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What Do Men Find Romantic?
By Sara Eckel
When it comes to romance, guys get a bad rap. The conventional wisdom is that they are an unromantic bunch, who'd rather chug a beer in front of the TV than sip champagne by candlelight. But men can be just as romantic as women, though they often express it in different ways. With the help of Matthew Milner, founder of GuyCritical.com, we've uncovered just what makes men swoon. Below, GuyCritical's panelists, who answer women's relationship questions on the site, bare their souls. Relationship experts Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D, author of What Should I Do? 4 Simple Steps to Making Better Decisions in Everyday Life (Perigee/Penguin Putnam), and Michael Webb, founder TheRomantic.com, offer additional insights.
1. Compliments. The quickest path to a man's heart is through his ego. "The other day, my lady told me she thought I was sexy. That was so cool! I'd never heard that before and it blew me away!" says a schoolteacher from Chicago. A political consultant from Washington, D.C. agrees: "The most romantic thing in the world is for you to be in awe of your man's skills -- whether it's his ability to make people laugh, perform at sports, fix things, or retrieve and display esoteric knowledge. Let him wow you," he says.
2. Dark chocolate. "Milk chocolate is for kids. Dark chocolate is for lovers," says Weinstein, who explains that dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa, which means it has more phenylethylamine, a chemical that mimics the feeling you have when you're in love.
3. Hard-to-find gifts. Is his college sweatshirt so faded you can't decipher the name of his alma mater? Is he mourning the loss of a rare comic book that his mother threw away when he left home? Does he collect antique hood ornaments? Webb says that a gift that requires some effort is sure to be a big hit with your guy. "Men and women tend to express love differently. Women are usually the more nurturing types and tend to think of romance in terms of 'soft touches' while men express love in more practical ways," says Webb.
4. You, in his clothes. "Come to the dinner table wearing nothing but his button-down dress shirt. Now that's romance!" says an artist from Boston.
5. Funny movies. "A lot of people say that shared values or goals are what make a relationship work," says Weinstein. "But to me it's a shared sense of humor. If you like the Marx Brothers and your date doesn't, then it's simply not going to work," he says. "When you can find someone to laugh with, then you know you're really connecting."
6. A great memory. A picture really does paint a thousand words -- especially if it's of the two of you tanned and glowing at a beachside resort. "I went to my girlfriend's office and saw that she had a picture of us on vacation in Cancun," says a Seattle construction worker. "Little things like that just make you feel great."
7. An old-fashioned night on the town. A publisher in New York says that he isn't a huge romantic, but he admits that the rotating dance floor at the Rainbow Room makes him pretty gooey. "You're surrounded by well-dressed couples of all ages who know how to dance. This gives the effect of being in a romantic movie about old New York. Plus, it's a little disorienting with all that spinning around, which puts you in a dreamlike state," he says.
8. Tall buildings. Because in general guys just like big stuff. But also because taking in such a huge view can put life into perspective. "The tremendous view of the city with all its lights is not only awesome in its own right, but accentuates the essential smallness of the individual person," says a Chicago attorney. "Thus humbled, it is most comforting to realize, at that instant, you're not alone in the world."
9. Surprise intimacy. Whether it's an unexpected kiss or an afternoon jaunt to the bedroom, men swoon when women say "Come hither." "We like surprises -- like when you initiate sex at odd times, or rent a room in the middle of the day. We also like beaches, bed-and-breakfasts, and when you squeeze our thigh at a snooty dinner party. Oh, and baths. We like bubble baths," says a writer from New York.
10. P.S. I love you. They may not always admit it, but many men report that they love getting affectionate little notes. "I particularly like finding a note in my suitcase when unpacking on a business trip," says an executive from Dallas. Weinstein agrees. He loves getting a surprise note or email with an affectionate message, and says that a "p.s." increases the charm. "There's something about the p.s. that people respond to. It reminds us of when we were at camp and our mom wrote. P.S. I love you, or the note our high-school sweetheart stuffed into our locker."
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