NOTE FROM COLUMNIST:
Starting next month, Jagged Noodles will appear only in every other issue. I’m cutting back because this little baby has been an adorable black hole that sucks up time, energy, and brainwaves. All I can think about is baby, which means all I can write about is baby, and that must get sickening to readers. Writing just once a month will, I hope, allow me to focus on exploring other stuff and get back into form. It’s like my parents once taught me: “Son,” they said, “it is not the quantity that matters, but the quality. So when are you applying to medical school?”
In a column ages ago, I talked about the three phases of a relationship. During Phase I, both parties are madly in love, and every minute is magical, like when you eat that first bite of that curry lentil stew you made, and it is delicious. During Phase II, you are still in love, but you start finding out that the other person has some flaws and vice versa. You then have to figure out whether you and this person are compatible still, whether you both can live with these flaws. It’s like eating that second bowl of curry lentil stew: Maybe it’s still yummy and you can eat several more bowls — or maybe you are so sick of the lentil stew and how it just leaves its stupid socks lying around and clips its stupid toenails while “Master Chef” is on! (“Oh yeah? Well maybe the lentil stew wouldn’t leave its socks lying around if you cooked more and washed the dishes more often!”).
The point is, lentil stews make for very poor analogies for relationships. Another point is that the honeymoon period does wane as relationships deepen. During Phase III, you have settled your differences and start to really assess your future together. Maybe marriage, maybe buying a house, maybe having a baby. These things start to consume you, and then one day, three or four phases later, covered in baby throw-up, you look at your partner and start longing for the feelings you had during Phase I.
Well, that’s why I wrote down a list of tips for bringing back the ‘ole romance. Just because we have been with our partner for years — endless, endless years — doesn’t mean that we can’t get that spark back.
Tip 1: Shower and brush your teeth at least once every other day. Just because you’re so comfortable with each other and priorities have shifted doesn’t mean that you should abandon hygiene completely.
Tip 2: Schedule regular date nights and take turns planning it. Try to be creative and spontaneous by not telling your partner where you made a reservation and then leaving scavenger hunt-type clues throughout the day as to where you are having dinner. After three or four elaborately planned dates, lovingly agree to just stay at home and watch TV for your date nights.
Tip 3: Stay at a friend’s place for several days or maybe weeks, and call up your partner each day to talk for hours on the phone.
Tip 4: Leave love notes in your partner’s briefcase. If they don’t have a briefcase, buy them one. Nothing is more romantic than briefcases stuffed with love notes.
Tip 5: Practice giving smoldering looks to your partner, which you can do by leaning your head forward and slightly to one side, narrowing your eye and trying not to blink. Think “hyena looking at a gazelle.” Then, whenever you see them, give them this look.
Tip 6: Think of games and activities that you both enjoy. Now add a stripping element: Strip Monopoly, Strip Scrabble, Strip Candy Crush. This also works for activities you don’t enjoy: Strip vacuuming, strip laundry folding, strip tax filing.
Tip 7: Finally, recreate the conditions under which you experienced Phase I.
For instance, many couples fell in love when they were poor. If that’s you, make a romantic candlelight dinner of ramen or spaghetti. Call up your parents and ask them to yell at you for being with someone of a different race/religion/age/income class.
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