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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Dirty Bird: Keep cool while still keeping your partner happy

Dear Alex,

I just finished watching The Office and I’m inspired by the grand romantic gestures Jim always does for Pam. How can I be like a TV character without being too cheesy?


First and first mostly, romantics are about the little things.

Grand romantic gestures can be cute, but we’ll get to those later. However, subtly letting our partners know how important they are can be more sustainable and meaningful for a long-term relationship.

Cell phones. There is nothing less attractive than a partner who checks or plays on their phone while on a date or hanging out. It’s rude and communicates the idea that people beside the one we’re with are more important than that person.

Along the same lines, answering texts and other social media messages in a timely manner can mean the world to people. It can be stressful to put ourselves out there through a communication as fragile as texting, so letting our partners know we’ve seen their text and have a response goes a long way.

Actively showing interest in what our partners have to say is necessary for a lasting relationship. Making a big deal out of big news is fantastic, but celebrating little things, like our partner’s new job interview or their phenomenal grade on a tough exam, means a whole lot more.

What’s always important to remember is don’t cause extra stress. We should always be open to making an effort to ask about and try to fulfill our partner’s needs in a relationship. Some people need to be reassured about their looks or personality. Some people want their partners to “Like” what they post on Facebook. A lot of people like bedroom activities to go a certain way (i.e. kissing even after blowjobs or sleeping over/cuddling after sex).

Additionally, if we’re hoping to see somebody, we should tell them concretely. None of this wishy-washy “Maybe we’ll meet up,” or, “Going out tonight?” Asking someone directly to hang out allows people to relax instead of stressing about intentions.

Going through a night out is much more enjoyable when we know we’re going to meet up instead of simply “trying to hang later.” Use phrases like, “I want to meet up with you later,” or “Can I take you on a date?” Yum!

And after the date? Follow up. Every time.

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After dates, we should shoot our special someone a text telling them how much fun we just had or how nice they looked.

Making something that lasts

By creating something tangible, even if it seems insignificant or silly, we’re allowing our partners to hold onto something we thoughtfully crafted especially for them. Whether it’s a holiday card, a post-it note or a handmade cartoon about their life and adventures, they’re sure to love having something to hold onto when we’re not around.

My roommate described her dream date and I wrote it verbatim:

“So when the guy picks her up, he should have flowers, not just one, like a bouquet. Rings doorbell, opens, gasp, hands flowers, kiss on the cheek, opens [car] door for her. And then he takes her to a romantic symphony orchestra and the whole time he has his hand on her knee but not thighs. You’re dressed up. And then you go to a fancy bar and have appetizers for dinner. And then, you have cocktails and dipped strawberries, but I don’t eat strawberries.”

My name is Alex Tucker and I do not endorse this message.

The big stuff: Flowers, candles, art!

Some people think of gifts, some people think of “just because” events. Whatever we choose, we should incorporate something personal. For my friend in love with dairy products, a partner who thinks to buy her cheese for tasting would steal her heart.

Baking our partner’s favorite treat or carrying something for them, grabbing their favorite wine or buying tickets to an event they want to go to are all ways to express our affection. And the way to make it “grand” without being too cheesy is by making it a SURPRISE.

Another way to really knock somebody’s socks off? Send them a letter. It can be anything: a little note, a poem, even a letter detailing why we care about them so so much. After all, people love getting stuff in the mail that isn’t from Chase or Charter.

Similarly, coming to our partner’s place to drop off something special, going to visit them at work or surprising them in class can be super thrilling and very sweet.

The Gender Gap

That’s right, I said it. The “G” word. Gap. Just kidding, I’m talking about gender. We have a really fun construction in our society that allows people with penises to be romantic and sweet, while people with vaginas who do the same stuff are considered clingy and feminine.

Screw that. Sometimes when we have a lot of excited energy we just have to exert it by showing our partners that we care. If it’s tasteful and not too excessive, we should do our best to appreciate their effort without reading too much into it.

Caring versus Creeping

In movies and TV shows, we see persistency as “romantic” and an even necessary part of courtship. However, asking the same person out over and over again without positive results is creepy as fuck. Don’t be creepy as fuck.

Thank our partner

If our partner does a good job of texting back in a timely manner or always tells us how great we look, we should take time to appreciate their extra effort! Thanking people with our words is always great, but thanking them with a little gift or extra oral can mean a little more.

Want to make sure you’re doing things that make your partner feel good about themselves? Have a gift idea for a special someone you want to make sure won’t put you into the dreaded creeping territory? Ask Alex about it at

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