! (Note: don’t actually hit here with the roses, especially if they have thorns) She’ll go friggin’ nuts.

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Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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Be chivalrous without being chauvinist

Don’t believe what you hear about this being an age of equality where women don’t want to be treated any differently than men. No matter how successful a woman may become at work, no matter how professional she may be, all woman want to be treated like a lady, at least in their personal lives. Doing this is not all that terribly difficult, in fact, because the bar has been set so low by all the jerks out there who don’t know how to treat a lady properly, it is remarkably easy to stand out as a true gentleman. We’ll start with the basics:

1. Hold the door for her. This is as easy as it gets. Don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t shove her out of the way as you race to get to the door, but as you get within, say, 50 feet or so of the door, just start slowly positioning yourself so that when you do get to the door you’ll already be in a position to hold it open. When you do open the door, don’t say anything stupid like, “After you my dear.” Just hold the door open, place your hand on her back as she walks by you, and then follow her inside. If there are people behind her, feel free to hold the door for them too, it’ll just make you feel classier. Note: If there’s a long line of people that you are now stuck holding the door for, look for either the sucker in the group or the gentleman and pawn the door off on them.

2. Always give her the best seat and wait until she’s seated before sitting down. This is another easy one. When the waiter takes you to the table make sure she’s walking ahead of you that way she can pick whichever seat she wants. Perhaps she likes having her back to the rest of the room or maybe she wants to sit so she can see the entire restaurant, either way, save yourself the trouble of figuring it out by letting her go first. Finally, don’t sit down until she’s comfortable. Don’t awkwardly linger by your chair while she gets situated, just give it a few seconds before plopping your ass down. I know your feet are tired but guess what, she’s wearing high heels so show your appreciation for the pain she’s putting herself through by letting her sit down first.

3. Stand up when she leaves the table. This is a little tricky. Old fashion style will tell you that every time a woman stands up at a table all the men need to stand up as well, both when she leaves and returns to the table. Personally, I think this is a bit overkill because I guarantee that unless you’re at a formal fraternity ball you’ll be the only person in the room doing this, which could have the reverse effect of making your wife feel uncomfortable. I recommend that you preserve the spirit of this action by putting down your fork, stop eating or drinking, slightly push back your chair as she gets up and make a slight standing motion. This will get you points by showing that you are acknowledging her getting up without the undue embarrassment of garnering the entire room’s attention. Same goes for when she comes back. On the other hand, if your wife has a taste for old fashion style and enjoys being the center of attention, feel free to stand, just make sure you commit yourself, otherwise you’ll look like a kid wearing his father’s tuxedo at a fraternity formal.

4. Opening and closing the car door. This is another bit of a throw back to an age where men did the driving and woman yelled at them for not stopping to ask directions. (It actually originates from the age of horses and carriages where the woman needed a hand climbing up on the horse or getting into the carriage) This obviously is no longer the case as women now drive just as much as men and men now have GPS to ignore instead of their wives. (And car doors are much lower to the ground) I recommend you only open and close the car door if you are going out to a nice dinner and are dressed up. Old fashion customs go great with elegant dresses; they are less appropriate for jeans and a low cut top. If you do decide to open the door for her, be cool about it. Take your time walking around the front of the car, hold out your hand to help her out of the car (more symbolic than necessary) and then gently close the door behind her. Same goes with opening the car door. Open it while standing to the side, offer your hand to help her in, and gently close the door, making sure to check that her dress is FULLY IN the car. Nothing ruins an evening faster than catching her brand new dress in the car door. As with the standing up custom at restaurants, if you’re going to commit to this one, commit to it! Act like you do this all the time and you’ll come off looking suave and debonair. Act like you do this once a year and you’ll look like you’re playing dress up.

