How to Pick a Lover

Long-Distance Love Gestures

A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.
—R. Weston

With the old customs, the man who came a-courting also brought or sent something other than his charming presence. He arrived with flowers or chocolates or some other little love gift to show his appreciation and his intent. Little love gifts are not the kinds of presents that are almost obligatory on special occasions, such as Christmas and birthdays. They are spontaneous and unexpected and are intended to convey thoughtfulness and concern.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or fr...

A little love gift is welcome even if it is as unimaginative as flowers, candy, or wine. It is even more welcome, however, if it is somehow uniquely tailored to you or to the relationship. It might be a music CD, which somehow came up in the course of an earlier conversation, or a paperback book. Travelers may bring home souvenirs, people who devour newspapers will bring relevant or cute clippings for your amusement, scholars bring each other book or journal references.

The value of little love gifts is in part that they can be sent so that they arrive in private, through the mail or from delivery services. In this way, no one is put on the spot to come up with an appropriate response on the spur of the moment. If you send a man such a gift, he can then decide at leisure whether to follow up the gesture or to make a token thank you or even to ignore it completely. It helps to save face all around.

The value of a little love gift should be in its thoughtfulness and appropriateness, not in its objective value. Something too expensive is very much like a bribe and conveys a much different message. An expensive present is a significant gesture and is best left for much later in the relationship.

If women are to court as well as to be courted, they too will have to learn about little love gifts. For a while at least, they’ll have a decided advantage since a man is usually not used to being courted and doesn’t yet take it for granted. A male friend of mine who received a suggestive card from an acquaintance wrote back in appreciation, “I haven’t been so touched since the first time a strange woman patted me on my tushie.” Women get flowers all the time, but the flowers you send him may be the first ones he has ever received without having to break a leg or give up a kidney.

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Comments on: "Long-Distance Love Gestures" (2)

  1. NormalDeviations said:

    You’ve nailed this one, Wesley. Not sure if you read it, but around Christmas I received some gifts from a woman who is very special to me – and most of them were complete surprises. What meant the most was the thoughtfulness and meaning behind them rather than what they were.

  2. Yes, I did read your blogs about the gifts you received at Christmas from your woman friend. It is was in part what gave me the idea to write this blog.

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