Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tip #45: The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator

If you want to create simple (and bad) Gothic poetry very quickly, look no further than's Goth-O-matic Genetrator!!! While it might seem a little simplistic in design, with the pull-down option boxes and bare-bones graphics, the resulting poetry is indeed hysterical as classic, over-the-top lamentable and tragic verse.

Play around with the options and nuances of each poem type, and soon enough, even though you may not be a poet at heart, you will start to find the patterns and themes of actual poetry...and who knows, maybe you might soon be inspired to write your very own odes of woe!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Article: The Death of Romance

Once upon a time there was such a thing called chivalry and romance, and it was far-reaching across many kingdoms and realms. The process of courting and seducing a woman was a slow and tedious one that required perseverance and determination to win over the heart of a particular target of affection. A man was to prove his worth and mettle by way of tasks, risks, and quests to demonstrate his longing for a particular woman, and to what end he was willing to go for the rewarding treasure of love. Quite lovely, no? Meanwhile, (what history tries to avoid) whores and women of ill-repute served as teachers or experience in the craft of sexuality, quenching the thirst for physical desire and release...but that is another story for another time...history is full of hidden and dirty little secrets!

But one doesn't even have to go so far back in time to observe the seemingly innocent act of seduction and courting...remember the term: secret admirer? For those who are too young to remember (or too old to remember because you have the senility), a secret admirer was someone who was driven by attraction, affection, and pure timidity to make him or her offer their target of desire gifts, letters, and such without revealing their identity. Kind of sweet and fanciful, no? Who doesn't like to be admired, from near or from afar? Sure...back in the 60's, 70's, and 80's! But something changed in the 1990's...and that change would alter the foundation of romance at its very core!

Even though (what is now known as) stalking probably existed many, many years prior, it wasn't until the 1990's when it creeped into the social consciousness. It was also, interestingly enough, when terms like date rape, roofies, sexual harassment, and sex offender became part of the mainstream lexicon. Before that, these terms were limited to pervert, creep, and peeping-tom. Laws against sexual harassment and attacks became harsher...and that was a good thing, although not quite perfected yet...and it was during this time that women no longer had to suffer the "she was looking for it" as a defense for rape, however, false allegations of rape and/or date rape were also soaring due to remorse or embarrassment. Suddenly relations between men and women were very tense and strained. I, myself, was witness to this conflict as I was in college in the early nineties. It got so bad that on the extreme side certain heterosexual girls sometimes adopted a lesbian lifestyle and facade as a defensive front...lots of plaid flannel back then! On both sides of the sexes everyone were left confused, frustrated, and angry. 

So, by the mid 1990's, thanks also to Hollywood films like: Fatal Attraction (1987), Misery (1990), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Cape Fear (1991), Single White Female (1992), The Crush (1993), and Fear (1996) just to mention a few, as well as the newly popular crime drama Law & Order, added fuel to the fire which completely burnt down the traditions and boundaries of truly innocent and meaningful romance, to the point where it was dramatically redefined. Gone were the days of the secret admirer or shy suitor. Gone were the days of a long seduction or alluring mystery. Now we are left with only one question when we meet a new prospective love interest: "Will he/she turn into a psycho-crazy stalker, or not?"

What defines a stalker? According to the dictionary it is either 1) A person who stealthily hunts or pursues and animal or another person, or 2) A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention. If you take a step back and look at this definition at a bit of a distance (figuratively), you will notice first the primal act of hunting a specific targeted prey, especially in a stealthy manner. Next, you will find that it entails lavishing that "prey" with unwanted attention at an obsessive level that is then perceived as harassment and/or persecution. Very romantic stuff, indeed, am I right? However, the one key term that really jumps out within this definition is: "Unwanted Attention." This is where the fine line exists. When it is wanted attention it is considered exquisite romance; when it is unwanted attention it is considered obsessive stalking. This is the absolute teetering point which has many gray areas on both sides of the romance/stalking line.

