Romance 101: What Dudes Can Learn From TV

New GirlGreg Gayne/FOX

During this time of year, guys everywhere start putting on their thinking caps to come up with romantic ideas to impress a woman, whether it’s someone that he’s just met or the person he’s been married to for 20 years.

While many men struggle with the intricacies of romance, the dudes of television have a whole team of writers helping them figure things out. Thanks to those scribes, a little television watching can provide a steady stream of lessons that will help even the most clueless guy navigate the wild waters that Nathan Fillion’s Rick Castle and John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert have already traversed.

Let Your Partners Be Themselves (and Make a Big Deal of Their Birthdays)
When your significant other is the person that the term “adorkable” was coined for, a certain amount of quirkiness is to be expected… but even if you’re not dating Jess from New Girl, you have to let your lover be her or himself. Jake Johnson’s Nick has grown to love Zooey Deschanel’s alter ego because of her individuality. Even when he doesn’t understand what’s going on entirely, he tries. After learning that Jess has always been disappointed by her big birthday expectations, Nick didn’t just plan a surprise party… he rented a theater and made a movie to honor his girl. Sometimes you have to go big or go home.

Be Patient and Maybe Eventually Your Partner Will Do Something
After Castle bided his time for four seasons, it was finally Beckett (Stana Katic) that made the move after she had a near death experience. Television history is littered with similar examples. Most of our favorite TV fellows have difficulty reading romantic signals — when in doubt, stand there and look stupid long enough and sooner or later they’ll tell you what to do (or just do it themselves).

Don’t Let Your Partner’s Intellectual Superiority Intimidate You
On Bones, David Boreanaz’s Special Agent Booth is a highly accomplished FBI operative. He’s a man’s man and quite good looking to boot. Even with all of that, however, there’s no getting around the fact that he’s in love with someone who is smarter than he is. Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is too brilliant for anyone to compete with… so Booth doesn’t try. He appreciates the fact that Bones is intelligent. Instead of trying to match intellects or stressing out about it, he just tries to get her to like pie. Lesson? Pick battles you might have a chance to win.

Bring Your Partner Coffee (or Some Sort of Beverage)
Castle always brings Beckett coffee in the morning. Sometimes he makes her coffee. They rarely show Beckett actually drinking the coffee. For all we know she prefers tea, but Castle brings her coffee every day because it makes her smile. If you find something that makes your partner smile every day, then you keep doing it.

“You Know Nothing” Can Still Mean “I Like You”
Everyone knows that adolescents sometimes act poorly towards each other in order to mask other feelings. On Game of Thrones, Rose Leslie’s Ygritte’s catch phrase is “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Of course, then she saved his life and seduced him. So, even in adulthood, if someone is tormenting and mocking you, it doesn’t mean that she or he doesn’t dig you.