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Surprise Her! How to Buy Romantic Gifts For Your Lady

© photo credit: mexindian

Okay men: so your anniversary is steadfastly approaching and your lady is growing more lovey dovey by the day, reviewing the year’s experiences together in full, mentally logging all the reasons why you’re so great and dreamy.

You know you need to have some sort of a gift for her, something great. So you gun it to the mall and find the perfect thing after only half an hour of tearing through Best Buy! What luck! She’s going to love her new pair of…high-tech earphones?

No, she won’t. Even if you’re positive she wanted earphones and these are way better than the ones she was going to get. Even if they’re in her favorite color and have her initials on them. She won’t want them. Not now. . .

Unbeknownst to too many men, romantic occasions, such as anniversaries, call for romantic gifts.

These romantic gifts should express your feelings for her in a way that warms her heart and makes her feel special; they should be intimate gifts that she wouldn’t receive from just anyone.

A romantic gift should bring you two closer together, not drive you apart; presenting her with a pair of earphones leaves her to conclude that you’re just like every other guy, not a special one – you’re not romantic, but pretty much like every other schmuck boyfriend she’s had that gave her gift certificates or DVDs on Valentine’s day.

Don’t do that to her. It never turns out well for either of you. And, if she doesn’t make your very unsentimental gift an issue at the time, just know that it will likely come back to bite you in the ass at some point, even years down the road.

So, what type of gift qualifies as romantic?

Think in terms of the categories listed below, and think very hard in terms of what you know about her in respect to them – meaning, if I suggest flowers, as I do under The You’re Sweet But Broke category, and you give her a bunch of lilies, knowing that she’s allergic to them, you still come off an insensitive schmuck and you can’t blame it on me.

Also, under each of the categories are a couple examples to get you thinking on the right track. And I’m giving you options in a variety of price ranges, so choose according to your means.

Remember, the rule of thumb is that if you’re broke, it’s the thought and the sensitivity you used to pick out just the right gift for her that counts, dedicating your time and efforts to the cause. If you’re not broke, and you don’t cough up the funds for this heartfelt expression, you’re cheap.

THE SOFT, CUDDLY AND CUTE

Fluffy, live animals like bunnies, kittens, puppies, etc. work here.

A caveat: don’t get her a pet she can’t commit to or that will get her evicted. Also, don’t buy her a chick – they grow up and what the hell is she going to do with a rooster or a chicken wandering around her apartment

As an alternative, oversized stuffed animals also fit into this category.

Valentines Day Gift

© photo credit: Nikita Kashner

THE PRETTY, SPARKLY

Go for the pretty, sparkly, real jewelry. Forget cubic zirconia – this is for your lady, not your Aunt Mildred with the wandering left eye who will wear any piece of jewelry, so long as it’s brightly colored and weighs over eight ounces.

THE PRETTY, YOU’RE SO PRETTY

Pick out pretty and feminine dresses or nightgowns with the assistance of a fashion-savvy, female family member.

Believe me, your girlie won’t be thrilled if she discovers your lovely friend Marisa, the one with the canyon cleavage, helped you pick it out – she’ll say it’s ugly; likewise, if it’s ugly because you had your Chico’s-sporting Aunt Mildred, who is typically robed in something that looks like a Jackson Pollock rendering, she’ll hate you a little and weigh the embarrassment of actually wearing it to make you feel good, against her love for you – not safe.

Also, this is not an opportunity to buy your love anything that has nipple tassels, or is vinyl or crotchless; if you’re good, maybe that will be your gift.

THE FANCY SMELL

Expensive perfumes by designers you’ve heard of. Go for names like Gucci or Armani and find a scent you actually find appealing.

THE GROOMING & PAMPERING

Get her spa treatments like massages, body wraps, facials,etc.

THE SWEPT AWAY TO FANTASY LAND

Take her on vacation or a weekend getaway.

If you can’t afford to take her to another country or state, pick the nicest place you can afford to take her that’s at least in a nice location, and whisk her away for a couple days. Bed and breakfasts are usually a splendid option.

If you can’t find one of those, or an impressive hotel, or if you find an impressive hotel , but it’s in a crappy location, make sure your room has a private hot tub – women like hot tubs and will forgive you the rest.

THE YOU’RE BROKE BUT SWEET

These gifts need to come in sets of twos or threes because they’re fairly paltry when gifted individually.

