February 25, 2009

Write a Love Poem to Yourself

Writing a poem to yourself may seem weird, but imagine the benefit such a poem could have on your self-image and self-esteem. You could make several copies, fold them up, and leave them in places you know you’ll find them later: in your car’s glove box, on the kitchen counter, in your desk, in the restroom, and even next to your pillow. If anyone happens to find your "hidden" poem before you do, they won't know that you wrote it to yourself. It defies logic! Such is the brilliance of a love poem written to one's self.

When writing a love poem to yourself, be sure to refer to my tips for writing a love poem; use that information with yourself in mind as the recipient! There are many, many ways to write a poem to one's self. Here are a few examples:

1. The Epic Ballad. Write a poem detailing your own real or fictional adventures. Hold nothing back—be as serious or as ridiculous as you desire! Try expanding on your biggest interests. For example, if you like cute, fuzzy animals, you might depict yourself soaring through the air saving helpless squirrels from the clutches of evil. Your favorite food, according to your poem, could give you superhuman powers. Alternately, if you're going the serious route, try casting your every day experiences in a heroic light. Perhaps the way you endure the arduous journey to work each morning is a demonstration of your boundless courage. However you write your epic ballad, be sure to flatter yourself!

2. Pure Admiration. It isn't a crime to appreciate your own qualities. Write a list of everything you like about yourself, from the color of your eyes to your captivating personality. Then, use these qualities to write yourself a poem as if you were your own secret admirer. Here's a short and cheesy example:

Your writing skills are so profound
That readers make a pleasant sound
When visiting your blogging page—
Qupid, you are all the rage!

Hmm... that made me feel pretty good!

3. What would we do without you? Have you ever felt that you're under-appreciated? Now's the time to write yourself a poem about it. Tell yourself everything that would be missing if you were to leave. You could even beg yourself to stay.

4. Self Encouragement. Write as if you were a distant admirer seeking ways to get closer to you. What would you do just to make yourself smile? Then, think of all the ambitions you've been putting off, and incorporate them into your love poem. Maybe you would go back to the gym or sign up for that class you've been wanting to take. Ah, the things we'll do for love! This type of poem in particular is great for being made into several copies and left around.

If you happen to write yourself a love poem and don't mind sharing, please do share in the comments section!

February 20, 2009

Ask Qupid: Mistaking Sex for Love

Reader VioletPlanet asks: why is sex often mistaken for love?

Dear VioletPlanet,

There are a few aspects involved with the answer to this question. The first is that love is commonly mistaken for many things; this has much to do with our early childhood experiences as well as media influence. For example, the strictness that certain adults enforce upon themselves, and others, may very well be traced back to the expectations of their parents.

We don’t need impressive credentials to observe the way that culture and child-rearing shapes people. During the youngest moments of our lives, we’re like baby birds reaching out for nourishment. A baby bird doesn’t question whether or not it will be fed the right food—it simply expects it. Much the same, as toddlers and young children, we don’t question what love is, we just expect it to receive it. In some cases, the emotional nourishment that children believe they are receiving isn’t nourishment at all. This often results in confusion as to what love is.

Without a clear example of a healthy relationship, we may be left to piece together a picture of love based on impressions from television shows, movies, songs and music videos. We can gain an awareness of the behaviors in an adult relationship without understanding the reasoning, or amount of sense, behind them. Based on such a vague understanding, we’d think that love is some kind of strong feeling that makes us “unable to live” without someone, or that we’d “think about them all the time,” as so many popular songs would suggest. Chances are that the first feeling that comes along and resembles these notions is what we’re going to call love. It doesn’t have to involve sex, but if it does, we might easily confuse sex with love.

A more scientific explanation revolves around a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is sometimes released during sex by both men and women. When oxytocin is released, it magnifies feelings of attachment and the desire for closeness; it’s conducive to cuddling. Oxytocin is also released by mothers during childbirth, perhaps creating the powerful bond between mother and child. Understandably, the effects of oxytocin might create a deep emotional connection between two people who aren't actually well suited for each other in a relationship. Beware the oxytocin!

I hope you found this explanation helpful, and I thank you for the question!

