Real Live College Guy Ryan: How to Get Your Guy to Be More Romantic

Need Dr. Drew relationship advice but don’t have the sensationalistic drama to warrant TV time? Unfortunately, Real Live College Guy Ryan isn’t a reality show therapist. However, he can provide the lowdown on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about college males: how they think, act, speak and genuinely interact with the women in their lives.
I've been seeing my boyfriend for four months and he never does anything romantic, even though I know he cares about me. He says that stuff is contrived, but it would be nice to feel special every once in awhile. What should I do to get him to realize not every romantic thing is cheesy? - Romantic at Rutgers

“As men we were taught to hold it in/That's why we don't know how 'til we're older men” – Common, “Love Is”

Leave it to Chicago rapper Common to drop truth bombs. Sorry to burst your bubble, but many guys don’t know how to be romantic. We just don’t. The idea and act of being romantic for men is something that only comes with time. With only four months of commitment under his belt, he doesn’t know how to provide the particular romance that you want.

Not that he’s incapable, but every woman is different—you know that. So personalizing a particular act is difficult.

How do you remedy this inability? You could tell him straight up that you feel slighted, which will catch his attention. However, it won’t necessarily make him want to go above and beyond what he’s already done. If anything, it could pin him in a corner. He’ll feel that the only way to show he cares is through some Matthew McConaughey, romantic comedy gesture, which is quixotic and ultra-contrived.

Wait and see how your relationship develops. As he gets to know you more as his girlfriend, he’ll pick up on your likes and dislikes. If he really likes you (which he should, if he’s in a committed relationship), he’ll learn to better understand what makes you tick.

With that he can create small gestures that actually mean something. Examples could be surprising you with a prepared dinner that you particularly enjoy (not warming up that week-old Chinese that was at that back of his refrigerator), sending you flowers at work just to tell you he’s thinking about you or buying you a meaningful item that you mentioned once in passing.

These are all hypothetical (and maybe even clichéd), but they’re small, subtle acts that show he cares. With guys, this is romantic because it shows we know you well. Don’t expect anything theatrical, because really, it’s the small things that make you feel special and us comfortable.

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Ryan Joseph is fancy. However, besides being fancy, he is also a) a college senior b) a journalism major and c) a student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He's a Bobcat, not a Buckeye (although he will always be a Buckeye at heart). A Columbus, Ohio, native, he's a diehard music and Cleveland sports fan--don't judge him based upon the latter. He is a frequent contributor to Hip-Hop website, The Smoking Section, and Ohio University campus magazine, Backdrop, but has also been an ASME 2011 intern with Field & Stream Magazine in New York City.

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