Now, don't get me wrong...I am not condoning stalking in any way, shape, or form! I honestly think these sick individuals should all be cast off on some deserted island somewhere to fend for themselves like the animals they are...and trust me, I've just only recently and finally have shaken off a crazy stalker girl (luckily, she wasn't in the Goth scene *Whew*) of my very own! However, I do find it very interesting that the dynamics of love and romance stems from the same place that hate and obsession comes from.

In 1977, a Psychologist by the name of Dorothy Tennov coined the term "Limerence." In short, limerence describes "an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated," and it has also been suggested that "the state of limerence is the conscious experience of sexual motivation during attraction formation." In other words, what your mind goes through when you develop a crush or infatuation with someone. You see, in a normal and healthy relationship, limerence is an integral part of the mating process in which one's mind is filled with the lightly obsessive distraction and endless thoughts of the other (for the hyper-romantics such as ourselves, this is the stage in which we ideally wish to remain in for as long as possible!), and if the feeling is mutual from the other person in the relationship, then you reach that certain romantic nirvana in which limerence on the both sides serves as a tool to further bond both individuals together...also known as the "Honeymoon Effect." Make no mistake, limerence is, in fact, obsessive behavior, and anyone truly in love will have to experience it (except maybe my long-ago ex-fiancée...that cold hearted ice-queen never showed any sign of limerence! Drove me nuts and depressed! Notice how I keep going on about acknowledgement?). But limerence isn't necessarily a bad thing...unless, of is "unwanted!"

When limerence is completely one-sided and unreciprocated by the other is when it turns from a giddy teenage-like sensation of young puppy love to an ugly and potentially dangerous obsessive behavior. Typically, the mind can not stop focusing on the "Limerant." The characteristics often involve "intrusive thinking about the limerant object, acute longing for reciprocation, fear of rejection, and unsettling shyness in the limerant object's presence." This obsessive state can and will transform, over time and if left untreated, into a deep-seeded hatred, fueled by constant rejection, that could possibly lead to physical violence and even murder/suicide. Never underestimate the ultra-powerful emotion of love and the limerence factor. However, for some that are deeply affected, there seems to be some antidepressant drugs that can help
curb and cope with the behavior (to learn more about limerence in greater detail, visit the Wikipedia listing).

So...where does that leave us? On the one hand, we all strive to perpetually swim within the ideal romantic equilibrium...on the other hand, giving maybe one too many roses, calling or texting one too many times, or showing up unexpected one too many times might very easily put you into the stalker category. It really is fascinating how fine that line is, especially in this day in age. How do we remedy this? Well, first of all, and quite simply: Guys, stop being creepy fiends! Girls, stop being overly dramatic and needy! O.k....maybe that was a bit overly simplistic. But, actually to try to remain on the romantic side of the coin rather than fall onto the stalker side, one must exercise the fundamental rule of seduction: presence and absence; give and take; push and pull. A budding relationship is like effectively build muscle after a workout you need to take a day's rest before the next workout -- in that respect you need space breathing room between you and your lover to create desire, longing, and "positive" limerence. Too much attention will only lead to a feeling of suffocation or being smothered, resentment and eventually "negative" limerence.

Again, I am not trying to trivialize stalkers, sexual predators, or any other forms of psychotic deviants by justifying their actions by any means. The world is filled with very scary and deranged people, and everyone should be cautious and careful with whom they choose to form a relationship with...granted! However, overtly romantic attention should not be immediately construed as obsessive behavior! It is, in fact, all relative. The bottom line here boils down to comfort levels and communication. If you are on the receiving end of limerence behavior and you are not willing to reciprocate, or you are starting to feel uncomfortable about it, do not remain silent or indifferent to it, hoping the problem will eventually float away -- this only fans the flames, or "eggs it on." Instead, proceed to "nip this in the bud" by openly and boldly stating to the person giving you the unwanted attention that you have no romantic feelings to offer them in return (and please, for the love of anything dark and gloomy, do not give the "just friends" speech! I heard it so many times myself during my life, and it feels direct kick to the emotional groin. It might seem kind...but it's not). Be upfront and make a clean break so that everyone involved can heal and move on. The longer things drag on, the easier negative limerence can creep in and wreak havoc! And with this new outlook, maybe...just doing so, we might see a return to romanticism and move further away from obsessive behavior and Temporary Restraining Orders!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hey! You! Read This...