Boxes of gourmet chocolates from some specialty chocolate company (avoid Hershey’s like the plague if you don’t want to kill her – their chocolate all comes from Three Mile Island – you know, where that nuclear meltdown happened and has been giving inhabitants within a ten-mile radius all kinds if cancers ever since? Yeah, that one!), flowers, smaller stuffed animals, etc.

Caravaggio's Guitar Hero

cc: photo credit: Roberto Rizzato

THE TALENTED AND ALL YOURS

This category is only for you if you’re genuinely a talented artist and people other than your family and life coach have confirmed that talent.

If you’re not really all that impressive, you’ll just kind of look sad when you attempt to create something for her. And, looking sad, though it will garner you all kinds of attention and, perhaps, smothering kisses and ego-stroking, she’ll feel less attracted to you and more like your mother, willing to wipe away your tears of good effort and intentions, falsely building your confidence until you’re once again right as rain and ready to go out and play, leaving her to clean up your creative enterprise and later tell her friends in a voice reserved for infants and poor significant others who’ve missed the mark, “…oh, but you should have seen how cute he was!”

But, if you do have a bit of magic up your sleeves, or in your vocal cords, hands, or any part of your right brain, go to town expressing all the romantic feelings you have for her through your creative medium.

So, that’s all you get.

I’ll leave you with these final words of wisdom:
an ex-boyfriend of mine once showed up at my house on Valentine’s Day with a half-eaten box of juju beans that he dug into on the drive over. He was rich and had plenty of chic female friends and relatives to advise him. My roommate at the time told me he was a schmuck a minute after he walked into our apartment, and then, every time i was upset with him, she reminded me of how big of a schmuck he was on that day.

Men: I suggest you aim somewhere on the opposite end of the boyfriend-achievement spectrum; take my advice and don’t be that schmuck.

Bicyclists are Hot

Photo credit to Flickr's San Diego Shooter

Whether you’re a man or a woman, heterosexual, bisexual, or gay, there’s one thing you should always keep in mind: bicyclists are bound to be better in bed than the average nymphomaniac.

Why?

Well, after months of his persistent bribing and coaxing, my fiance (cyclist extraordinaire) finally succeeded in getting me onto a road bike and making me his bicycling buddy. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long until I felt comfortable riding. And once I did, I realized the true power of my hips.

One minute you’re white-knuckling your handlebars, the next you’re hands-free and ridiculously impressed with yourself.  You don’t know what happened, but it seems like you took a magic mambo pill. Your hips spring to life – they know what they’re doing, where they’re going, and they take control. Then, you think, ‘Whoa…I’m like sex in a bottle.’

And I haven’t even been riding for more than a couple months.

Therefore, when you date a bicyclist, it’s like you’re dating someone who’s studied the art of gyration. Plus, he or she has tons of other sexy bicycling-induced features – a firm tush, thighs that cooperate with one another for maximum gripping and squeezing action, and high muscle endurance!

On the flipside, if you’re incredibly desperate and couldn’t care less who your date is, so long as you get one, invest in a bike, make bicycling your new hobby, and hit the road to dramatically increase your appeal. And, who knows, you may even meet some hot bicyclist person on the right side of the gender street who’s been looking for a hot bicyclist partner to ride up and down steep hills with him/her.

Emoticons – Your Guide to Computer Lovin’

Photo Courtesy of wstera2

In today’s world, flirting over instant messaging is as common as it is over the phone. But how do we act so coy when we can’t giggle, bat our eyelashes or touch one another? Easy – emoticons! Various punctuation marks, strategically clustered, communicate all things love and kisses. Want a piece of the action? Use the following abbreviated guide to emoticon flirtation and make your next instant message conversation one worth saving to an external hard drive!

Expressing Emotion

:o  Surprise

:0  Big Surprise

=$  Goofy

&-l  Tearful

:-[  Pouting

:-# Embarrased

=^_^= Happy Blushing

\o/ Excitement

Actions

;;)  Batting Eyelashes

:*  Kiss

:D  Laugh

;)  Wink

:-{}  A Wet Kiss

:–P  Tongue Hanging Out

Role Playing

={D  Mustached Smile

<3 Ω  Love Bug

∫= Ω ;o  The Suave Frenchman

3:¬*} B  • ]>= M  Lady in Bikini on Beach

B>p ]   ÷  •  [ }  ==    Man in Swimsuit on Beach

Romantic Objects

<3  Heart

</3 Broken Heart

@—-\—- Rose

10 Opening Lines to Make That Hot Mailman YOUR Hot Mailman

When you find a man that shows up every day wind, rain or shine – hold on to him.

