If you’re looking for advice on how to succeed at something, you should make sure your source has some cred. That’s why whenever I see a promo for a late-night talk show’s tips on how to be romantic from the 23-year-old movie star of the month, I change the channel as quickly as possible.
But when Betty White comes out with a whole book on the subject, I’m all eyes. If you want to know how to work your goddamned computer, ask a child. If you want to know what makes a woman tick, ask a woman—even one who titled her book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t).
I am happy to report that some of what White says in a Chicago Tribune interview echoes stuff that ManWAR’s already covered, especially in the post called “List off” (March 31, 2011).
Q: Is it better to give a lady a handwritten letter, a dozen roses or jewelry?
A: Jewelry is lovely and the obvious answer. But I think a handwritten letter—a lot of guys don’t realize what that means.
She explains that her late husband, game show host Allen Ludden, gave her notes all the time during their eighteen-year marriage. “It’s those little romantic touches that tell a lady, ‘I like a lot of people, but you have a special place in my heart.’”
She also says that being polite is romantic, an idea other sources pooh-poohed. “The worrying thing,” Newlite TV.com said, “is husbands and boyfriends actually think they’re being romantic when they let their partner watch their favourite soap on TV, but they’re just being courteous.”
White’s take: “If you’re walking with your lady on the sidewalk, I still like to see the man walking street-side to protect the lady from traffic. I still like to see that a man opens the door. I like those touches of chivalry that are fast disappearing. It’s just polite.”
I’m also happy to report that White, who called herself “an incurable romantic” on Larry King’s show, is as enthralled with crashing waves as I am. She lived for a while in Oak Park, Illinois, not far from where waves pound the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. Living within blocks of the same lake for most of my life has instilled in me an appreciation for the way the interaction of water and granite can, if you stand close enough, engage all five senses at once.
The most romantic place in the world to take a lady, White says, is Carmel, California—specifically for the waves. Much of Fast Lane happens in Malibu, which, to my thinking at least, is still pretty dog-gone romantic. Same ocean, just different rocks.
At any rate, I find this this all encouraging. I mean, agreeing on such matters with a luminary who brings eighty-nine years of experience to the field of being romantic surely means I must be onto something.