Be sure to add the Romancing the Goth .blog bookmark to your list of favorites or sign up as a follower to keep up with the latest posts, tips, and information!!!

See you in the Dark!
Sir William Welles

Tip #44: Hotel Stay

If there is one thing you need to know about me is that I loathe to travel, especially by air; however, I LOVE to stay at hotels! Wait! Allow me to explain myself in further detail: I despise being treated like a potential terrorist while I am fed through lines and queues like cattle at any given airport to be "processed" only to be squirreled away into an airborne tube filled with classless Day-Crawlers, screaming children, and impatient nursing home escapees! Moreover, air travel is over-priced, not customer friendly (if I hear the words, "We are sorry for any inconvenience," one more time, I'm gonna go all air-rage on someone...and luckily, I don't smoke anymore...imagine that, me on a nicotine withdrawal fit?!?!), and comes with way too many rules and regulations.

I do, however, tolerate train travel (NYC subways excluded...horrible) and find the romantic aspect of long as I find myself in the elitist business class or a private car...maybe like Harry Potter on his way to Hogwarts, checking out the scenery and such. Bus travel? You've got to be kidding me, right? I'd rather hitch-hike. And as far as driving goes, I do love a good road-trip...but fortunately, I don't me, you don't want me behind the wheel of a two thousand pound anything!!! It's bad enough dealing with pedestrian-rage, let alone road-rage...

O.k., o.k....Back to the topic at hand:

While I'm not a fan of physically travelling, I do like going to distant places to experience new cultures and sights (except Dubai...that place is a sneaky Al-Qaeda death trap waiting to happen if I've ever seen one!)...but the best part is staying at hotels!!!

There is just something about being a guest in a temporary "home away from home" that I find so appealing! It's almost like moving into a fully furnished mini-apartment complete with little nooks, crannies, and widgets to discover. For example, my one and only favorite hotel when I (repeatedly) visit Washington D.C. is the Dupont Hotel located on Dupont (duh!) Circle, and I am simply in love with their heated slate rock bathroom floor, super comfy and plush bed, and insanely cold air-conditioning -- especially since every time I show up in D.C. they seem to be having a heatwave...why??? Scientists are still trying to figure this phenomenon out. But enough about me...this tip is for you!

The tip is thus: You don't need to travel to some strange, foreign, or exotic place to enjoy the amenities and creature comforts of a (somewhat) luxurious
hotel room to enjoy it as a mini getaway/vacation/tryst with your lover. Most hotel rooms are like airline tickets, the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. Moreover, if you want to spend the time to research for some better deals, be sure to use websites like,,, or the rest of the pack of site squealing to get at your wallet! You might find some interesting deals...buyer beware! The act here is to book a room for one or two days in a hotel (preferably in a place a bit more upscale than the Motel 6 located on the side of a highway), in or close to your very own city and have a seemingly spontaneous romantic getaway without the hassle of travel! Just remember to put the "Do not disturb" sign on the doorknob!!!

PLUS: If you find yourself in the New York City area and are will to shell out some dollars for a very cool and ultra hip Vampire inspired hotel right in the Times Square area, be sure to check out the Night Hotel! Even their website is Gothy chic! (The photo at the top of this post is of one of the rooms at the Night Hotel)

ALSO: If you want to have a good chuckle, be sure to check out this article: HotelChatter's 10 Ugliest Hotels Alive!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day-Crawlers in the Mist -- Part XI

(Original post date: 9/9/09)
CRIKEY! The craziest things keeps happening to me…WHY?!? Just last night (Tuesday), after a small stint at Otto’s Shrunken Head for Father Vincent’s Dark Water, I sauntered up to my local neighborhood bar, the Blue Room, to say hello to a few non-Goth friends, including the Manager/Bartender, Bob, who is undergoing chemotherapy, and call it an early night. Actually, another one of these friends was a karaoke night there which was always very painful to hear due to drunken idiots who think that they sound like a top-grade singer when belting out a Guns ‘n Roses tune.

