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“You’re not a romantic guy.”

These are the words I remember coming out of my platonic’s friend mouth. Okay, those may have came in a different order, but that was the sum of it all.

I laughed and responded, “You know, I have been told that a few times in my life.”

I didn’t get it then, and I kind of don’t now. I’m a nice guy and I do nice things; but somehow I guess things get lost in translation. Unfortunately, I am not the only man walking around feeling this way.

“Look, I’m not the kind of guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. I’m not gonna be 2Pac writing poems, gazing into eyes in awe, or shed a tear while making love. That’s just not me. Flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day? I’m not doing that sh*t, either…I’ll do something else they won’t ever forget,” I jokingly continued.

So, here are a few things that I have come up with in efforts of you understanding your man better, and us all getting on an equal playing field. While everyone is unique, the process is the same.


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Effort, Expectations, and Possibilities

I decided to do a little research and then put myself under the microscope. I asked a few of my women friends what was their idea or what do they consider romantic? The consensus was expectations and effort. Not just in a traditional sense, but knowing that a guy would cater what they consider to be romantic beliefs to what the woman would desire.

For example: If someone I was dating considers a public profession of adoration romantic. That’s not how I roll, per se; but I did so because I knew that meant everything to them.

Another one of my friends quoted Love Jones to me. The “Romance is about the possibility of the thing…When people who have been together for a long time say that the romance is dead they just exhausted the possibilities” line.

I felt a way about the sappiest of black romance movies being quoted at me (I assume that’s part of my issue); but I understood that. Effort sets the precedent for expectations and when done correctly can lead to endless possibilities. There’s always something to look forward to; or you’ll never quite know what’s next to expect.

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The five love languages are very real. We all give and receive love in different manners. Some feel that gift-giving means that their significant other was thinking about them, others feel that words speak louder than actions, and so on and so forth. Everyone has needs and even those who claim that they don’t have expectations do.

The best place to start is actually talking this out. What have men done that were considered amazing and what was done where others have failed? Truth be told, this in itself is what men would consider a romantic gesture. Primarily because I don’t really want to hear about no other guy you were with, but listening to each other and knowing each other’s history is important, plus I’m looking for a place to start, and want to fail as little as possible.




Owning Who You Are and Making That Work

I’m not a sappy guy. I’m a “manly” man (for lack of a better expression, maybe alpha male is a better description). Using the movie Love Jones as a reference, I’m not Darius. I own that and make that work for me. Many guys aren’t. Knowing how I operate, I find it best to compromise by doing something that would mean a lot to my significant other with a personal flair that has “Chad” written all over it. Ladies, don’t overlook those things.



There’s Always Something New To Learn

Personally, I know that my effort is second to very few that I know.Words are everything to me; yet I tend to not use them effectively and that is where a gesture that could be seen as a 10 comes off as a four, which is true for many guys.

So, I was seeing this girl for about six months. I really liked her…I may have even loved her. We were out in lower Manhattan along with a family member of hers and I had my daughter with me as well. She mentioned that she needed a new bag for her laptop because she carries hers around everywhere for her profession. We ran into one that she really wanted and right as she was about to buy it a check hadn’t cleared so she had to wait. I wanted her to not only have what she needed, but what she wanted and for it to come from me.

I didn’t have the money at the time either. So, I sold all of my jewelry with the exception of the ring on my hand and the earrings I was currently wearing. I had to be in Manhattan in the early part of the afternoon and I sent her a text asking what she was up to during the day. I waited around and kept busy until she said that she was free. Around 7:30 pm she sent me a text saying that she was getting her hair done and it had been a bad day, so we should probably reschedule. I was already around the corner with this bag tied to my daughter’s stroller. I walked in, said something like “I hope your day is a little better,” and handed her the bag. She lit up and it was sweet…but it wasn’t romantic.

I operate under the “real people do real things” mantra, so saying all that I had done to get the bag would have been too much and I feel like it would have been showing off (or something used against me in an argument at another time). I told my platonic friend about this the other day and she told me, “The action of acknowledging her need was sweet, but had you said something along the lines of why you did it and that you wanted to be the one to get it would have made the difference…That’s why you’re not romantic.”

My friend then explained to me what I hadn’t realized was that while the gift was nice what was most important to this girl were the words to go with it. As often as she’d counsel me through our arguments, she told me that almost everything to her came down to words.  She then ended it by saying “That was her key to unlocking the door of limitless possibilities.”

While I’m still learning, I hope women also recognize the efforts we make in our attempts to be more romantic.

…Damn you, Larenz Tate!

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