Romance must have been easy back in the day. You weren’t interrupted by text messages. You had plenty of harps. Entertainment-wise, you didn’t have much else to do besides stare into each other’s eyes, write love letters and fight scurvy. Plus, you had horses, knights and damsels in distress, making chivalry about as easy as accessing porn is now. Sadly, in today’s wired world of distractions and casual dating, setting the “mood” can be hard. But breaking it? Well, that’s easy. Here are some of the most common romance killers. Are you guilty?
1. Staying connected...to the web
Checking your iPhone during foreplay might be an even worse offense than having sex in your roommate's bed. To connect with your partner, you must disconnect from the web. Get your phone off the dinner table. Update Facebook later. Virtual Scrabble can wait. FYI: "Live tweeting" a hookup (Shirt is off! #gettingiton) is generally frowned upon.
2. Poor grooming
Guys, the rules have changed. Many moons ago, in a far simpler time, you were considered to have good hygiene if you wore deodorant. Now? More is expected. And when I say "more," I really mean less...at least when it comes to the hair down there. Different girls have different preferences, but one thing is clear: A moppy, untamed jungle is appreciated by no one. Ladies, the same goes for you.
3. Invoking the ex
Don't do it. Period. Oh, but you're bad-mouthing your ex to show your current partner how great he is in contrast? Yeah, still a buzzkill. Think back to Say Anything. Remember Lloyd Dobler with the boom box? Now pretend that John Cusack shouts over the music, "Ya know, I did this once before, for my ex-girlfriend. But she didn’t like it. She was always too focused on her cheerleading, you know, always the rah, rah, rah...."
4. Talking about money
Talk of prices will undercut any romantic gesture. Consider: "Hope you like the champagne. It cost almost as much as my rent!" Mmm, the taste of implied indebtedness. Or, "I would have brought you a dozen roses...but I could only afford one." Well-played. You turned a romantic gesture into a pity-fest, miser. "Don’t worry, with my bonus this year, I could have bought you five of these necklaces." Oh, did you get a bonus for being a d-bag?
5. Getting distracted by anything less than an earthquake
When you’re in the moment, you're in the moment. Don't kill it. If you break eye contact to watch Houston Rockets highlights, you're toast. If you point out how good the new lampshades look while he's nibbling your ear, it's done. A good rule of thumb: When in the moment, never shift your attention from your partner unless your actual life is at stake...okay, or your mom busts in.
6. Ripping yourself a new one
It’s fine to poke fun at yourself -- a little. Think: drunk, naked Seth Rogen (I promise I have a point) in Knocked Up telling Katherine Heigl, "You’re prettier than I am." Not gratuitous self-deprecating humor like: "If you ever need a carpet, you can just shave my back, ha, ha." Not: "Just grab onto my giant love handles, ha ha." And not: "You won’t be late for work -- this'll only take about 45 seconds, ha ha." Do any of the above, and no sex for you tonight, ha, ha.
7. Dirty talking in public
Let's say we're at a dinner party. You're whispering some naughty things that we'll do later in my ear -- now that's hot. But having a few too many and announcing our intentions to the party, while boasting about how we shattered the bed frame and annoy the neighbors with our cries of ecstasy? Not so much. Private dirty talk is sexy; public TMI usually means it's time to take you home, where you'll promptly pass out, and we won't be doing any of the things you bragged about.
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