Until next time,


February 19, 2009

Tips for Writing a Love Poem

You don’t have to be a modern day Shakespeare to write an effective love poem. The effort that you make in writing a poem—fumbling with words, struggling for a good rhyme, and putting yourself out there emotionally—has its own significance, and the recipient of your poem will most likely recognize this. The question isn’t whether you should try your hand at penning romantic prose, it’s how to best go about doing it. Here are some tips to help your love poem take on its best form:

1. Never underestimate the power of a thesaurus! Whether you’re stumped for suitable words or simply trying to keep your poem from becoming redundant, a quick trip to Thesaurus.com can save you plenty of time. Throw a common adjective, such as “beautiful,” into the thesaurus, and you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of colorful alternatives: radiant, ravishing, angelic, sublime, and resplendent are just a few examples. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

2. If you’re having difficulty rhyming your words, use Rhymezone.com. It’s an excellent way to explore your options.

3. Try to avoid doing “the Yoda.” While it isn’t always easy to do so, making your poem mimic the flow of real speech will give it a polished feel. A line such as, “So in love with you, I am!” would work well for Yoda, but creates an awkward bump in human poetry.

4. Incorporating memories unique to you and your recipient adds sentimental value and helps distinguish your poem from others. Where did you first meet? What has he or she done to make you laugh? What things do you see, or do, that make you think of them? What special moments have you shared? How has this person changed your life?

5. To give your poem that extra kick, try writing about things you might do for your recipient if there were no limitations. Where would you take them? What kind of a world would you create for them? What kind of exciting things would you do together? It’s okay to let your imagination go wild!

6. Try different styles of poetry. An acrostic poem, for example, uses the first letter of each line to spell a word or message. You might write an acrostic poem that spells your recipient’s name or the name of a special occasion. A haiku is a poem with three lines; the first and last lines have five syllables, and the second line has seven. It doesn’t need to rhyme. The haiku may sound a little odd, so here is an example I just wrote:

Cookie Monster

scent of baking dough
wobbling eyes alight with love
me doth want cookie

Although the haiku is brief, it can be powerful, and its brevity makes it excellent for a small, romantic note, perhaps accompanied by a hand picked flower or flower petals. Plus, if they don't already know, you'll get to tell them that it's a haiku.

As with anything, you'll become better at writing as you spend more time doing it, so if you're initially daunted by the idea of writing a love poem, allow yourself time to grow. Let your mind run free—scribble down as many ideas as you can without judging how good or bad they are, and then pick the ones you like the best afterwards. And don't forget that your effort alone counts!

February 17, 2009

He's Just That Into You

With all the commotion about the book and movie "He's Just Not That Into You", I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if I flipped the whole idea around—so I did! The result, ladies and gentlemen, is finally here. It's called "He's Just That Into You". Instead of forcing women to realize that men find them completely unappealing, "He's Just That Into You" makes desperate leaps to provide (mostly) unrealistic examples of what men do when they're that into you. Basically, it's free, and it won't make you cry, so it's a gazillion times better. And, yes, a gazillion is a lot. Here are a few ways you'll know if he's that into you:

1. He's just that into you if he builds you a cake. In the movie "Napoleon Dynamite", Napoleon's classmate Pedro aspires to take unreachable dream girl Summer Wheatly to the Prom. "Maybe I'll build her a cake, or something," remarks Pedro, who soon builds one of the most beautiful cakes known to mankind. The lesson here is, ladies, that if a man is willing to build you a cake before having ever spoken to you, he is just that into you. Don't think it could happen? Ask this guy, who built a cake with the lettering, "Prom??" on it before his friends informed him that he was copying Napoleon Dynamite. (Click on the link to watch YouTube footage of what happened next.)

2. He's just that into you if he tells you that you're his density in front of all your friends. I mean, if he tells you that you're his destiny. George McFly got nervous and messed up on the first try—so what? Ladies, if a man can't speak properly when talking to you, he is just that into you. The fact that he doesn't care who overhears such a bold confession is a sure sign that he's been thinking of you for quite a while, or is being blackmailed by a scary alien from the planet Vulcan. Either way, you'll at least get a few dates out of it.

3. He's just that into you if he kisses you even though you haven't brushed your teeth for a hundred years. Remember the story of "Sleeping Beauty"? Well, there was no way she could have brushed her teeth during those one hundred years of slumber, so you can just imagine what her morning breath was like. If a guy is willing to lay one on you even though your breath reeks of the last century, he is just that into you, and is most likely your Prince Charming.

4. He's just that into you if he rigs your favorite video game with a surprise "marriage proposal level". As you can see for yourself, this one really happened! He even simulated the "Just Married" vehicle with all the junk flailing along behind it. Kudos to that guy, who is obviously just that into his fiancee! And finally...

