The weird ways men show love

By: Hugh Wilson

In man world, romance is all about the remote control…

It’s fair to say that men’s ideas about romance don’t always chime with those of women.

For example, the man who booked the local curry house last Valentine’s Day and arranged to meet mates in the pub afterwards won’t make that mistake again (I’ve learnt my lesson).

And the point has recently been rammed home by a survey of 2,000 adults by Moonpig. It found that in one or two areas men get it exactly right and their romantic gestures are well judged. And in lots of others men get it precisely wrong and their romantic gestures are way off the mark.

Here are the best examples of both.

Cooking dinner

According to the survey, plenty of men think cooking dinner for their partner is the height of romance. And they’re usually right. Women put this top of the list of romantic gestures they appreciate.

Of course, those women probably don’t mean sticking a frozen pizza in the oven or microwaving a ready meal, but if you put in the time and effort and at least attempt to make something out of the ordinary, your efforts are likely to be appreciated (whatever they eventually taste like).

Passing the remote control

Many couples are locked in a silent battle of attrition over the remote control, knowing that he (or she) who owns the remote owns the evening. Which is perhaps why men consider relinquishing the remote control one of the most romantic gestures of all.

Of course it is – after all, it might mean an evening of soaps, ‘talent’ shows and similar nonsense – but the message from the survey is that we probably shouldn’t expect our women-folk to feel the same.

Buying flowers

Buying flowers is an obvious romantic gesture and the survey suggests that men recognise it as such (as do women).

But there’s a hitch. Many men won’t buy flowers – and especially not out of the blue, when their value as a romantic gesture is greatest – because they fear that flowers are also a symbol of guilt. We don’t buy flowers because we worry that it might be interpreted as the act of a tortured conscience.

Nor are we completely ridiculous for thinking so. The survey revealed that 7% of women would take it in exactly that way.

Cleaning the house

Offering to do chores was also considered a romantic gesture – at least by men. Given that romantic gestures are meant to be occasional moments of selfless giving this doesn’t say much for the domestic division of labour in many British households. All else being equal, she might be more impressed if we offered to clean the house every other week, or 50% of the time.


Again, men who answered the survey seemed to have mistaken “doing something to touch the soul of their beloved life partner” with “doing their fair share of chores”. Ironing, washing the dishes and putting the bins out were all considered romantic gestures by men, but not – we strongly suspect – by women.

Leaving the toilet seat down

What old romantics us men are. High up on the list of what men consider a romantic gesture was leaving the toilet seat down. Now, leaving the toilet seat down is certainly considerate, especially as there is nothing to say that she shouldn’t leave the toilet seat up instead. But romantic? We fear not.

Using a pet name

Different research has found that some men think calling their loved one by a pet name is a sign of romance. That’s right, calling her Squidgy or Poppoms or Lovebug or something similarly nauseating is done to make her feel special, rather than to make her feel sick. Who knew?!

It’s fair to say that many women don’t agree. The same survey found that a simple hug or back rub was far more likely to be appreciated than a pet name.

Kidnapping her

Some men really do push the boat out, “kidnapping” their beloved from work or home and whisking her away for a surprise weekend of romance in the country. Obviously, they consider this pretty much the tops when it comes to romance. Unfortunately, a survey for Psychology Today some years ago found that, although 13% of respondents would be captivated by such sophisticated wooing, a whopping 87% would actually be a bit annoyed.

So if you’re going for grand romantic gestures, give her a clue they’re coming first.

Taking her out

Contrary to many a man’s belief, taking her to the pub is not a romantic gesture (or at least she probably won’t think so). But taking her to a restaurant is.

But the research has shown that cooking her a romantic dinner, mentioned already, even tops taking her for a meal out. The effort you’ve put into creating it seems to trump the very real possibility that it will be all but inedible, at least in the romance stakes. So get the frying pan out.

Saying “I love you”

Saying those three magic words is certainly romantic, but less so if you only say it after sex or several pints (and it becomes virtually meaningless if it only ever follows the words “I’m sorry”). And the fact is, if you’re like many men you’re probably not saying it enough. The Psychology Today research found that 41% of respondents wanted to hear how much they were adored more than once a day, nearly 20% once a day, and 22% at least once a week.

What it all adds up to is that, when it comes to romance, men and women often speak very different languages. If you want to take your relationship to the next level, it’s worth finding out what really floats her romantic boat (as opposed to what you think might float it) and acting accordingly.