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Think Before Going Away With Your Girlfriend

@monifajansen 2

Couples holidays just have that cringe-y stigma attached to them though, don’t they?” These were the words I spluttered last night over the supper I was cooking for an old friend who had just been telling me about the most idyllic sounding weekend away with her boyfriend in Paris. “Oh please! If you had a boyfriend though, you’d love to go on one and don’t pretend otherwise.” And these were the words my flatmate threw back at me across the table in defence of said old friend. She had a point. I probably would love to go on one and I really should stop pretending otherwise. That said however, whilst daydreaming on my morning commute of walking with someone tall, dark and handsome, arm in arm down the French Riviera at dusk after a romantic day of sunbathing and swimming in the azure sea, it occurred to me in fact that there are a number of red lights worth addressing before anyone takes the plunge and books a couple’s holiday. So here are my 10 things to think about before going on holiday with your girlfriend this summer…

It’s Make or Break

Seriously though. A couple’s holiday can either be the best thing you’ve ever done together – cementing your relationship and taking it to new levels of love you never knew existed, but it can also make it glaringly obvious that actually you have nothing in common, want completely different things in life and quite frankly you drive each other completely up the wall. If you’re doubting booking something three months in advance because you’re worried you won’t still be together then, well… you probably won’t be. Together, I mean. You’d do better to go for some last minute deal in August than wasting money on flights now that you can’t change the name of, or worse go anyway under the pretence that you’re closer than you really are and break up out there over badly cooked tapas and too many blue cocktails with naff umbrellas – it makes for a very awkward return flight. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Consider the Length of Said Holiday with Military Precision

As a rule of thumb, don’t go on holiday with someone you’ve been going out with for less than 3 months – it’s too soon and it’s way too much of a commitment. A long weekend is probably a good start for a new relationship (6 months or less). If you don’t already live together then a week to 10 days is ideal for those further down the relationship road (6 months plus). While we’re on the topic, a note to the wise: don’t ever go for longer than a fortnight if you’re not living together already. Why? Because a decent bikini wax lasts about a fortnight. You’re welcome!

Don’t Question the Size of Her Suitcase

6 different bikinis and 8 pairs of shoes for a week-long holiday? Completely normal. A hairdryer, straighteners and 20 plus bottles of sunscreen, after-sun, moisturiser and whatever else she insists on applying to herself throughout the day? Well that’s a given. Her suitcase will be at least twice the size of yours, no doubt be over the weight limit and she’ll probably end up having to shift at least two of those seemingly identical black dresses into yours. Don’t question it, don’t argue it, just carry it.

Expect the Time She Takes to Get Ready to Double (If Not Triple)

Every good woman knows the effort that goes into getting and maintaining a good tan (exfoliate, apply sunscreen, re-apply, buff, moisturise and layer with body oil). This alone adds a good 45 minutes to any woman’s beauty routine. Then consider the fact that her hair may well not be used to the humidity (cue extra drying, brushing and straightening time) and last but by no means least, the fact she’ll want to look extra beautiful each night, because it’s a holiday therefore every night is a special occasion. Don’t complain, just be prepared. Go to the bar early and get yourself a beer or two rather than spend the previous hour listening to her saying “just 5 minutes”.

The Bathroom Situation

A good friend recently planned the most incredible holiday in Sri Lanka with his girlfriend of two years, but failed to note that the beautiful 5-Star hotel he had booked them into had a very open plan set-up, as in the kind of ‘open plan’ where the bathroom and loo are right in the middle of the room, no walls, no sound-proofing, nothing. Combine this with unusual local Sri Lankan cuisine, one dodgy glass of water each and well, you can guess the rest. Just make sure you’ve checked in advance and bear in mind there are plenty of front of house facilities not to mention restaurant restrooms to choose from should emergency strike – it’ll keep the allusion alive a little longer.

Discuss Exactly What You Each Want Out of the Holiday

She wants to lie on a sun lounger, getting an envy-inducing tan – you want to hike up hills and go bungy-jumping. Best to work these things out before you get there. Discuss what you want to do and work around an equal divide of both of your ideas of holiday, but for god’s sake bear in mind that most women go on holiday to relax… and you should probably do the same. If you must insist on activities and she’s really not interested, plant her in the best positioned sun-lounger available, ply her with cocktails and a good book and she won’t even notice you’ve been gone all morning.