5. He's just that into you if he acquires super powers, creates an alternate persona, and wears spandex just to get next to you. Anyone can get bitten by a radioactive spider, but only a truly smitten man will design his own alter-ego and spandex costume—and then rescue you in it.

If you've been inspired to think of your own "He's just that into you" ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section!

February 16, 2009

Romantic Cereal

If you've never considered this before, it may be worth pausing a moment to ask: how romantic is your cereal? What, exactly, makes a cereal romantic, and what does your cereal say about you at the breakfast table? Or, if you're strange like I am, you might have asked someone out to cereal by candlelight (which hasn't happened yet, unfortunately) and you're wondering which cereal to bring. Well, let's take a look!

My first thought in determining whether a cereal is romantic is that the cereal should resemble other romantic things or notions. For example, both Fruit Loops and Cheerios are ring shaped, possibly symbolizing an everlasting love. The Cheerios, however, are dull in color, and when viewed as an entire bowl, they become visually monotonous--and monotonous isn't very romantic. Fruit Loops, on the other spoon, almost appear as flowers when rendered as a watercolor painting. It's probably safe to say that Fruit Loops are a romantic cereal. Fruity Pebbles follow closely in the path of Fruit Loops, perhaps likened to colorful flower petals.

[Edit: Blogger Dream Senshi makes an excellent point concerning initially dull cereals: "I think taking any cereal and adding strawberries or heart-shaped goodies makes it romantic. Even putting fresh berries into cereal for myself makes me feel special!" Great advice!]

Of course, when considering a food, we've also got to take into account how it tastes. Chocolates on Valentine's Day--chocolate flavored cereal? Is it possible that Cocoa Puffs is a romantic cereal? (Ladies, you'll have to let me know.) If so, I'll bring a box of Cocoa Pebbles as backup if I ever go on that cereal by candlelight date. Why Pebbles and not Puffs? The Puffs resemble dog food too closely, in my opinion, although if dog food tasted like Cocoa Puffs, I'm sure we'd think more highly of it.

[Edit again: The incredible Mahoney Pony pointed out just how romantic a cereal's name can be: "one cannot forget the importance of a name. Smacks. Pops. Banana Nut Crunch. Bear Naked. *blushing already* count chocula *omg* cream of wheat. Nut n Honey. Honey cups *mmmMMMMMmmmm*" Cereal romance in action!]

Finally, I've taken into consideration a cereal like Lucky Charms, with its many different marshmellow shapes; stars, horseshoes, four-leafed clovers. Not nearly dull in any sense, but not overwhemingly romantic--or is it? Perhaps we could be creative and nab a marshmellow star from a bowl of Lucky Charms, present it to someone special and whisper, "You're my lucky star." And similarly for the four-leafed clovers. In any case, colored marshmellows are fun, and since fun is an essential element of romance, we can safely place Lucky Charms alongside other romantic cereals.

Many of us have our healthy, boring (although not altogether untasty) cereals, as is beneficial to our health. But, every once in a while, don't be afraid to break out the candles and the Fruity Pebbles and "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" your way into a night of romance.

February 15, 2009

Confessions and Closure

Sometimes, there are things we'd really like to say, but, for whatever reason, we don't. Secret crushes, withheld resentment, and even words meant for a person we've dreamed of but have never found; these things often remain locked away in the dark corners of our minds, but do they ever really go away? Some things, after enough time, become so trivial that we can comfortably leave them alone. And, sometimes, we can even laugh at the way we used to feel. Nonetheless, there are thoughts and feelings that do endure, as does the desire to release them, in some way, to the person they're meant for.

So.There.com is a frequently updated, online collection of confession letters, organized in a searchable database.

"The concept of So There is that of unsent letters; letters whose intended recipients might never see them, but that by writing them, the author can get their emotions out and let them go. They may be letters to friends, enemies, lovers, family, yourself or anything else you can imagine. They may be stories of unrequited love, scorn for an ex-lover, appreciation or pain. To someone who died before you could say goodbye, or to someone in your life right now. Your emotions are your own, and no one can express them the way you can. The person to whom your letter is addressed may or may not ever see it, but we assure you, someone is listening."

You can submit your own letters, and even leave a link to your e-mail address in the case you think your intended will someday discover it. Authors and recipients are mostly anonymous, represented by either a first name or an initial--just enough for anyone who's meant to be looking!