This article is dedicated to my friend Marie. Marie has a hot mailman.

She just happens to open her curtains and peer out the window every day, at the exact time the mailman happens to walk up to her house. He looks at her, she looks at him. He may think she’s creepy and spying on him; she thinks it’s mere coincidence. I think it’s fate.

But in the two years Marie’s lived in that house, she and the mailman have never exchanged more than a few words. It’s a shame – and if Marie never breaks the ice, it’ll be a complete waste of a perfectly hot mailman.

So, here are ten opening lines I’ve written so that she can get the proverbial ball rolling (Note that these can be used on any hot mailman):

  1. I love your car – it’s kind of like a sideways convertible!
  2. So, I feel so strange not knowing your name when you’ve seen mine hundreds of times.
  3. FedEx and UPS are way too fast for me. I like my delivery service to take its time.
  4. Wow, that’s a huge package! Is it for me?
  5. I really appreciate how reliable you are – whatever the weather, you always show up.
  6. I’m not from around here. I wondered if you knew of any interesting little places most people miss?
  7. Have you read The Postman Always Rings Twice? It’s my favorite.
  8. I wasn’t around for the holidays to leave you a gift, but I’d love to make up for it somehow.
  9. Blue. It’s such a great color on you.
  10. You know, I don’t even have email.

So, there you go…10 opening liners to make that hot mailman your hot mailman. Now, go get ’em, slugger!

Kablooey! 5 Ways to Celebrate Every Kiss 4th of July Style

Sparkler heart

Fireworks. There’s just something magical about those explosives. They’re loud, exciting, colorful, romantic, and have the ability to make you live in the moment. If only every kiss could have that electrifying quality…

Well, it can. Here are 5 ways to celebrate the spirit of 4th of July any day you want:

1. Pop in some pop rocks. Yeah…give your kiss an extra kick by holding a couple pop rocks in your mouth while your make out with your partner. You’re sure to feel the spark between the two of you when you create your own private fireworks show!

2. Snap some bubble wrap. There’s nothing like that 4th of July moment when you close your eyes and lean in for a kiss – you can’t see the fireworks, but you know they’re there; you can hear them as they’re peppering the sky.  Get the same effect with bubble wrap! Place a sheet or two between you and your kissing buddy – in any place your bodies are sure to make contact; as you kiss, see how many bubbles you can pop. My guess is you’ll start off slow and work into a finale! (For different intimacy levels, experiment with different sized bubbles.)

3. Motion-activated disco ball. Experience the magic and the flashes of color as you keep the celebration going! Need I say anything more?

4. Let Arfy and Tobias sparkle! You know those glow in the dark stickers you can get at Target or any game store? They sometimes come in the shape of stars and constellations. Well, attach a bunch of them to your dog’s and/or cat’s collar (or, if your dog’s wearing a sweater, you can stick them to that). When you’re kissing your partner that night in a dark room, you’ll be surrounded by the moving lights as each pet moves and jumps around. Note: NEVER attach anything sticky to your pets’ skin/fur – you’d be cruel by purposefully doing so, and we’d automatically hate you.

5. Light up your night with Lite-Brite! Remember that toy from your childhood wherein you popped little, peg-shaped light bulbs into thick, black paper to make fun designs? Well, set the stage by creating your invigorating designs in any color on Lite-Brites and strategically placing them around the room in which you intend to have your kiss. And then when you kiss your kissing buddy, start outside the room and back them into it. When the door’s closed, you’ll both get to enjoy the bursts of color between your fluttering eyelashes!

Now you can enjoy your fireworks without getting depressed when the 5th rolls around! Just try out some of these silly ideas and infuse any make out with a little bit of fireworks’ magic.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Scoobymoo

10 Things That Make a Film Fit for Date Night

Movie Night

Illustration by Josh Shayne

There are varying opinions as to what makes a movie suitable for a date night. The two I’ve heard most often usually come in the form of guy advice, since the guy’s expected to have a film in mind, or come up with one, if he’s asking a girl to the movies.