I sit down at my usual stool at the end of the bar and quietly sip on my habitual glass of white wine with a glass of ice on the side, while jotting down a few words in my notebook. Hogging the karaoke was this English “bloke” that was rather dweebish and definitely drunk. I paid no mind to any of it. Soon enough my friend wrapped up the karaoke session at about 1:15AM. Whew! But, sure enough, a moment later, I felt this drunk guy’s eyeballs pointing my way. Oh Crap, I thought to myself, he’s going to want to talk to me, isn’t he? Just as he tried to sit down on the stool next to me, I got up and headed to the bathroom to avoid any conversation with this Elvis Costello looking idiot.

As I exited the bathroom, this guy then asks me if I want to play a game of pool with him. “Uh…no, I don’t play pool,” I stated to avoid, yet again, any conversation with this fool and walked off to regain my stool and glass of wine at the head of the bar. The next thing I know this guy sits next to me again! I had to double-check that I didn’t wander into a gay bar by mistake, but nope, same ol’ Blue Room (maybe the name threw him for a loop). Suddenly, I am having the following surreal interaction with this guy that went exactly like this (he starts):

“Let me ask you an obvious question,” he says. Now, I’m thinking he is going to ask me if I was a Vampire, a devil worshipper, in a cult…you know the usual nonsense. No.

“What question,” I ask naively.

“How much do you charge?”

“How much do I…huh?” I exclaim. “Charge for what?

“You will probably think I am a fucking idiot for asking…”

I quickly return, “Yes, I do think you are a fucking idiot,” but I press on, “but how much I charge for what?”

He blushes a bit, I scowl, he continues, “You know. How much do you charge?”
WTF?!?!?!?! “Charge FOR WHAT?!?!?!” I yell. Now in my mind I’m having a debate with myself. Should I just crack my fist across this guy’s face (the manly, bar-room brawly way) and possibly get the cops involved — there was a squad car parked directly across the street — and possibly be charged with assault, not to mention possibly breaking a nail (LOL!)? Should I simply walk away? Should I tell this guy to “bugger off” (which what he was possibly looking for in the first place)? Or what?

At that point, Bob, the Manager/Bartender, sensing a commotion at the end of the bar, instructs this “bugger” to move to the opposite end of the bar by stating, “He doesn’t want to talk to you, buddy! C’mon! Go to your beer at the other end!”

This guy turns to me, sways a bit and asks me, “You don’t want to talk to me?”

“FUCK NO!” is what I responded in an instant. All eyes are on this scene now. Then, after taking the biggest hint known to mankind, he moved down to the other end of the bar, and thus leaving me alone to ridicule the entire situation with my group of friends. Bonus: Within the next 20 minutes finishing a sloppy game of pool, this idiot was promptly thrown out of the establishment for being…well…a fucking annoying freak!!!

And, of course, he tries to protest and attempts to come back in for one last beer. “GET OUT!!!!” we all scream at him. It always amazes me how when every time some really shitfaced guy gets thrown out of a bar, any bar, they fight tooth and nail to get back in, as if it is the only bar in town! Why would you want to go back into a place where everyone thinks you’re an absolute tool for further humiliation? I Just don’t get it!

Back to the issue at hand: Let me get one thing straight with everyone right now: often, due to the length of my hair, the occasional eye make-up (Guy-Liner!), my black nail polish covered claws, and meticulous fashion style, as well as my disinterest of cars, sports, and other testosterone related activities (other than acourtin’ the ladies), I do get prejudged as a homosexual…which I am not. Comedian Russell Brand says it best:

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being gay, and, in case you haven’t realized it yet but, the Goth culture has quite a lot in common with the Gay community, along with some overlaps from time to time. So, calling or assuming, that I am gay is not an insult to me. Point black.


