A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.
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.
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.
It requires more charms and address in women to revive one fainting flame than to kindle new ones.
Remember Me, My Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wives who find that the love they sought in marriage is no longer there usually try a number of things to recapture their husband’s affection. Women’s magazines are full of discussions on this problem and of suggestions, remedies, and techniques for solving it. They recommend everything from better meals to black negligees to second honeymoons. If the marriage involves a cycle between the two—in which sometimes he seems indifferent, and she must entice him, and sometimes, she seems indifferent, and he must entice her—then some such strategies may be effective. If the effort is always all one way or even seems to her to be always one way, she is not only discouraged but humiliated.
Always having to tug at someone’s sleeve is bad for anyone’s pride or self-esteem. So such a wife is doubly gratified to find that there are other men who are indeed interested and who continue to pay court to her in the ways she learned to expect and appreciate before she married. The husband in these circumstances may still be a good sex partner, but he has stopped trying to court her.
Women are like fires: they tend to go out if left unattended.
I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me,
Used to hate to leave me,
Now after loving me, late at night,
Well, you just roll over, and turn out the light.
And you don’t bring me flowers, any more.
—Neil Diamond, Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman
Women are indoctrinated in the myth of romance much more so than are men. That is Romance with a capital R. They are programmed to want not only sexuality and high-power orgasms but also the specific kinds of trappings which are supposed to signal emotional involvement. They want—and expect—verbal declarations, little love gifts, flowers, perfume, soulful glances, and the holding of hands.
Photo credit: Cayusa
For many women, no matter how modern they are in other ways, an important part of their existence is the feeling of being loved; and that feeling is conveyed in words and touches and gestures. It is not enough to know, cognitively, that a man loves you. It is also important to feel it. The younger you are, the more romantic you are, and the more you yearn for starlight and roses. If your husband does not bring you flowers or their equivalent, it is only a matter of time until you find someone who will.