You Don’t Have to be Together 24/7

Apropos of the above, you aren’t on your honeymoon, you’re on holiday. It is ok to do odd things here and there separately. Got that? She may (and probably will) suggest some kind of couple’s spa session – a relaxing full-body couples mud mask with sea kelp exfoliants and nutrient rich skin stimulators – don’t get carried away, it’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds. No matter how much she begs, insist she goes alone – the moment you start pampering together you’ll instantly become an over-preened “I love me, what’s your hobby?” kind of guy and that’s attractive to exactly no woman. Ever.

Money Matters

A holiday away together should be seductive cocktail of sunbathing, swimming, lye-ins, good food, sweet cocktails and hot sex, it should not be about arguing over splitting the the meal bill or the price of the mini bar. Avoid upset and awkward exchanges out there by setting out in advance who is paying for what.

Tell Her She Looks Great in Her Bikini

While women might not tell you about it, there’s a huge amount of prep that goes into getting holiday ready, especially if they’re going with you (think manis, pedis, waxing, shaving, gyming, shopping… the list is endless) – she’ll have spent about half her monthly pay check on getting ready and yet she’ll still arrive, stand in front of a mirror on the first morning and think she looks like a bleached white Beluga whale in a pink bikini that’s rolled its way onto a sun lounger. So when she’s laying next to you by the pool, tell her she looks amazing.

Expect and Accept the Photos That She Will Insist Taking

You may both laugh and mock your friends who put up “couples holiday selfies” AKA: Those ghastly photos that scream to the world: “We’re so in love. Look at us on this white sand beach with our shared cocktail in a hollowed out pineapple behind a perfectly selected filter”, but when it comes down to it, everyone loves a little bit of a brag, and if you don’t let her post photos to various social media platform whenever possible then how on earth will she show the world back home her amazing new Dior sunglasses… oh and boyfriend?

Original article: Think Before Going on Vacation with Your Girlfriend

Romancing Your Wife

@zainab_zamani 1

Guys, let’s face it. Some of us have a long way to go in the romance department. We know our wife wants it, we know we’re supposed to do it, but it just doesn’t come naturally to us.

When we first begin to court a woman, our step is lighter and our inner Romeo is unleashed. Driven to win her heart, romantic creativity seems to flow more easily. Every day is a new surprise: flowers, candies, love notes and dates. However, when “I want to marry this woman” turns into “We’re married for life,” we often settle into a nice, comfortable rut. The stretches between our romantic efforts grow longer and longer, until we rely on Hallmark’s annual reminder that it’s Valentine’s Day.

I remember the night I realized that I had been dropping the romance ball. It was almost midnight and my wife suddenly remembered she’d forgotten to buy some string licorice, which she needed the next morning for Sunday school. She asked me if I’d go out to the store to get some for her. So I dutifully headed off to our local store. Unfortunately, they didn’t have what I was looking for, so I drove home preparing to tell her that she was going to have to think of something else to use.

Then it struck me, like a lightning bolt out of the clear blue sky. When we were first dating, I wouldn’t have given up so easily. When my damsel was in distress, I alone stood to save her! Back then I would have stayed up all night if necessary, checking every store in town for string licorice.

In a moment of romantic bliss, I turned the car around and headed for another store, then another, and another. I was love-struck once again. Thankfully it didn’t take me all night — just 45 minutes. It was a small price to pay to show my wife that she was loved.

Romance is often little more than making my wife smile.

And that’s what romance is really all about. When men think of romance, we often connect it to the desired end result – sex. It could be because we’re often told, “If you would only romance me more…” Nevertheless, the end result shouldn’t be our focus. Romance is often little more than making my wife smile.

We also mistakenly think that romance always requires a five-star production. We picture hours of elaborate and expensive preparations for an event that she will never forget. But sometimes simple is better than complex, and the element of surprise can be our greatest ally. Our wives want to feel cherished for who they are and thought of when they feel they’ve been forgotten. They want to be noticed, pampered, listened to and, more than anything, fed mounds of luscious chocolate. Actually, what they really want is just to be shown a little appreciation. Maybe you want to romance your wife but your stockpile of ideas is running low.