These are just a few of the different types of chivalrous customs that used to be standard practice but that are now relatively rare. There are plenty of other customs out there but the trick to all of them is to be subtle! A little goes a long way and if you put too much effort into any of these you’ll end up looking out of place and awkward, which is far worse than doing nothing at all. Just think ahead, be smooth, and you’ll end up looking like a gallant gentleman who knows how to treat his wife like a lady.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t take her for granted

When a married man starts to take his wife for granted he makes her feel unappreciated and unloved.  This can be a real problem as the moment a partner starts to feel that they are no longer loved they lose their motivation to put any effort into the marriage, which in turn angers the other partner, causing the other partner to grow more distant, and so on and so on.  The simple way to avoid this problem is, like most solutions, simply to not let it become a problem in the first place.  By continually reminding your wife that you appreciate all she does for you (and I guarantee she does more than you think) she will continue to feel validated, thereby ensuring she continues to do all those things that help your marriage run smoothly.  Showing your appreciation doesn’t need to take the form of any dramatic gesture (although it doesn’t hurt), it can be as simple as thanking her each time she makes dinner or does the dishes, publicly complementing her in front of your friends (“You should try [insert name of spouse and favorite dish here]!  It’s fantastic!)  Taking the time, even if it’s just a few seconds, to show her that you are appreciative of the time she puts into making your relationship work will go a long way to ensuring that she feels appreciated and loved.  No one wants to do the dishes, clean the house, or any of the other countless chores that need to be done, but those chores become a lot less of a burden if the person knows that their efforts are being noticed and valued.

Become her Cary Grant

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The leading man's leading man, this is who you should strive to be...within reason!

In you’ve never seen nor heard of Cary Grant, stop what you are doing right now and go and rent a couple good Cary Grant movies, because this is the man against which ALL OTHER MEN ARE JUDGED!!!  Even if your wife has never heard of Cary Grant, believe me when I say that this is the man she wants you to be.  Cary Grant was an actor who worked throughout the 1930’s to the 1960’s and he is considered to be the epitome of the Hollywood leading man.  Every other leading man in Hollywood from George Clooney to Brad Pitt is inevitably compared to Cary Grant.  Charming, unbelievably handsome, witty, Cary Grant personified every single trait that women associate with a good husband.  It is no exaggeration to say that our idea of what defines a man was in many ways solidified by Cary Grant.  If you want to ensure a long and happy marriage, you need to identify what characteristics of Cary Grant you can emulate and then work your hardest to embody those characteristics as often as possible.  Now, there is an important caveat here because there were two sides to Cary Grant – the screwball romantic comedy Cary Grant and the drama/thriller/straight comedy Cary Grant.  Do not be the screwball romantic comedy Cary Grant.  I say this because the screwball romantic comedy Cary Grant was always the butt of every joke and was characterized by indecisiveness, wimpishness, and plain old buffoonery, and while entertaining to watch, these are bad traits to try and emulate.  Good examples of which Cary Grant not to be include Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, My Favorite Wife and Bringing up Baby.  While these are great movies and worth watching, they are not indicative of the sort of husband you want to be.  You want to be the drama/thriller/straight comedy Cary Grant.  This Cary Grant was defined as romantic, intelligent, worldly, daring, capable, and reliable.  Good examples include North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief and Philadelphia Story.  Just remember that while you should strive to emulate Cary Grant as often as possible, keep in mind that he was an actor who off the screen had a rather sordid personal history so don’t kill yourself trying to live up to his standard.  The character of Cary Grant was more of an idealistic version of what a man can be, rather than an attainable goal.  After all, even Cary Grant once remarked, “Not even Cary Grant can be Cary Grant all the time.”

Learn how to serve drinks

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A scene from "The Thin Man." Now that man knew how to mix a drink (and he got Myrna Loy as a result!)

