Why girls wish life was more like ‘Love Actually’ – A clueless male’s guide to the fundamentals of being the contemporary Prince Charming

The phrase ‘romantic gesture’ is one that habitually leaves men baffled. Guys, you’ve really got no excuses- we’ve bombarded you with dozens of chick flicks over the years in the secret hope that you might take some of the romantic ideas on board. When we coo over finding our ‘lost’ Love Actually DVD and suggest you watch it for the fourth time – it’s actually a ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink, why don’t you use some of this as inspiration?’ strategy. (Oh, you didn’t realise?) Well, the intention of this article is to help all the oblivious men out there with a bit of romantic problem solving.

A massive predicament with men seems to be planning – and in particular, the phenomenon of the ‘panic buy’.
Picture the scene, you’re a dense male and it’s your girlfriend’s birthday. Your dilemma is you’ve only just remembered it’s her birthday – ON THE DAY (inexcusable), so you rush out and ‘solve the problem’.
Now, you may be thinking that the ‘luxurious’ bouquet of flowers you’ve just bought is the answer, but think again, and keep your wilting delight to yourself – we can see straight through you. The likelihood is, you’ve grabbed a drooping bunch of £3.99 chrysanthemums from the BP garage, and that’s really not going to fool anyone – especially a woman. Not to mention the well-known fact that most men only buy flowers when they’re in the dog house – so unless you’re willing to commit to buying them regularly – don’t bother.

To stop you from becoming bamboozled – here’s a summary of the gifts that go down really well with a woman: jewellery, shoes and handbags – (ideally all at the same time). Also, naturally feel free to fly your girlfriend across to world to an exotic location in order to confess your undying love to her – but let’s face it, we’re realistic and we know we’ll be lucky to get a surprise Chinese takeaway on a Friday night.

Now, back to the topic of shoes – if you’re going to buy them, please make sure you get her shoe size right, as be warned, bringing home a pair of size 10’s will cause female rage that is stronger than the worst case of PMT you’ve ever faced. As for jewellery, in general, the more expensive, the better (sorry). I’ve heard that the ‘Elizabeth Duke’ range at Argos doesn’t go down too well. If you’re tempted to buy clothes, trust me, unless you know her sizes perfectly as well as her exact style – then I’d suggest you forget about it. That sequinned gold jacket may look ‘edgy’ to you, but to her, it’ll look like Cilla Black’s best pulling outfit. Not a good move.
Now onto the topic of handbags – if she’s told you there’s a particular *designer* one she wants – do not, under any circumstances look for a ‘bargain’ version on Ebay. If she ends up unwrapping Goochie instead of Gucci, there will be BIG TROUBLE.

In a nutshell, yes, it’s a fact that women like expensive, pretty things; however you can stop clutching your parched wallet in angst because the true thing women love is…romance. So, what exactly is romance? Well, the simple answer is, thinking ahead and showing how important your girl is to you. Just a quick point – NEVER, EVER say: “I was going to get you [blank] but I couldn’t because…[pathetic explanation]”. If you haven’t got us something, we don’t need to know about your intention to get it. For some reason, guys are mistaken into thinking it will make girls feel better to know they intended to get something nice, but failed. Trust me, it doesn’t make us feel better, it makes us think you are pathetic and incompetent. Something that does work wonders though, is the quality of being chivalrous and every girl loves to meet a man who opens doors for her, showers her with compliments and treats her like a lady.

Now it’s time for the ultimate tip – the most romantic thing a guy can do and the most invaluable piece of advice I can give a man is…LISTEN.
Girls are constantly dropping hints; we just can’t help it – whether it’s pointing out how amazing those stilettos are in the shop window, chatting about how we’ve always wanted to go to Lake Garda or perhaps the casual hint during our favourite chick flick. Guys, I know it’s tough, but all you have to do is stop yourself from switching off every time your girlfriend speaks – and the answers to all your problems will be there.
In the words of Alexander the Meerkat – ‘Simples’.

© 2010 Alicia Drewnicki

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