I’ve heard that the guy should pick a “scary” movie – the girl may get all nervous and cling onto him for emotional support or “protection” (you know, in case the Blob unexpectedly gains admission to the theatre, slithers down the center aisle and oozes into the couple’s row, the guy can whisk his date from her seat and hop with her, from seat back to seat back, Roberto Benigni style, toward the Exit door down by the screen).

The other advice I’ve heard is that the guy should choose a chick flick, as it always involves some sort of romantic scene that ought warm his date up. She’ll end up wanting that kind of passionate romance for herself and her date will probably be the next guy she ends up seeing; thus, she’ll figure he’s just the man to do the romancing. It will probably be agony for the guy to get through the film, but hey, the pay off is supposed to be worth it; his odds of hooking up with his date should be dramatically increased!

Well, who could guess that I find these two suggestions completely absurd.

The woman who responds to these two scenarios in such ways is either dim-witted, has a suspension of disbelief that ought to be analyzed by a team of Freudian psychologists, is playing along because she wants the same thing the guy wants, or is dating in the 1950s.

On my first date with my fiancé, we went to see “Pan’s Labyrinth.” And though that film is awesome for a number of reasons, it did scare the hell out of me. I didn’t know him very well at the time, so instead of grabbing onto his bicep for emotional support during various scenes, I cupped my hands to my eyelids and waited for them to end. We hardly spoke when driving away from the theatre, and didn’t end up having a second date for another year!

What I’m saying is to choose your film wisely, so that even if it ends up being bad (you can’t predict that the film will be good or not, unless you’ve seen it ahead of time), at least the two of you should be in a fairly decent mood when it’s over.

date pornTry to choose a film that meets the following criteria:

  1. It was given good reviews by tough critics
  2. It was suggested by your date
  3. It either won or was a runner up in a prestigious film festival (think Cannes or Sundance)
  4. It’s lighthearted or conveys some kind of uplifting message
  5. It’s not about a bad or bizarre relationship
  6. It’s not about anything creepy or disgusting (no disturbing voyeurs or characters that are pretty much repulsive)
  7. It doesn’t deal with a controversial subject – even if the two of you have the same viewpoint, it’s not really romantic to get worked up over a tense issue
  8. It’s not considered a “chick flick” or an “action flick”
  9. It’s not overly crass, sexual, or juvenile – no films like Happy Gilmore or Step Brothers
  10. It’s a film you genuinely believe will be enjoyable to both of you

Remember, it’s always good to ask around for a good film suggestion, especially if you’re asking for one from a member of the opposite sex. Good luck!

Creative Commons License photo credit: debaird™

A Flower’s Worth a Thousand Words; A Guide to 10 Flowers in Your Grocery Store

Whether they’re for your mother, girlfriend, secret admirer, sister, professor, manly man-friend, or someone else altogether, you’ll want to take care when selecting which type of flower to send to him or her so that you don’t give off a wrong impression or freak someone out or something. Didn’t think that flowers would be this complicated? Well, think again. 

Most varieties of flowers have specific meanings ascribed to them, so that in giving them as a gift, you’re also sending a pretty clear message. Ah, the power of a flower!

Now before you just throw in the towel on this whole flower idea and reluctantly opt to give something that’s utterly vacuous, like a Hallmark card featuring a happily-colored sky and topped off with a neat little truism dressed up as a poem, I’ve taken care of the research and made the process of flower picking a cinch.

Here’s a quick guide to the most common flowers found in grocery stores:

Eine rote Rose

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photo credit: MrOmega
1. Roses

Colors: Tons of different colors

Associated Meanings: Each color has a unique meaning.

Your Color Breakdown: Red: Passionate Love (but if you’re giving only one of them, the message is clear: Sex); White: Humility and Innocence; Yellow: Friendship; Pink: Gratitude; Orange: Enthusiasm and Desire; Purple: Love at First Sight.

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Obviously, give Reds and Oranges to your Lover, Purple to someone you’re infatuated with; Whites are given at wedding and baby showers; give Yellows to Friends if you’d like to wish them well; Give Pinks to say thank you to Professors or someone who helped you out.

Smile to the world...