Many of the existing letters are well-written and touching; the sentiments expressed are likely very similar to those you've felt, at some point, yourself. As for me, this particular letter caught my attention. I once wrote a similar letter myself, albeit on paper, with the same hope that I might someday deliver it to an as yet non-existent addressee.

Learn from Fictional Couples: Santa and Mrs. Claus

Yes, it's an unusual thought, but... what do we really know about the actual relationship between Santa and Mrs. Claus? Between Santa's annual one-night tour and the other 364 days he spends within the obscurity of his secret base, there's not much to go on. Mrs. Claus herself is often depicted as the cheery, stereotypical, subservient 1960s housewife, always smiling and always prepared with a plate of freshly baked cookies to whet Santa's considerable appetite. The question is, is Mrs. Claus really happy in her relationship? How does Santa contribute to the quality of their marriage?

The first thing that springs to mind is Santa's sleigh ride on December 25th. Not only is the sleigh roomy and comfortable, it's drawn by flying reindeer; one of which has a glowing nose. Santa is frequently illustrated soaring through the sky on his sleigh, silhouetted by the moon. Pretty romantic, right? So, where is Mrs. Claus when all of this is happening? Does Santa even ask her if she wants to come along for the ride?

After doing some research, I discovered that the Claus marriage was given a thorough examination in the song "Surabaya-Santa" from Jason Robert Brown's musical "Songs for a New World". Read the lyrics here.

Surabaya-Santa's portrayal of the Claus relationship raises some important concerns. We must take into consideration that not only is Mrs. Claus stuck in an isolated area with no surrounding civilization, she most likely has no social life aside from her conversations with elves. Santa, apparently, neither shaves nor exercises, which would understandably irritate Mrs. Claus after a length of time.

Where we might find hope that Santa's perceived generous nature would play an important role in his marriage, keep in mind that Santa isn't generous to everyone; he dictates which children will or will not receive presents, even though it could be argued that the most ill-behaved of children would benefit from some special attention. If Santa's love for children is so conditional and lacking in consideration, chances are that he's a bit of a control freak with his wife.

What can we take from this? Don't be a Santa Claus. And don't marry one, for the sake of your own sanity.

February 14, 2009

Love Letters

While browsing through a relationships forum, I stumbled upon a thread featuring an undelivered love letter written by the thread's author. One line in particular captivated me, and I quote: "You make me feel as if I were running on monster." I was impressed by the originality of the statement. Later, I began to wonder to myself, "Could it be possible to revisit the euphoric sensation of love by drinking a soda?" Then it hit me--this kid is a marketing genius! Or... am I the marketing genius? (Yes, I made the advertisement. It had to be done.) Either way, the event got me thinking about love letters.

Wouldn't it be fun if there were a website where people from around the world submitted images of their old, goofy love letters? I Googled the idea and discovered this book: Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See, a compilation by author Bill Shapiro. How does one go about collecting 150 love letters from complete strangers? Shapiro himself explains in this recent article that he just posted yesterday.

As for me, one of my best true stories involves the discovery of someone else's love letters. I once found a collection of notes that were hidden miles away from main roads beneath some bushes. How did I end up there? And why? Let's just say I was an adventurer. I made this discovery in the year of 1994. The letters revealed the lives of two lovers, barred from seeing each other by the girl's excessively strict parents. At some point, she disappears from the guy's life, as evidenced by an envelope he sent to her marked "no such person at this address".

To make the story short, I searched for these people for years, met the guy completely by coincidence in 1999 at a community college, and met the girl's sister, again by coincidence, in 2001 at a previous workplace. It's true! Her sister provided closure to the story: the girl had been shipped off to a girl's only private school. She later became a lesbian. At the time I'd met her sister in 2001, the girl was gravely ill and hospitalized. When she heard I'd found her notes, she laughed for the first time in months. As for the guy, I never told him I'd found his notes. I figured that he left them there so he could forget.

Another interesting love letter phenomenon I discovered while Googling is... you can pay for pre-written love letters. Oh! The deception! I can't help but wonder how many women are receiving these. And I get a big kick out of this, quoted from the site: "Become a charming romantic writer--with the push of a button." Well, hot damn! Did you know it was that easy? Ladies, beware!

February 13, 2009

Serenade Your Lover On Valentine's Day: Romantic Song Choices

Barely in time for Valentine's Day, I've written a brief article detailing some of the most romantic songs for serenading. Read the article here and let me know what you think! Are there any songs you've always wanted to have sung to you? Have you ever serenaded someone else, and if so, what songs did you sing? Please leave comments and share your thoughts and stories!