Tip #43: Symbolism

Believe it or not, symbolism is actually quite an important detail within the romantic language. Aside from hints, innuendos, and double-entendres, symbolism puts into play physical objects or imagery, rather than words or meanings, to convey a feeling and/or emotion.

Take for example the most universally known and wide-spread symbol for love: the heart. Now we all know that the actual emotion of love does not physically exist or comes from the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. No, no, no... In fact, the complex emotion of love stems from the brain and utilizes the services of many organs and glands (*giggle*) throughout the body! So, how did the (simplified) image of the heart become the widely-known symbol of love? Simply because when the target of one's affections or a loved one is near or mentally pictured, one's heart is felt pounding due to neurochemicals and hormones that would trigger the heart to pump faster, thus allowing more oxygen to feed the brain in order to focus on the instinctive rituals of mating. It also translate in a form of nervousness and even anxiety. Pretty biological stuff, huh? Yeah, is what it is. However, I do applaud the first person that associated this feeling and translated it to a simple (and non-gory) image of a heart. Interestingly enough, the color red, which represented blood, still remains in the symbol of love...although somewhere down the line it was diluted to pink and even white for St. Valentine's Day.

Another symbol of love that has transcended time is one or many red roses. Roses, actually, symbolize quite a plethora of things within multi-cultural society, but as for love it stems (get it? stems?) from ancient Greek, Roman, and Christian mythology, again with the color red representing the blood of a loved one and/or martyr.

There are many other symbols associated with love and romance in the mainstream culture...more notably are: Cupid (why a chubby flying baby in diapers armed a bow and arrows came to represent love...I'll never understand!); the Apple, which represents ecstasy, fertility, and abundance; the Harp represents love in the form of lyrical art, poetry, and music; the Maple Leaf in China and Japan is an emblem of lovers; and a Shell, because of its protective casing, is a symbol of protecting life and love.

But outside of those, mainly obvious, symbols, you should try to create and employ some of your very own symbols within your relationship and/or seduction! There are may just have to look out for them and have the symbol represent and signify something special between the both of you. For example: what would an old fashioned key, tied with two different colored ribbons might represent? What might the Empire State building or even the Statue of Liberty symbolize to a couple? Or how about a model rocket ship, a (winged) bat, an eyeball, handcuffs, or even a skull (other that the obvious symbol of death)? They can mean thousands of things to thousands of people...what is important is to make it distinctive to you and the message you wish to convey. Moreover, it is subtle and private...and on some occasions it may also be used as a sort of riddle or part of a puzzle that one has to figure out. The key here, again, is to keep it mysterious and highly romantic while seemingly effortless.

Now, while this tip might seem a bit vague and is supposed to be! That is what symbolism is all about...a vague reference to something specific. Learn to incorporate a few to many symbols within your romantic and love life, and let imagery, coupled with meaning, serve as your secondary voice of romance!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Poem: When We Two Are Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

                                             ~Lord Byron

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Dilemma

At one point of my wretched life, about ten years ago, I was actually a happy person...I had a wonderful girlfriend and after dating for just over a year, we both decided to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. However there was one girlfriend's beautiful younger sister! My prospective sister-in-law was only 22 at the time. She wore hot little miniskirts all the time and other provocative clothing every time I saw her. To make matters worse, every time she was near me she would find the occasion to bend over in front of me to offer a view of her fantastic ass. She never did that when anyone else was around. It had to be deliberate!

Then, one day, "little" sister called and asked for me to come over to her family's house to sort out an issue with the wedding invitations (she was in charge of that for her older sister). She was alone when I arrived, and soon enough she was extra flirty and whispering in my ear that for over several months she had developed strong feelings and desires that she simply could not deny herself of any longer. She then tells me that she wanted to me to sleep with her one time before I committed my life to her sister. I could not believe my ears and the room started to feel as if it was starting to spin! I was in total shock and found it hard to even utter a single word!!!