Creative Commons License photo credit: Parvin ♣( OFF for a while )
2. Lilies (Stargazer)

Colors: There’s a range, but you’ll most commonly see White and Pink

Associated Meanings: Each color tends to have a unique meaning

Your Color Breakdown: White: Sympathy; Pink: Wealth and Prosperity

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Give the White variety to someone who has suffered a loss, and the Pink one to newlyweds, a business partner, or adult to whom you want to wish a happy future, like a college graduate.

Cream White Carnation

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photo credit: David Blackwell (back to black)
3. Carnations

Colors: Wide Range, with every color being unique in meaning.

Associated Meanings: Every color tends to be unique in meaning, with the overall theme being Love, Luck and Fascination. The striped ones are exceptions, though, standing for Regret and Refusal.

Your Color Breakdown: White: Pure Love and Good Luck; Light Red: Admiration; Dark Red: Deep Love and Affection; Purple: Capriciousness; Pink: the Undying Love of a Mother; Green: Luck of the Irish; Yellow: Disappointment and Dejection

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: You can obviously give the White ones to anyone you want to wish luck and the Dark Red ones to your lover; it’s probably a good idea not to gift the Purple ones; Light Red is good for professors;  Pink works for Mother’s Day or if you want to earn some brownie points with your mother-in-law; Green is all the rage on St. Patrick’s Day; Yellow is good to give in situations akin to the following: you’re a stockbroker, the market just crashed, and you have several meetings that day – buy some Yellow Carnations for each of your clients.

Wild Abandon

Creative Commons License photo credit: dandy_fsj
4. Daisies

Colors: There’s a Wide Variety

Associated Meanings: Joy, Happiness, Innocence, and New Beginnings

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Great gift for people embarking on new business ventures, Newlyweds, new parents, etc. Also good to just give anyone for a happy occasion

Purple Iris

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photo credit: nickwheeleroz
5. Irises

Colors: A few different colors, but you’ll mostly find them in Purple

Associated Meanings: Communication, Messages, Wisdom

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Because this flower can convey so many emotions, it’s seen as appropriate to give to just about anyone.

white snapdragon

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photo credit: jmtimages[waka waka…]
6. Snapdragons

Colors: There’s a range, but you’ll most commonly see White and Pink

Associated Meanings: Graciousness and Strength (though it does have a flipside, in which it can stand for deception – but we’ll choose to ignore this since it would be kind of creepy, crappy, and weird of you to buy someone a flower because you intend to stab them in the back somehow)

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: This flower’s appropriate for just about anyone, particularly those who find enjoyment in life’s little things and would like popping a flower’s mouth open and seeing it snap shut.

bronze chrysanthemums

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photo credit: Martin LaBar
7. Chrysanthemums

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Love, Optimism, and Joy (Really Cool Tidbit: the Japanese have an annual “Festival of Happiness” to celebrate them)

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Basically give them to whoever you’d like to wish that person a happy, long, and healthy life.

Gladiolus with texture

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photo credit: tanakawho
8. Gladioli

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Strength, Moral Integrity, Infatuation, and Remembrance

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: “Gladius” is Latin for “sword.” So in one regard, think of this flower as something appropriate to give to someone you’re proud, find honorable, or want to encourage. In another regard, give it to someone you admire to “pierce” his/her heart – in much the same was as an arrow from Cupid would – and make him/her yearn for you.

sun shining through

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photo credit: gorgeoux
9. Astroemerias

Colors: Wide Range; From Pinks to Reds to Oranges to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Devotion and Friendship

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Give them to a friend, a professor, someone you care about in a friendly-kind of way to say that you appreciate him or her. Not quite the flower that says “I love you” to your mother or date/lover, or “thanks for all the hard work” to your postal worker.



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photo credit: sinkdd
10. Hydrangeas

Colors: Wide Range; From Reds to Yellows to Purples to White

Associated Meanings: Enduring Grace and Beauty

Give Them to Who? Give Them When?: Your Female Lover

There you have it: a decent knowledge of grocery store flowers. So next time you go to buy your love (or anyone else) a bouquet, pick prudently; give her (or him) a flower that means something!

Lose the Ruffles or Lose the Groom! 10 Ghastly Gowns to Pass Up

Let’s face it – when you walk down the aisle, you want your groom with his mouth agape, wondering how he got so lucky. The perfect gown is crucial for delivering that perfect moment, transforming you from a mere mortal into a sort of glowing super-bride.

