According to Hollywood and Korean dramas, romance means $10,000 bouquets, public proposals, and serenading one’s beloved outside of her window. But what happens when the person you’re pursuing hates romance? What happens when she face-palms over flash mob proposals, turns her nose up at flowers, and slaps away any attempt at PDA?
She might not be the most romantic person in the world, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop doing things that would make her feel loved. The key to wooing an “unromantic” person lies in loving them in their own terms, not yours – this means paying attention to the things she appreciates and then doing them as often as possible. And yeah, we get it. This could take a while.
But in the meantime, here are some simple do's and don'ts for getting started:
DON'T: Do a flash mob
DO: Make her a mix
Flash mobs look great on YouTube, but are difficult to pull off – especially when the person they’re intended for clearly wants to disappear into thin air. So save yourself and your person the effort (and embarrassment) by sticking to something a little more private and personal: a mix. Since CDs aren’t exactly in vogue, store it on one of those USB flash drives shaped like a Minion, Rilakkuma, a heart or whatever she likes – she’ll appreciate its practical value.
DON'T: Send flowers and teddy bears to her office
DO: Surprise her at her office with coffee or a packed lunch
Some women like inspiring jealousy at the office with giant bouquets and singing quarters. Others stash their flowers in the car before anyone can notice them. So if you’re dead-set on surprising your S.O. at the office, stick with something more subtle.
DON'T: Scatter rose petals and light candles all over her house
DO: Help her do her least favourite chore
To you, roses and candles mean atmosphere. To her, they mean extra cleanup. While only a few people would appreciate coming home to romantic lighting, no one would deny the joy of coming home to a clean house. So instead of ripping up roses, take out the trash, do the dishes, and change her light bulbs.
DON'T: Serenade her in public
DO: Say “I love you” at least once a day
There are few moments in life as awkward as the moment someone serenades you in front of a group of strangers, when you regard being serenaded and being gawked at by strangers with an equal amount of loathing. So keep your affections private. At the end of the day, you want her to feel loved, and declaring it to the world when she hates being stared at comes across as a little self-serving.
DON'T: Surprise her with a home-cooked six-course dinner and a quartet of violinists
DO: Take her to a nice restaurant that she loves
Okay, so a 6-course dinner with live music might sound a little over-the-top, but the point is that you shouldn’t do anything that she’d feel obligated to reciprocate. The reason so many “unromantic” women hate grand gestures is that while it would never occur to them to express their love in such an ostentatious way, you’ve unwittingly created an expectation for them to outdo you. So if you know your girl is a little low-key, keep it that way – book a reservation at a nice restaurant, and she’ll be able to enjoy the gesture for what it is: a simple, romantic date night.
DON'T: Show up outside her house in the middle of the night to declare your love
DO: Declare your love with a text message, a love letter, or the old-fashioned way: spoken out loud
In this day and age, showing up outside someone’s window will earn you a restraining order, not a kiss. Anyway, Sleeping Beauty needs her beauty sleep. Either message her before going to bed, or save it for the daylight hours.
DON'T: Propose to her in front of a hundred people
DO: Ask her how she would like to be proposed to
The only thing worse than being serenaded in public is being proposed to in public. On stage. In front of all your friends and family. Or worse, on Kiss Cam during a sports game. While some people enjoy – even favour – public proposals, you should know better to stage one for someone can’t even sit through an entire flash mob video on YouTube.
So sure, it doesn’t sound super romantic to ask your partner what kind of proposal she would want before actually popping the question, but it beats doing something she hates (after all, you only get one shot!). Does she want complete privacy or would she be okay with having a couple of close friends as onlookers? Does she want something creative, or something simple? You don’t need to be so direct -- you can go about it obliquely by commenting on your mutual friends’ proposals and gauging her reactions to them.
DON'T: Write love poems for her
DO: Buy her a book of poems that remind you of her
Unless you’re a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, this ain’t gonna work. The risk of corniness is too high. Sorry man, but you’re safer off buying her a collection of Shakespearean sonnets than pretending you are Shakespeare. If you really must write something original, then pen a (non-rhyming) inscription in the front of the book.
DON'T: Prepare a bubble bath for her
DO: Watch her favourite show, read her favourite book, or watch her favourite movie, and at least pretend to like it
We non-romantics don’t understand this at all. What’s so romantic about drawing someone a bath? Isn’t that something you do for kids? If you really want to give your S.O. a sweet means of relaxing after work, then show some interest in something she actually likes, even if you hate it. If she likes cycling, then take the evening off for night cycling in East Coast Park. If she lovesLord of the Rings, then tell her you’re going to embark on a marathon. And if she loves The Hunger Games, then pick up the first book and read it in front of her: we can guarantee that she’ll go into an adorably nerdy meltdown.
DON'T: Feed her at a restaurant
DO: Surprise her with takeaway dessert the next time you dine out
We don’t know anyone, romantic or not, who appreciates being fed at a fancy restaurant. Firstly, there’s too high a risk of spillage. Secondly, we’re not three years old. The only time you should feed us is if we’re in bed with the flu. If you really want to woo someone, surprise her at home with a takeaway order the next time you dine out. It could be a slice of cake, an order of truffle fries, or heck, even a burger. Bonus points if you include a DVD and turn the gesture into an impromptu movie night.