Not to beat the dead horse that is “Utah is a weird place” jokes, but Utah is a weird place. For the most part, Utahns own the whole “peculiar people” stigma. But there’s one particularly bizarre thing I haven’t been able to get over since moving here from Las Vegas three years ago.
Utahns are obsessed with the five love languages.
They make for frequent dinner table conversation. It’s not uncommon for them to pop up in discussions about past relationships and where they went wrong — “He knows my love language is quality time. I can’t believe he would just ditch me like that!”
In Utah, knowing the five love languages is almost as important as familiarity with the necessity of garment-length hemlines and caffeine-free Diet Coke.
For the fellow outsiders who might not be familiar, the five love languages are the brainchild of anthropologist/philosopher Gary Chapman. The idea is that we all have different ways of expressing and experiencing acts of love between romantic partners. Some people feel most loved through acts of service, some prefer quality time with their S/O. Some are looking for a partner to shower them with gifts and words of affirmation. And some are just interested in good, old-fashioned butt-touching.
That all sounds just peachy, but it’s pretty obvious Gary Chapman’s been out of the game for a while. Social media and the ever-evolving miracle that is the Internet have flipped the dating game on its head. Or its butt, whichever you prefer. Chapman doesn’t mention ghosting, negging, bread-crumbing or the intricate social dynamics of Instagram selfie-liking. The five love languages don’t include leaving Pringles on your true love’s doorstep at 3 a.m., then waiting to like her tweet documenting your goal-worthy relationship.
And of course, the everlasting importance of pizza.
Though their idealism is endearing, Chapman’s love languages hardly represent the honest modern dating experience. And today, they’re in for a much-needed facelift.
The honest five love languages for ladies
1. Say it with a kiss(y face emoji)
I don’t care if you’re six-foot-seven and sporting a neck beard, you’re never too manly to send your lovely lady a kissy face emoji.
In fact, it’s weird if you don’t.
Emojis are the hallmark of modern communication — saying a lot by saying absolutely nothing at all. And like most forms of communication in successful relationships, they’re meant to be mutual. If she sends a kissy face emoji and you don’t reciprocate with at least blushing smiley face, you may as well have high-fived her when she leaned in for a hug.
Don’t bother calling an ambulance, your flirtationship is as good as dead.
2. Say it with a pizza
Or a burrito. Or a candy bar. Or the much-loved Twitter classic, a single Pringle on her doorstep at 3 a.m.
Admittedly, this method of communicating love isn’t exclusive to the Internet Age — or exclusive to romantic relationships. Breaking bread together is a time-tested method of showing you’re *with* someone — as a friend, or as a couple. At the risk of stepping into sacrilegious territory, even Jesus did it.
So don’t just share that Little Caesar’s slice with your homies, share some love with your lady, too. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to show someone you care.
And remember, receiving or refusing food can have just as much meaning as giving it. If you offer to grab her some McNuggets on your way home from work and she says she’s not hungry, you might have a problem on your hands.*
*(Just kidding. There doesn’t have to be a double meaning embedded in everything women do. Just most things).
3. Tell me I’m pretty (by liking my selfie)
In the Internet Age, nonverbal communication means just as much as verbal. Sometimes more. These days, a double-tap on your crush’s selfie is just as good as saying, “Hello, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
That’s not to say you shouldn’t compliment your lady in person. Definitely do that, too. Every other sentence out of your mouth should be something along the lines of “By the way, you’re beautiful.” Pro tip: it’s also an excellent way to soften the blow when you’ve got some potentially devastating news, like so:
“Um hi, remember when I said we could go see that rom-com starring that blonde lady and the awkward dude who may have been an extra in Mad Men? Well, actually I have to work. And by the way, you’re gorgeous.”
“Hey, sorry I chose to play video games instead of go on a date with you. And by the way, you’re beautiful.” (Don’t expect a text back on that one, but it’s a good way to make sure she might not hate you five-ever.)
Even better, communicate your compliments completely via emoji.
4. Rip Netflix and Chill out of your dating playbook
Now, burn the book and start over from scratch.
Nothing can ruin a good first kiss like the blood-curdling screams of the latest zombie plague victim on The Walking Dead.
Netflix and Chill is a great go-to date idea if you want your crush to fall in love with that dude she told you not to worry about, who it turns out doesn’t use her as a human throw pillow and fall asleep on her every time they hang out. His name is Chad, by the way, but you won’t find that out until their engagement announcement shows up in your mailbox six months from now.
Let me be clear — Netflix and Chill isn’t bad. It’s great, in fact. It’s just the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. It’s your reward when you’ve upgraded from flirtationship status to MCM- and WCW-ing each other.**
And even when you’ve licked your way to the center of the Tootsie Pop, don’t make Netflix and Chill your go-to. Pass go, collect your $200, and move on with life. Netflix and Chill is the Beto’s breakfast burrito of dating — it’s always better in moderation.
**False. You should never MCM or WCW anyone, ever. If John Legend and Chrissy Teigen can be literal #RelationshipGoals without ever employing the unmentionable hashtags, you can, too.
5. Be nice to me when I know I’m being a b****
This is the part where I stop pretending to speak for women and just speak for myself (and the roommates whose brains I picked in preparation for writing this). Sometimes, I can be a little… grouchy — particularly when hungry (see number 2 above). Also impatient, easily irritated and maybe a little bit whiny. And the best thing a guy can do in those situations is not to immediately un-bae me, but to be patient with me.
Call it what you want — flirtationship, relationship, “just hanging out” — they all require patience. And part of that is understanding that contrary to what I may have managed to convince you during the early stages of dating, I am a human being. So is every woman. We’re absolutely not perfect and I’d venture to say we’re almost always aware when our not-so-perfect side is showing.
The guaranteed way to a girl’s heart (at least this girl’s) isn’t always through showering them with gifts or heart-eyes emojis. Sometimes, it’s just letting them be what they are. It’s accepting their human-ness, forgiving them when they cross the line and loving them anyway. (Yes, I used the L-word. Don’t freak out.)
— Alyssa Roberts is by no means a relationship expert. The weirdest movie she ever “Netflix and Chilled” to was “13th.”
2. So, cupcakes are amazingThis is sort of old school, but even if you’re not one for the culinary arts there are plenty of ways to show your love with sugary treats. Would you appreciate being surprised with a dozen roses on a completely random day of the year? Nice, right? Apply that principle to a dozen maple bars from a local bakery.