And the best thing about it is that the groom doesn’t even get to witness this transformation because he’s traditionally not allowed to see the dress before the ceremony. You leave him in jeans and then return to him wearing the incredible super-dress and he’s just standing there like, “wow! I’m going to marry her?!” And you’ll just have a smile on your face as you’re walking down, thinking, “I’m marrying him…” but under that, you’ll be thinking “Yeah…I’m a magical, glowing super-bride…”

And that’s awesome. That’s what’s supposed to happen. In fact, most of the gowns out there are incredible super-dresses. Most. Don’t be the woman who gets carried away with the wrong super-bride fantasy and makes the groom experience a medley of emotions in the twenty seconds between when he sees you in that thing and when he has to vow his eternal devotion to you – it’s not kind. You don’t want to be skanky-bride, silly-bride, six-year-old-bride, or just-plain-scary-bride.

So, with that said, avoid these following (or anything closely resembling these) horrid fashion creations like the plague:

1. Here’s a gown I found that could easily be misconstrued as having a whimsical, sea goddess-type appeal, what with the giant starfish and all. But take it from me: the only preternatural quality you’ll have will be the result of showing up for your wedding with a giant star centered on your stomach, kind of reminding your loved ones of a Care Bear.

starfish wedding dress and tabletop
Creative Commons License photo credit: coco+kelley

2. Wear this gown and not only your love, but also all your guests (many of whom are relatives) will find themselves treated to an IMAX showing of your bosoms. On the other hand, this feature may prove helpful in drawing their attention away from the dress itself, which appears to be made out of a popcorn ceiling.

Video Genitallica

photo credit: molcatron

3. A gown this skimpy will mortify your beloved when you begin your walk down the aisle, leaving him to wait anxiously for the moment he’ll be able to whisper to you that you forgot to put your dress on. Meanwhile, the guests you pass by will be looking nervously at your backside, wondering whose gift you happened to sit on.

Photo Credit: dris

Creative Commons License photo credit: dris

4. If you want your wedding to seem like it’s straight out of a fairytale, don’t forget to model yourself after one of the more attractive fairy tale characters and wear a grotesque dress like this one. The magic will be in your consideration of the details, such as recognizing that since the 1960s never produced any noteworthy fairytale princesses, it’s unlikely that your groom will find anything enchanting or whimsical about such a discordant color combination. I think it’s a fair assessment that no Disney character would even be caught dead wearing this.

Photo credit: locket479

5. It’s very hard to get away with a wedding dress that isn’t some kind of milky tone, much less one in this bubblegum shade. Even if bubblegum pink happens to be your favorite color and makes you feel all giggly and feathery-light inside, it’s not worth your lover likening you to the six year old flower girl.

Photo credit: *lynne*

6. This particular gown illustrates two key criteria that every wedding gown should be measured against before it’s even remotely considered capable of dazzling the groom: i) Just about anything dominated by a giant bow is hideous; one definitely shouldn’t be on your dress. ii) Make sure you don’t blind your beloved by selecting a dress fashioned out of highly reflective material.

Photo credit: Häßliche Kleider

7. A wedding veil is traditionally worn to accentuate a bride’s modesty. Not surprisingly, your groom may fail to detect this virtuous quality in you if your headpiece is borrowed from an old nanny or French maid Halloween costume.

Photo credit: dno1967

8. If you’re looking to artistically express the many feelings your beloved inspires within you, you may wish to choose a medium that will do your work the most justice. Unfortunately, if you decide to wear your emotions on your gown, the paints may appear less like emotions to him and more like the aftermath of crashing into wet wall art.

Photo credit: Emory Co Photo

8. There’s nothing about this bold gown that will transform you into the personification of everlasting love and devotion always envisioned by your groom. Whether or not you look ravishing in it, your wedding may prove an inappropriate time to dress like a dancer from the Moulin Rouge.

dunikowski

9. Your groom is likely to have some fairly strange thoughts when he realizes that you, his life-partner, chose to wear a gown constructed entirely out of toilet paper; he’ll probably not be consumed with the feelings of romance and passion experienced by most grooms.  And just a quick thought: this would be one wedding where rain wouldn’t mean good luck for the bride.

jessica ann mills

10. This Valentino dress may convey a certain dreamy quality to you, if you’re a fashionista, but the odds are against your significant other’s appreciating it. From what I’ve gathered, extreme fashion tends to seem hyperbolic to most men, not attractive. If you were to walk down the aisle wearing this, you’re bound to launch your groom into a state of bewilderment.