If you’re looking for something other than dinner and a movie, here are eight ideas to get you started:

Flower Power

Now, you may be thinking, “Flowers? I thought you said this was going to be creative!” Well, hold on there. You may have done the flower thing before, but an old idea can be given new life. The next time you buy your wife flowers, think outside the box. Most florists sell small glass vases for one or two dollars. Buy a dozen or so roses, and the same number of vases. Put one rose in each vase, and hide them all over the house — in the kitchen, the laundry room, the bathroom, the closet, the bedroom. Then attach a pink paper heart to each one, telling her something you appreciate about her — something like, “I really appreciate the way you do my laundry every week.” Put a note on the front door saying, “You are now entering the Romance Zone. Heart Hats required!” Then get out of the house and allow her to discover it on her own!

Quotes for Your Queen

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can paint quite a picture! Enter “love quotes” or “romance quotes” into an Internet search engine. Print out the best thoughts of romantics down through the ages, and cut them out individually. Then tape them all over the house for your beloved to find (this idea will also go over big with your daughters). Sometimes, the best way to express our heart is by borrowing somebody else’s words. On the other hand…

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

Why not try to write your own poetic masterpiece? Now wait, before you laugh, realize that your poetry does not have to compare favourably to Ralph Waldo Emerson for you to be able to do this. Remember that whole, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing. What you think is the world’s worst poem could have your wife praising you as a literary genius, simply because you cared enough to express your love in this way. So dust off your quill pen and start writing!

A Song in Your Heart

If you’re anything like me, you may have a lot of singing in you but it just doesn’t seem to come out very well. Find one of those instant recording studios at the mall and record her favourite song. Gather some of your buddies together, call yourselves the Love Connection or some other romantic name, and sing the song. Alternatively, buy an album with your old dating music on it and play it before you take her out for dinner, or end the night with a dance in the middle of your ballroom (I mean, living room).

Why Re-Invent the Wheel

Leave a message on the answering machine, “I just called to tell you I appreciate you and wanted to say I love you.” Send her an email message, referring her to a website that has a poem or love song you like. Or how about digging out one of those old love letters you wrote her and re-sending it via the mail, with a “P.S. I still feel this way” added at the bottom.

The Perfect Picnic

One day at lunch, pick up her favourite food: Chinese take-out, pizza, sushi, an all dessert buffet – whatever she likes. Bring it home and slip it into a picnic basket. Lay out a blanket on your living room floor, maybe even in front of a crackling fire, and enjoy a romantic meal for two.

Heart Attack

About a week ahead of time, send her an email that says, “Beware: the King of Hearts is going to strike.” Buy a huge bag of red cinnamon hearts, chocolate hearts, plastic hearts or paper hearts — as many different types as you can find. Hide them everywhere you can think of: in her drawers, her purse, her cupboards and her pockets. When she opens her wallet at the grocery store, hearts fall out. When she lowers the sun visor in her car, hearts rain down on her. The more bothersome the better (without seriously inconveniencing her, of course)! Actually, inconvenience may be a good thing!

All-Inclusive Dinners

If you want to give your wife a fabulous evening out, but you feel overwhelmed by planning all the details, consider an all-inclusive dinner offered by many hotels and restaurants (especially around Valentine’s Day). You pay one price, covering dinner, wine, dessert, and a pair of tickets to the theatre or a sporting event (note: if you’re trying to make your wife smile, only take her to a sporting event if she actually likes sports!). This is an easy way to plan an elaborate, memorable evening together.

As I have done the unexpected things I wouldn’t normally do to express my feelings to my wife, I’ve discovered how much fun it actually is to surprise someone. Even more importantly, as I have set up some of these things, I have been reminded how much I still love my wife. Above all, remember that romance is spelled E-F-F-O-R-T. It is fun, but it is also work. Take the time to study your wife; get a masters degree in pleasing her. Learn what it is that sets her heart fluttering, and then get to it!

Original article: Romancing Your Wife