Few things are more enjoyable or charming for a woman than coming home from a long, hard day at work, walking in the door, and finding you in the kitchen busily preparing her favorite drink. It conjures to mind images of 1940s glamour where every house came with a fully equipped bar and every man knew how to make his wife a good stiff drink. Now when I say ‘fix her a drink’ I don’t mean reaching into the fridge for whatever leftover beer you’ve got lying around. Any schmoe can crack open a beer, but it takes a loving husband to take the time to learn how to mix a cocktail. And no, that jungle juice crap you made in college does not count as a cocktail! A good cocktail, aside from helping your wife relax, serves the important purpose of showing your wife that you have moved on from the days when knowing how to fill a red plastic cup from a keg without too much foam was considered the height of class. Learning how to make a few simple cocktails will send a message to your wife that your sense of charm is maturing in a way that is appropriate for a married man. If your wife prefers beer to alcohol, fear not, just make sure that you buy good beer and serve it to her in a glass that you keep in the freezer, thereby ensuring the beer is nice and cold for her to enjoy. Regardless of what she prefers, the point is to make sure you serve it to her in a way that shows her that you are a sophisticated and caring guy, who just happens to know how to make a killer cocktail.

Published in: on November 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Always pour her wine first

Most women prefer wine over either beer or hard alcohol, in part for the taste but more so for the sophistication.  Women feel more cultured drinking a glass of wine than a beer and they feel that it’s more socially acceptable for a woman to drink a bottle of wine than a six-pack.  Add to that the fewer perceived calories and other ‘health benefits’ and it’s no wonder women prefer wine.  You can take advantage of this by educating yourself on the basics of wine and learning such basic skills as properly opening a bottle, decanting and how to order a bottle in a restaurant.  Doing so will give her the impression that you are highly cultured and sophisticated, which will increase her sense of attachment to you, especially when you go out with some friends to a nice restaurant and she can proudly hand you the wine menu and say, “Honey, why don’t you take care of the wine.”  Keep in mind that what she’s really saying to everyone at the table is, “My husband is more sophisticated than anyone else sitting here, so suck on that!”  

Now, if you’ve been guzzling cheep beer for the last five years you might find wine to be somewhat intimidating.  Fear not!  While wine can become infinitely complex, the basics are all you really need to learn.  Just familiarize yourself with the basic different pairings (white wine goes with fish and chicken, red goes with meat) and the major different types of grapes that are out there (pinot noir = light and fruity, cabernet sauvignon = heavier and fuller, merlot = middle of the road, shiraz/syrah = spicy) and the major different regions (France=old and heavy, Italy=old and heavy, Australia=young and spicy, California=young and flavorful) and the differences between them.  You don’t need to learn every single label, just know that if you’re having steak you want a heavy red from France, or if you’re having chicken you want a light white from Italy, etc.  If in doubt, ask the waiter what they recommend but make sure to lay out some boundaries, such as, “Can you recommend a good French wine to go with the Filet?”  This take the pressure off you having to decipher the menu but you still get credit for knowing something about wine.  As for ordering wine at restaurants, here are the basic steps:  

Ask everyone at the table what they are going to be eating, take the average (provided the foods are somewhat similiar otherwise you’re better off each getting your own glass), look on the wine menu, find the particular type of grape that will go well with what everyone is having, and pick the one that falls in the middle of the price range.  You don’t want to go with the cheapest but don’t pick the most expensive either.  Now comes the ordering part.  The hardest part about this is you have to walk a fine line between sophistication and total douche bag.  You have to take the tasting seriously enough to show the waiter you respect him and the restaurant, but at the same time you need to make sure you don’t give off the impression that you are a wine snob and are looking to show off your extensive knowledge of viticulture.  Here are the basic steps:  After the waiter brings the bottle he will hold it out for your inspection.  Look at the label, take no more than 3 seconds to make sure it’s what you ordered and give the waiter a slight, yet masculine, nod of the head.  He will then uncork the bottle and will place the cork on the table in front of you (not all restaurants do this, but if they do, it’s a good sign that you either have a really good waiter and/or are in a really nice restaurant).  Take the cork, wave it in front of your nose a couple times and smell it.  Provided it doesn’t smell like vinegar, place it back on the table and give the waiter another nod.  He will then pour you a very small amount of wine.  Place your fingers on the base of the glass and gently swirl the wine inside the glass.  DO NOT OVER SWIRL!!  Nothing will ruin your hard earned credibility like sloshing wine all over the table.  The point of swirling is to aerate the wine, which allows the wine to ‘open up.’  After a few brisk, yet controlled, swirls, lift the glass to your mouth and tilt it so your nose is inside the glass but not so far that you spill wine all over your shirt.  Pause for one second and then inhale the wine’s aroma.  Assuming you’re satisfied with what you smell, go ahead and take a sip but do not swallow.  Let the wine linger in your mouth for a second, swish it once or twice (keep in mind it’s wine, not Listerine!) so you can absorb the flavors, then swallow.  Assuming the wine doesn’t make you vomit, go ahead and put your glass back down on the table and give the waiter another nod.  He will then pour glasses for everyone at the table, starting with the ladies, and ending with you.  After he’s done pouring your glass, look him in the eye and say, “Thank you.”  While the whole process is quite simple, you can see how it’s very easy to end up looking like a total dick if you overplay your part.  Learn to walk that fine line and I guarantee you will forever own the coveted position of ‘sophisticated wine guy.’ 

