The lost art of the love letter
Want to get lucky this Valentine’s Day? Try writing a love letter. You could even do it on actual, you know, letterhead. We’re talking about putting pen to paper.
In the Facebook era, it’s the height of romance “because there is a certain level of effort behind love letters, especially because we’re so wired today,” Dr. Azadeh Aalai, a psychology professor at Montgomery College. “If you’re sending a text, you don’t know if it’s being sent to multiple people. How many people even known the addresses of their friends and acquaintances?”
Records of love letters have been found as far back as Ancient Egypt, and as recently as every other pop song. Throughout the ages, what connects all good love letters is their ability to flatter the recipient and reveal how the sender feels about that special someone. Most importantly, the most effective ones have been penned by hand.
“People still appreciate having something tangible,” Tracey Steinberg, a dating coach and flirting expert based in New York, said. “I’m not dismissing the value of a sweet text or e-mail, but there is something nice about having a letter that your lover gave you.”
Science supports this. Aalai said that there’s a different psychological connection made when a person sees a written signature versus a typed name. Also, the shorthand and acronyms we use while typing don’t hold the same “prose and beauty” of the written word.
Try and you shall succeed
Dianne Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and the owner of the Protocol School of Texas in San Antonio (yes, that place really exists), paralleled the difference between a handwritten love letter and an e-mailed one to showing up to a date with your hair combed and a clean shirt versus showing up with messy hair and a wrinkled shirt you’ve been wearing all day long.
“For a special occasion, it feels much better to receive something that you’ve put in more effort.” Or you could just fill out the form letter, at right.
Mad Libs love letter?
Still stuck on what to write? New York dating coach and flirting expert Tracey Steinberg came up with a form letter that might help you out. Just use as many appropriate adjectives where suggested.
NAME OF PERSON,
I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately and how grateful I am that you are in my life. I’m actually crazy in love with you. I still remember when we first met at ________ and how excited I was to have met such a (beautiful, charming, brilliant, hysterically funny and/or kind) person. You were the most ________ and you still are today. As I get to know you better, my feelings for you have deepened and my appreciation for your ________ has as well. You are ________ and I love that you ________ . I will love you every day for the rest of my life.