The men’s site ModernMan.com recently compiled a funny list of “5 Romantic Gestures She’ll Hate.” Unlike a lot of articles on men’s websites that purport to understand women, I actually found this list to be totally accurate. Among the romantic gestures women will actually loathe? Homemade “coupons” good for “backrubs,” buying her items she needs (a new vacuum!) rather than wants, and jumbotron proposals. But Modern Man missed several other romantic gestures women actually despise. Here are 15 more.1. Surprising Us With “Sexy” Lingerie: There are so many ways this can go wrong. For starters, lingerie really kind of falls under the umbrella of “gifts for her that are really for him.” Look, every gal needs bras and undies, but “sexy” lingerie tends to be impractical, which means we won’t get much use out of it. Plus, you’re walking into dangerous territory by buying her something that you find sexy, in size terms that are totally foreign to the male brain. In other words, she may think what you’ve picked out is so grotesque that it reflects badly on your sexual proclivities and she’ll be totally offended if you’re off on the sizes.
What To Do Instead: If you honestly believe that sexy lingerie is a gift that your significant other would appreciate, make a date to go shopping for it together. You can pick out something you both like, she’ll know what size she fits into, and, best of all, she can get the seduction started by modeling some of her options for you in the dressing room.
2. Serenading Us In Public: Or ever, really, even in private, unless your singing talent is genuinely to be revered. Proof that very few women would actually like a man to sing to her: on ABC’s most schmaltzy show ever, “The Bachelorette” (in which every cheesy romantic stunt is encouraged), Kasey tried to woo Ali by warbling a tune. She was mortified. He looked like a moron. Audiences at home pissed their pants with laughter. It will be even worse for you.
What To Do Instead: If you still want to be kind of cheesy (and you have “connections”), take her to see her favorite indie band and then have them dedicate her favorite song to her. For the guy who doesn’t have connections, call in and request her favorite song on the radio station you know she listens to every morning on the way to work. The gesture is still sweet and thoughtful — and the song’s meaning will still be a message from your heart — but it will be delivered by someone who can actually sing.
3. Cribbing Anything From A Romantic Comedy: Standing outside her window with a boom box blaring “In Your Eyes” (“Say Anything”). Telling her, with tears in your eyes, “You complete me” (“Jerry Maguire”). Forgetting to put on a condom because you’re a dim stoner, knocking her up, and forcing her to settle (“Knocked Up”). Yes, many women love rom-coms and have even ooh-ed and ahh-ed about some of these over-the-top tear-jearking moments, but what we enjoy about them is the fantasy, not the reality.
What To Do Instead: Instead of pitching a fit the next time she wants to go see the latest Drew Barrymore/Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston extravaganza, go with her and bring along some Sour Patch Kids. Love those!
4. Calling Us Your “Girlfriend” Before We’ve Discussed It: You might think introducing the woman you’ve been seeing as “my girlfriend” will send her into gleeful hysterics, but if you haven’t had “the talk,” assuming and pronouncing that your relationship has reached a more serious level is straight-up disrespectful. Unfortunately, I think a lot of guys assume that women want every casual dating situation to evolve into a serious relationship and that deciding if and when it’s reached GF/BF territory is his decision to make. Wrong.
What To Do Instead: If you haven’t had the talk, but are introducing her to people for the first time, don’t label her — instead, focus on something that is awesome about her not you as a maybe-couple. “This is Jenny, she’s a fantastic photographer. You should come check out her show.” Alternatively, if you are feeling like you want to make things “official” with the woman you’re seeing so that you can introduce her as your girlfriend, be the one to initiate the talk. That would be rad.
5. Attempting To Make Out With Us In Public: Sometimes I think men assume that all women love public displays of affection and that by shoving their tongues down our throats, they’re saying, “See, baby, I’m OK with the whole world seeing that I’m hot for you!” Actually, a lot of us find PDA gross and inappropriate.
What To Do Instead: Go down on us on a very regular basis. OK, thanks.
There’s more where that came from. Here are 10 more so-called “romantic” gestures that actually aren’t beloved by women:
- Buying us fancy jewelry that we would never actually wear.
- Cooking us dinner when you can’t even properly boil water — just take us out for something edible!
- Red roses, boxes of chocolate, and teddy bears clutching hearts — just cheesy!
- Writing us poetry. Chances are, you’re no Pablo Neruda.
- Taking a drive to nowhere. This always results in running out of gas, getting lost, and fighting over directions. Also, we have “America’s Next Top Model” to get back to.
- Drawing us a bath. We are not 4 years old.
- Bringing us to meet your parents for the first time — without giving us any warning.
- Telling us, “You’re so much better in bed than my last girlfriend.”
- Feeding us. Again, we are not in diapers.
- Proposing in a very public place. What if we want to say no?