One more thing:  Whenever you buy a bottle of wine for your wife try and default to a medium to heavy red.  These wines are loaded with what are called tannins, which have the wonderful effect of stimulating a woman’s libido far more than any other type of alcohol.  A well earned reward for the one hour you spent on the internet learning about wine.

Every now and then, recommend the girlie movie

This is an incredibly powerful man move, and as such needs to be used sparingly, but every now and then, on a cold, nasty day, recommend without prompting that you watch her favorite girlie movie.  She’ll go friggin’ crazy!  The trick though is to use this move, at most, two or maybe three times a year.  Any more and the effect gets watered down  and she’ll start getting the idea that you actually want to watch the girlie movie, which will inevitably lead to more girlie movies for which you will get no credit.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Become a great lover

This one seems obvious.  After all, if you’re going to be spending the rest of your life with one person you better make sure your sex life is ready.  Now, when I say ‘great lover’ I don’t mean going out and buying some bullshit book about the Kama Sutra or some crap like that.  A great lover is not one who plants a million seeds and hopes one of them will grow.  A great lover is one who takes the time to make sure that when he plants a seed, it grows into a might oak! (Note:  Final outcome is dependent on what type of seed you plant in the first place)  He does this by figuring out what his partner likes and then building off that so as to increase his partner’s pleasure.  This requires that you be very observant of your spouse’s body language.  Women are a lot less likely to talk about what they want than men, so be prepared to learn to read between the lines.  Depending on the type of girl you married, you may find that she is up for anything and will always take the lead, but more likely you will find that your wife is up for just about anything, provided you make her feel comfortable about it first!  Don’t forget, women are just like men in that they want maximum sexual satisfaction, but unlike men they have been taught not to be as direct, which means a little gentle prodding might be called for.  Women will do almost anything you want them to do provided you give them a good reason, and no, them doing it because it gets you off is not a good reason.  If you feel that your sex life is suffering from your wife’s lack of adventure, I recommend two things:  First, take charge.  Women respect strength, especially in bed.  No matter what they may say, they all harbor secret desires about being the girl on the front of the cheap romance novel who gets flung into the hay pile and ravaged by the well hung farm boy.  It is your job to bring that desire out of hiding and into the bedroom, which you can do by taking charge.  Next time she gets home from work, before she’s even had a chance to put her things down and start talking about her day, walk over, pull her close to you with enough force that says, ‘I’m taking over’, kiss her passionately, and take her right there.  (Note:  Make sure the front door closed properly)  Don’t even give her a chance to protest, just make it clear that you intend to satisfy her desires and she’ll follow your every move.  Second, push the envelope.  The number one killer of married couple’s sex lives is routine.  If you do the same old thing it will quickly become boring and stale and before you know it you’re both lying in bed watching repeats of Law and Order instead of making love.  New positions are all well and good but unless you’re an Olympic gymnast odds are that you’ll be somewhat limited by the physical realities of love making.  (Nothing says ‘sexy’ like a strained back!)  Instead of trying some ridiculously complex position like the ‘inverted flying donkey’, mix up her favorite positions with new locations throughout your house along with new, unexpected and spontaneous times.  If you think she’s up for something a bit more…mature…I’ve got one word for you:  Amazon.com.  Remember, keep it fresh and creative and the passion will take care of itself.  It’s like stoking a fire:  Don’t focus on the flames, focus on the wood!