Online Dating: Chatrooms or Dating Sites?

"Whether you're trying your luck on a dating site or in a chatroom, meeting the right person is often a gamble. Most dating sites focus on the unique aspects of your personality, automatically finding your most suitable matches - well, the most suitable among the site's limited selection, anyway. And what if your most suitable match isn't suitable at all? Then, we might venture into a chatroom, sifting through ridiculous pick-up lines and tasteless commentary like a spaceman searching for signs of life. Just where, exactly, can love be found online?"

[read Qupid's full article here]

February 12, 2009

In Japan: Two Valentine's Days!

As blogger Dream Senshi pointed out to me, Japan celebrates two Valentine's Days. If you've never heard of this before, please join me in exploring the unique customs of Japan's Valentine's Day and White Day! ShoyuJapan.com explains the basics in this video:

Japan shares our February 14th Valentine's Day, except the traditional Valentine's Day roles are reversed: girls give gifts to guys! Then, on March 14th, guys return the favor by giving marshmellow candies and white chocolate (the "White" in White Day). Much like the act of chocolate giving on Valentine's Day in America, Japan's White Day was the result of marketing by confectionery companies; notably confectioner Ishimuri Manseido, who campaigned for men to return Valentine's Day favors with their marshmellow candies as early as 1965.

Can you imagine having two Valentine's Days? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

February 11, 2009

Valentine's Day

What are your earliest memories of Valentine's Day? How did it become meaningful to you? When I was a wee lad, in first grade, my entire class gave out little Valentine's Day cards, typically from a boxed set. I fondly remember scribbling my to's and from's on tiny envelopes a few nights before the big day. When I was that young, having a crush was a big deal. Living on the edge meant writing, "I think you are really cool!" on her Valentine's Day card--such a bold move!

To this day, delicious heart shaped candies still haunt me with their fateful messages. Which heart speaks the truth? In the end, we spare ourselves the confusion by devouring every last one of them, ending the reign of their evil prophetic powers. A year later, they return, undaunted. The heart shaped candies know that we're helpless, having only one day to legitimately experience the joy of eating heart shaped things. After all, eating a heart shaped candy on any other day would be absurd! And why would I feel that way? I suspect that I may have learned more about appreciating consumerism than I did about history or math when I was in the first grade.

Despite being older and more skeptical, I still appreciate a few things about Valentine's Day. The thought of making a sincere romantic gesture on February 14th still makes sparks fly within me--just a revealing, creative note or poem, perhaps given anonymously. Why anonymously? Well, sometimes the subject of your adoration doesn't seem ready to consider a relationship, and you just want the pleasure of making her smile without creating tension. There are no strings attached to the anonymous poem; she smiles, I smile, and we both walk away unscathed.

If you're single and you want to celebrate February 14th in a different way, check out Singles Awareness Day. And if you really have a vendetta against Valentine's Day, check out these unwholesome mockeries of Valentine's Day cards. Also highly recommended (by me) is the watching of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. It can be a very cathartic experience, and Vince Guaraldi's music is brilliant. Happy Valentine's Day in advance, and feel free to leave comments with your V-Day thoughts and stories!

Gift Giving in an Online Relationship

"The sound of ecstatic happiness in your loved one's voice is priceless from any distance, as is the joy of giving. With the right gift, you can bridge the divide in an online relationship, making a lasting impression. And, while online gift giving can be a unique challenge, don't let the limitations of cyberspace fool you; creativity flourishes here, making this your time to shine! Read on, and we'll take an in-depth look at some of the best online relationship gift ideas."

[read Qupid's full article here]

February 9, 2009

Can You Say, "I Love You" Too Much?

Straight from Qupid's quill, this article takes a closer look at the words, "I love you," and the way we use them. What makes them special? Can we say them too much? Leave a comment and let Qupid know whether you agree or disagree with his arguments!

"I remember the first time you said that you loved me," whispers a lover to another during a pillow-side conversation. Both hearts leap, as if hand in hand, while the two lovers gaze at each other in admiration. What power lies behind the words, "I love you," when spoken for the first time?"

[read Qupid's full article here]

Welcome to Loveqube!

Welcome to Loveqube, dear friend! I'm your host, Qupid. Here at Loveqube, we aim to write objectively, providing a variety of thought provoking material. Suitable for hopeless romantics and jaded cynics alike, our literature will explore both the positive and negative aspects of love. Thank you for stopping by, and don't forget to return frequently for new content!