Saturday, July 30, 2011

Don't Underestimate the Power of Romance.

Today I was teasing my fiancé about what he should buy me while he’s on his much envied (yet far more deserved) trip to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks with a friend of his.  I said that he should make me a bear at the Las Vegas Build-a-Bear store.  He seemed a bit thrown that I would actually want a teddy bear, at my age.  Later on, I suggested a couple of other things, but then reiterated the idea of a teddy bear saying, “You can never go wrong with getting a woman a teddy bear, regardless of her age.”  He seemed surprised, and perhaps a tad dismayed, that the Vermont Teddy Bear ads were true.  I thought this would be a good idea for a post.

If you’re dating/married to/living with/related to/are crushing on/know a woman, and you want to give her a gift, I’m telling you (from my own personal experiences, certainly I don’t speak for all women) that you will rarely go wrong with a gift of teddy bears or flowers.  Personally, I find both to be super romantic (when given to me by my partner) and super sweet (when given to me by anyone).  You may think, “Teddy bears? Flowers? But they’ve been done before.  She’ll think I haven’t put any thought into it.” But this is not the way to think.  There are so many ways to make tried and true gifts like flowers and teddy bears original, particularly with companies like Build-a-Bear. 

Here are some tips for teddy bears:

  1. Use her favourites as a theme: favourite colour, favourite animal, heck favourite sports team!  If you know that she loves the colour yellow, get her a teddy bear (or bunny, dog... whatever) wearing something yellow.  If you know she thinks bunnies are the cutest things ever then get her a stuffed bunny wearing a yellow slicker or something.  If she hates basketball and is afraid of dogs, but you love both, don’t get her a stuffed puppy wearing a basketball jersey.  Basically, personalize the teddy bear so that she knows you are paying attention to the things she likes and doesn’t like and that that matters to you.
  2. Softer is better.   There may be women out there who would prefer a coarse sock monkey, but in most cases the softness of the teddy bear is directly correlated to the length and emphasis of the “Aww!” she will give you. 
  3. If you can, don’t order the bear online unless you’re planning on getting it delivered to her place of employment or school.  Try to go to a Build-a-Bear or similar store and pick out all the makings of the teddy bear yourself.  A woman who knows that you “built” this bear yourself will be that much more touched about the gift.  If you’re unable to go to a store go to a website that will allow you to customize the bear to your heart’s (or the woman you are giving this to) content. 

Tips for getting her flowers:

  1. Like with the teddy bear, find out her favourites.  Favourite flower, favourite colour, a favourite memory associated with certain flowers and get her something along those lines.  These gifts show her that you listen.  If she’s said she loves potted orchids, don’t get her red carnations. 
  2. Wait in line, not online.  If at all possible, go to an actual brick and mortar store to get her the flowers rather than ordering from a website.  I would recommend still having them delivered, but, like with the teddy bears, she’ll be much more touched if she knew that you handpicked the flowers yourself, so to speak.
  3. Variety is the spice of life.  While you can’t go wrong with the tried and true dozen, long stemmed, red roses, try mixing up the bouquet a bit.  Whenever I get flowers for someone (I love getting flowers for people), I always try to make the bouquet as customized as possible.  I will grab a premade bouquet as a base that calls out to me (and my budget) and then go around the store adding single stemmed flowers and fillers to build the bouquet.  I avoid getting bouquets of the same flower and colour as much as possible.  Unless, of course, I know that that’s what the recipient prefers. 
  4. No do-overs.  Again, unless she’s stated a preference otherwise, don’t get her the same flowers every year.  The first year or two it’s cute, but some women (like me, for instance) start to think after a while that you’re not really trying anymore.  It’s one thing if it’s something she says she wants, or if you have a cute memory about the two of you pertaining to that specific type of bouquet.  But if neither of those describe the woman you’re getting the flowers for, or your relationship with her, start getting her different flowers (or something else all together.  I vote for flowers).
  5. This is no place for pragmatism!  If she has allergies to specific (or all) flowers, okay fine, but don’t be practical and pragmatic with flowers.  If the objective is to show her your romantic side, getting her carnations (when you know she hates them) because they last longer, is like a bucket of cold water for her.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to get any play with that.
Pro tip #1:  She will likely brag about you to all of her girlfriends for a lengthy period of time following this.  

Pro tip #2:  If you’re married to/dating/living with/crushing on this woman, get it delivered.  Not only will she be able to brag about how amazing and romantic you are to her girlfriends, she gets to brag about you at work.  Women (I know from my own experiences) love to be able to brag about their partners.  Maybe it’s an instinctual thing, maybe it’s Darwinian, or maybe it’s just plain cattiness.  Nevertheless, give her an excuse to brag about you and as often as you can because she remembers the romantic gestures and the support you give her a lot more than she remembers that time you pissed her off about... Jesus... what was I mad at him about last?  I can’t remember.  

Pro tip #3: Don’t forget the card; especially if you’re getting it delivered!  Always remember to include a card with a quick note showing her you care.  Remember all those painfully boring chick flicks she made you sit through?  Remember when she went “Aww” when the hero sent the heroine the flowers?  Remember when she cried when the heroine read out the card he included?  Yeah.  That’s the goal.  

Pro tip #4: Romance doesn’t automatically equal big sweeping romantic gestures.  Sometimes it is, sure, but sometimes it’s an honest moment filled with love.  I remember the first romantic thing my fiancé did and while I won’t go into specifics, because it’s very personal and special to me, all it was was one sentence.   

Don’t let the romance die.  If you just started dating, or you’ve been married for 65 years, just don’t’ let it die. 


  1. I can totally agree with you. I went on a trip once, brought back a plush penguin for someone (she loves penguins). She loved it, and proceeded to show all her friends. Haha

  2. Hi Mindi,

    Not sure if you saw our reply, but you can enter the contest with a photo at an event.
    Good luck!