Suddenly, she said, "I'm going upstairs to my old bedroom, and if you want to have one last hot and nasty fling, just come up and...get me!" I stood frozen as I watched her glide up the stairs as if in slow motion. When she reached the top of the stairs she proceeded to pull down her panties and throw them down at me, landing on my left shoulder, and she seductively set off toward her childhood bedroom. I stood there for a moment longer pondering the situation...turned...and quickly made a beeline for the front door...I opened the door and made a mad dash for my car. All of a sudden, standing on the front lawn, I am confronted by my entire future in-law family and fiance...all of them clapping! With tears in his eyes, my future father-in-law hugged me and said, "We are so happy you passed our little test! We couldn't ask for a better man for our precious daughter! Welcome to the family, son!!!"

The moral of this story: Always keep your condoms and sex toys in the car!!!


Just checking to see if you were all paying attention!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tip #42: I Love You

I LOVE YOU. Three simple words forming a very simple sentence that consists of a subject (I), a verb (love), and an object (you). We hear it on a constant basis via songs, television, family members, and from loved ones (if you are lucky enough). However, this simple little sentence is remarkably potent and loaded with emotion, be it spoken or written. In the English language it is a very definitive and bold statement, but ironically millions upon millions of people vocalize throughout their daily lives that they "love" a certain song, that they "love" chocolate cheesecake, or that they "love" their favorite television show, thus stripping the value of the word love when it comes to inanimate objects, types of media & entertainment, or a romantically unattainable person...weird, huh?

But saying "I love you" to a person with whom you have deep feelings for can, and is, be a very daunting affair, especially for the first time! For most it is a positively terrifying ordeal, and in some cases relationships have fallen apart because neither person took the initiative to take the "I love you" sad...

An important lesson I once learned from watching the television show Ugly Betty is that: Not saying I love you to a lover first is not a sign of power, it is a sign of being afraid. So true! Declaring honest love to someone should never be a competition or a power struggle, it is just honest declaration of one's love toward another...and naturally vulnerability is at a an all time high, flat-out rejection is a huge risk, and emotions are raw like an exposed nerve.

Of course, the biggest concern is what if he/she is not at the same point in the relationship and might only reply, "Oh...that's nice..." or worse, laugh right in your face! The worrier's imagination will run wild. On the flip side, if you are the receiver of the first "I love you," this puts you on the spot and at an awkward position for a reaction. It's just one of those threshold points in a growing relationship that is not unlike, "Will you go out with me?"/"Will you sleep with me?"/or "Will you marry me?" Each stage being marked by an awkward moment potentially laden with rejection.

But a lot of this has to do with language and romantic culture. To drive home an example, let us take a trip back to France...beecawze, werr aye am frum, wee arr zee luverz, not zee fyterz! Oui, Oui! Actually, did you know that in the "official country of romance" there is no such phrase for "I love you"? It's true! Instead, there is an echelon that exists ranging from "I like you" to "I adore you." It pretty much goes like this:

  • Je t'aime bien = I like you well (used on a quasi-friendly basis)
  • Je t'aime = I like you (the root term)
  • Je t'aime beaucoup = I like you a lot
  • Je t'aime trop = I like you too much
  • Je t'aime à folie = I like you to madness (Whoa!)
  • Je t'adore = I adore you
Quite simply, in the French language there is a noun for "love," amour, but no verb for it. However, the closest approximation to "I love you" as we know here comes in two forms:

  • Je t'aime, tu sais = Translation: I like you, you know that? (equal to the initial "I love you" in a budding relationship by ending the statement with a question that needs to be answered)
  • Je t'aime, mon amour/coeur = I like you, my love/heart. (The simple "I love you" seasoned couples share on a (hopefully) daily basis. 
So there...that's the French lesson for the day! Now let's examine what the hierarchy of love terms is for the anglophone languages: 

  • I like you
  • I like-like you/I like you very much
  • I really like you
  • I love you
  • I love you to pieces
  • I adore you (can also be construed as a friendly compliment by adding the word "simply" into the phrase, as in: "I simply adore you!")
Now, don't get me wrong...the different awkward stages of a relationship do exist in France and in the world over, but I'm just pointing out that there is a different and gradual nuance in play here that makes the transition from "like" to "love" in a highly passionate country is always assumed and is the main goal of the relationship...not a milestone or a hurdle to clear.