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stake out your territory

I hate the term ‘man cave.’  It implies that the woman has taken up every single square foot of the house and has made it such an unpleasant place for the man to be that he has no choice but to retreat to some hollowed out hole in search of refuge.  It’s terms like these that contribute to the idea that marriage is bad.  If you want a happy marriage you don’t need a mancave, you simply need to stake out your territory from the start.  I’m not saying you should draw a line down the center of the house but you do need to make sure that your wife isn’t designing a house that will make you want to puke every time you come home.  In most cases women are much more attuned to home decorating than men, which puts men at a distinct disadvantage when it comes times to move in together.  Whereas the woman will look at a piece of furniture and question whether it matches the existing sofa, wall colors and overall aesthetic feel of the room, a man will simply ask if it reclines.  This makes it difficult for men because they feel completely overmatched by women when it comes to home décor so rather than argue in favor of what they want, they simply give in, and give in, and give in, until one day they realize they are surrounded by pastels and have no choice but to seek refuge in the garage.  The key to ensuring that your home design incorporates elements that you find enjoyable is to educate yourself on the basics of home decorating, that way when she starts talking about flow, texture and accents, you’ll be able to engage her in conversation, counter her points, offer up your own, and arrive at a mutually beneficial compromise.  As with most things in marriage, TLC is a great place to start.  Simply tune into any show on home decorating and I guarantee that within one hour you’ll learn everything you need to know about ‘defining a room,’ ‘establishing a theme,’ and ‘identifying function.’  That said, once you enter into the home decorating arena you had better be prepared for combat because she is going to expect you to play at the same level as she does.  If her childhood dolls are all expensive collectors items you had better make sure that your G.I. Joe toys are in their original packaging!

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Become Mr. Fix It

Nothing makes a man seem sexier to his wife than the ability to fix things around the house.  Why do you think women watch all those TLC home shows?  Do you really think it’s because they’re that interested in how to lay drywall?!  Of course not!  It’s all the handy men on the shows who just happen to be hot!  It’s the same principal as news networks hiring really hot women to read the teleprompter; I’m not tuning in because I respect her journalistic integrity, all I care about are her killer legs!  Whether it’s a leaky faucet, some broken dry wall, or a blown fuze, if your wife knows she can count on you to fix the problem without going through the hassle of calling a repairman, you are well on your way to a happy life together.  Unfortunately, people know less and less these days about how to care for their home and more often than not are forced to call in expensive handymen to fix what usually turn out to be minor problems.  If this describes you, fear not, for you too can take advantage of home shows to learn all you need to know about basic home repair.  Just tune in to TLC, HGTV, or any other home-themed network on any given day and I guarantee there will be some show that shows you how to fix drywall, replace a cracked tile, change a fuze, paint like a pro, fix a leaky faucet, or any of the hundreds of other basic skills every home owner should know.  That way the next time one of those problems occurs, you can go to your local hardware store, find someone who knows what they are talking about, pick up the necessary tools and repair parts, go home, and get to work!  Be prepared for some rough going initially, but if you’re even marginally competent you’ll have it figured out in no time and not only will you have saved money, you’ll have increased your own self confidence and impressed your wife at the same time.  Remember, there is very little damage you can do to your house that can’t be fixed and if you do find yourself in over your head you can always call the repairman to fix what you screwed up.  Women judge men based on their intentions, so as long as you don’t flood the basement you’ll still get bonus points for trying.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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