Photo found on commons.wikimedia.org

11. Donning this dress may prove overstimulating to your beloved if he looks at it for too long. However, there’s a bright side to this overwrought and puffy garment: if you wear it, you’ll have no need for a purse; anything you might need can be used to fill your humongous sleeves, including two turkey legs, should you and your groom get hungry between vows.

Photo found on commons.wikimedia.org

Old-Fashioned Romancing: Know Your Shakespeare!

Yürüyelim Seninle İstanbul'daSo, you want to sweep your Juliet off her feet and show her that behind your tough, virile exterior is a hopeless romantic. Fabulous!

You rummage through some mental notes and finally decide to melt her heart by reciting some tender poetry. Even More Fabulous!

But wait! Just because you can remember a few lines doesn’t mean you’re a regular minstrel. On the contrary, you’ll come across more pathetic than poetic if you rush into the thing without some consideration.

Here are some poetic guidelines to point you in the right direction so you’ll be a charismatic Casanova and not a dud Don Juan:

DO:

  • Put some thought into finding a piece that will send the right message – nothing depressing, or too sappy, clingy, or abstract; find something that fits your theme of classic romance. We recommend Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which regards eternal and unchanging love.
  • Rehearse in front of the mirror – nothing ruins the mood you’re trying to set like some of the ridiculous hand gestures and facial expressions people often use to help them get the words out.
  • Record yourself reciting the piece and then critique it – you’ll be able to catch and fix anything funky that you may not recognize by just practicing it normally.
  • Make sure it’s well-memorized – this is a given, hopefully.
  • Know your poem – the WORST thing you can do is not know what you’re talking about. Analyze the metaphors in it, read something about it, and for God’s sake, know who wrote it and how to pronounce his/her name!

DON’T:

  • Make it awkward – by this, I mean to refrain from doing any number of  awkward things while you’re reciting your love poem. These include: staring (especially at inappropriate anatomical parts), smiling like you’re drunk and sleepy (it’s not cute, nor does it make you look sensitive or friendly), nodding when you’re reciting lines that you feel to be particularly applicable to either her or your love for her, spitting, clapping for yourself when you’re through, etc.
  • Choose a bad time – you’ll want to make sure she’s not in a bad mood or doing something when you begin. And make sure other people aren’t around; this is just for her.
  • Wear something ugly – if she means something to you, you should show her by actually molding your hair into whatever shape you think looks best (with only a moderate amount of gel), showering, brushing your teeth, and wearing some nicer clothes. Don’t even think about wearing a costume of any sort or, on the other side of the spectrum, touching those Birkenstocks!
  • Use props – just don’t.
  • Say something stupid afterward – give the romantic gesture a second or two to sink in before you say anything. Let her speak first, if you don’t know what to say; don’t let your nerves take over and make you say something ridiculous like, “um…so now what?” in order to break the ice.

This kind of romantic gesture takes a lot of commitment. But hey, so does love, if you’re really in it. And, trust me, you don’t really want to forgo all the hard work and do a sloppy job – it would be really counterproductive for the apple of your eye to think back on your recitation and remark, “umm…he tried?”

Creative Commons License photo credit: adsoy

Getting Cheeky: Kiss Like a European

kissmycheek

    You’re about to say goodbye to your good friend, Monique who is visiting from Paris. You go to hug her and she goes to kiss your cheek. Do your noses collide or are you clued-in as to which cheek gets kissed first? And how many kisses will this farewell take?

    In Paris and central France, most people give two kisses – one on each cheek. But a swath of northern France, from Normandy to the Belgian border, opted in general for four. And southeastern France, from Marseilles to the Alps, preferred three. The French upper class seems to go for two kisses. But which cheek first, dammit!!

    The answer? Nobody knows. The Italians kiss all over the place — left, right, it doesn’t matter which is first. In Spain you have to kiss the right cheek first or risk having your toes stomped. The French may prefer that you kiss the left cheek first, but this is heavily influenced if you are dyslexic.

    Photo: moonsoleil on flickr