You are now probably thinking to yourself, that's all fine and good, ya Frog, but how the hell is this a tip that will help me...I don't live in France!!!


The tip is this: Don't make sharing the first "I love you's" such an ordeal or hurdle. Like the French, you need to gradually introduce the "L" word into your relationship's vocabulary. Start small, maybe ending a letter with "Love, [insert name here]" and women alike always pause to ponder over the meaning behind that signature sentiment like giddy school children. If you disagree with this then you are either lying or overusing the word "love" in your everyday communicative practices, thus lessening its emotional power. 

Another way to work in the "L" word into the relationship is to use it in a heartfelt compliment: "I love the way you said that," "I love it when you wear that perfume," "I love the way you look tonight," or "I love how you howl at the full moon." This does work me. Once, a certain someone I find myself pining over said to me over casual dinner conversation, "I love you for having a zippo lighter when you don't even smoke anymore!" (It's always a good idea to have a source of fire on you at all times) My heart was aflutter for a full week from that sentence. It was small and an insignificant comment, and in no way a grandiose declaration of any amorous intent, but the language it was framed in really touched me. She could have simply stated: "I find it rather interesting that you carry around a fully fueled, old fashioned mechanical flame starter when you clearly do not require it for recreational tobacco use."

Moreover, if you do find yourself in the awkward "I love you" moment you must use the utmost tact and grace as to not upset and/or embarrass your lover. Let me share with you the first time a girl told me "I love you" and the awkward moment that followed as a preface...

It was the hot and tumultuous Summer of 1994 and I have been seeing Jessica (names have been changed to protect the guilty) for a good three months or so. We met as co-workers at the Gap located on 8th Street and Broadway (Yes! I worked at the Gap for 8 months to help pay for college. I'm not proud...but I was young and needed the money. Striving for the "Denim Expert" position was a low point in my life and required years of therapy to put it behind me. Don't judge!!!) On one particularly lazy afternoon while Jessica and I were getting cozy on my couch, we started to playfully kiss one another while exchanging verbal pleasantries. At one point, between a kiss and a lip nibble, I said, "I really like being with you," to which she replied, "I love you too!" (What? Hold the phone!!!)  

"What did you just say?" I immediately inquired.

"Nothing," she sheepishly recoiled.

"No," I insisted, "not said you loved me!" It was my first time hearing those words and I was probably too smug for my own good. Jessica's only response were sudden tears of overwhelming embarrassment.

She really put her emotions on the line by blurting out an "I love you too" without me initiating with the proper "I love you." In her mind she thought she was returning the sentiment, but in reality she was the one to say it first. Tears were streaming down her soft face. Fortunately, at the time, I felt the same way about her! Kissing away her tears, I reassured he that I felt the same and we then spent the following three years like a married couple...that is, until she left me to rekindle a high-school romance and moved out to go back to Florida. Thus is romance...thus is life. No regrets...

The lesson here is that the awkward "I love you" phase can pounce on you at any given moment, whether you are saying it or hearing it. The moment is the moment, and you must respect that! It takes a lot of courage to take the plunge. If you feel the same, opposite, indifferent, or confused by hearing "I love you" from someone for the first time, you must play your hand with absolute decorum and, again, tact.

