Before my wife and I were married, she was absolutely obsessed with the Parisian way of life. Her apartment was adorned with drawings of fancy French shoes, pictures of fancy French words and the romantic French destinations that she’d fantasized about visiting with her one true love. At the time, I had a pretty solid mental image of the type of guy she’d end up visiting Paris with; smooth, sophisticated and looking like a young Patrick Dempsey. They were going to have a wonderful time there, dancing the night away and reciting poetry to each other while eating chocolate covered strawberries under the Eiffel Tower. As time progressed, I inserted myself into her image of the perfect man but never expected to have to contend with the romantic pressure of visiting Paris. Currently, we live two hours away and in three days, I’m going to face the Olympic Games of Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be able to explore Europe on the cheap but I just don’t know if I’m the ideal candidate for V-Day in Gay Paree. When I land, I’ll probably have to tell the officials there that I’m part of the cleaning crew or something because there has to be some level of standards present. It’s not that I don’t enjoy romance, it’s just that I’m really bad at it. I figured that the imaginary version of the Demps would have all the answers, but when I forced him out of the picture I didn’t think about the responsibilities that would fall into my lap.
When God made me, he put a ton of points into my “diversity of interests”, “hyperactivity” and “obnoxiousness” stats and as a result, my “romance”,”conventional employment” and “visually attractive figure” settings got neglected. It’s not his fault, he was expecting that imaginary guy to come into the picture as well but another of my qualities happens to be persistence. And dancing, unadulterated bone chilling dancing. The good thing about the aforementioned qualities is that they can be improved. The bad thing is I waited till the last-minute to improve all of them, so romance is going to have to take precedence.
If we were doing our usual thing in Indianapolis, it wouldn’t be as difficult because the playing fields are relatively even since Americans aren’t exactly known for their romantic lineage. Europe is founded on being real sexy and super suave. There are going to be some high rollers in Paris this weekend, wearing long, fashionable jackets and tiny mustaches, singing songs and making their ladies swoon over and over again. I can’t sing and my mustache sucks, which leaves me with the long jacket. The thing is, I bought a hard ass looking leather jacket to keep my street cred up, which is something I just can’t compromise while visiting a foreign country (don’t want to look like a chump). I’ll eat the hell out of chocolate covered strawberries though, which I guess is a pretty good start.
Seeing as all my problems started with Mr. Dempsey, I watched some reruns of Grey’s Anatomy to see what he’d do in a similar situation. To my chagrin, he built Meredith a house with his BARE HANDS. I don’t have the time for that, nor do I know the zoning laws in France. He’s also a world-famous brain surgeon with an intense glare and magical hands, so I figured I’d probably need to look elsewhere for source material.
I’ve already read all of Bill’s advice on the matter, but he’s been focused on gifts and my wife and I decided not to exchange them this year because of the trip. I guess that’s not a bad thing considering I got her an oversized stuffed animal almost every year, a trend that I thought was romantic and others interpreted as me goofing off. I wasn’t joking; I really thought women liked stuffed animals so much that the bigger the animal, the happier they were (there’s a room full of unicorns, bears and penguins at my in-laws house should anyone think I’m making it up). I don’t have my plush friends to fall back on this year; this team sport just went solo.
I have less than a week to read up on the subject, which should be plenty of time as long as I don’t get distracted. If anyone has some really smooth ideas to help me with this skill deficit I’d appreciate it.
1. Learn French. Buy the condensed version of Rosetta Stone (if one even exists). Woo her with your French words and let her figure out exactly what it is you said. That is – if YOU can even figure out what it is you said.
2. Buy her bread. Every single damn day you’re there. Parisians and Italians alike walk around with loafs in their bags as if they were cradling babies. You can’t go wrong with a good loaf of French bread.
3. PDA. Big time. That’s what Parisians do. Don’t disrobe in public because based on your self description you may be arrested. Kissing is good. Kissing her hand is even good-er-er.
4. Get on one knee and pretend like you’re proposing to her. Maybe you’ll get some free champagne out of it. Take off your wedding rings before you this.
PS – I LOVE YOUR WRITING!
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