So, the second part of the tip is how to tactfully handle each situation when hearing those three little words from the person(s) you are involved with:

  • Scenario #1: You love her/him as well...all is Gothic gravy! In return say that you are in love with them as well, share a passionate and meaningful kiss...progress your relationship from there.
  • Scenario #2: You saw this coming but are not ready to return the sentiment -- This is the first touchy scenario. If you aren't ready to commit and declare your love back to this person, politely state the following in a really respectful manner (or something very similar): "I am really flattered by your words, and I am very fond of you as must understand that...but I find that saying "I love you" back at this time is too fast for me, and I wouldn't want to lie to you if I did say it. I just want to be absolutely sure of my feelings for you before I say you understand?" and then have an intelligent discussion about your feelings for one another, making sure that no one leaves hurt, angry, or pressured.
  • Scenario #3: You are really not into this person, or are very indifferent...this is the second touchy scenario (stalkers are made of these). If you are in a casual relationship and the "I love you" bomb is dropped on you at a point in which you are totally uncommitted or unattached to the other person, this step will undoubtedly seem premature and unwarranted...not to mention unexpected and uncomfortable. This is when you have to be blunt and to the point. "Whoa! Let's slow down here! I like you and all, but this is way too sudden. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but please understand, I simply can't rush into things right you understand where I'm coming from?" From the conversation that follows assess the relationship and either progress within it or end it at the next opportune occasion.
Of course these three scenarios are very generalized and you will find that each situation is rather unique. The guideline is to treat each situation with respect, tact, and genuine decorum as to not completely shatter some one's open and vulnerable heart.

In short, whether you declare your love, or are on the receiving end, or you both arrive at the plateau of love gradually and mutual, be sure to tread lightly and take into strong consideration the other person's feelings and emotions!

Bonus: How to say "I Love You" in other languages:

Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou!
Albanian: Te dua!
Amharic: Afekrishalehou!
Arabic: Ohiboke (m to f), Nohiboka (f to m, or m to m)
Armenian: Yes kez si'rumem!
Basque: Maite zaitut!
Bengali: Ami tomake bahlobashi!
Bosnian: Volim te!
Bulgarian: Obicham te!
Catalan: T'estimo!
Creole: Mi aime jou!
Croatian: Volim te!
Czech: Miluji tev!
Danish: Jeg elsker dig!
Dutch: Ik hou van je! 
Esperanto: Mi amas vin!
Estonian: Mina armastan sind!
Farsi: Tora dost daram!
Filipino: Iniibig kita!
Finnish: (Mä) rakastan sua!

Frisian: Ik hald fan dei!
Galician: Querote!
German: Ich liebe dich!
Greek: S'ayapo!
Gujarati: Hoon tane pyar karoochhoon! tane chaahuN chhuN!
Hawaiian: Aloha wau ia 'oe!
Hebrew: Anee ohev otakh (m to f), Anee ohevet otkha (f to m), Anee ohev otkha (m to m), Anee ohevet otakh (f to f)
Hindi Mai tumase pyar karata hun (m to f), Mai tumase pyar karati hun (f to m)
Hungarian: Szeretlek!
Icelandic: Eg elska thig!
Indonesian: Saya cinta padamu!
Irish: t'a gr'a agam dhuit!
Italian: Ti amo!
Japanese: Kimi o ai shiteru!
Korean: Dangsinul saranghee yo!
Latin: Te amo!
Latvian: Es tevi milu!
Lithuanian: As tave myliu!
Malaysian: Saya cintamu!
Mandarin: Wo ai ni!
Marshallese: Yokwe Yuk!
Norwegian: Jeg elsker deg!
Polish: Kocham ciebie!
Portuguese: Eu te amo!
Romanian: Te iubesc!
Russian: Ya tyebya lyublyu!
Sanskrit: twayi snihyaami
Serbian: Volim te!
Sesotho: Kiyahurata!
Slovak: Lubim ta!
Slovenian: Ljubim te!
Spanish: Te amo!
Swahili: Nakupenda!
Swedish: Jag älskar dig!
Tagalog: Mahal kita!
Thai: Phom rug khun (Male speaker) Chan rug khun (Female speaker)
Turkish: Seni seviyorum!
Ukrainian: Ya tebe kokhayu!
Urdu: Main tumse muhabbat karta hoon!
Vietnames:e Anh yeu em (m to f), Em yeu an (f to m)
Welsh: Rwy'n dy garu di!
Yiddish: Kh'hob dikh lib!
Zulu: Ngiyakuthanda!