Thursday, February 08, 2007

Samara O'Shea GuestBlog: For The Boys

Contest!!! One lucky commenting Bella will win a free, custom-written Valentine’s Day love letter to her man (or a Bel Typo's woman) from Samara (actually from you, just written by Samara). Please indicate in your comment that you need help saying something especially fresh and sweet this year.
When her publicist from HarperCollins asked if I was interested in featuring Samara O'Shea's upcoming release, "For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing from the Elegant to the Erotic," I thought I'd do better, I'd invite her to speak to you. What better place for an expert in the art of written communication of emotions to visit than a place where we work so hard to say it just exactly right, and always with a smile?

Today, the founder of treats us to a marvelous GuestBlog about what men really have on their minds at Valentine's Day. Please offer Samara -- a beautiful name for a beautiful woman, no? -- a warm buongiorno...

Do Men Like Receiving Love Letters as Much as Women?

In my experience yes, but they just don’t know it. Most men don’t dream of receiving long, passionate love letters the way that women do, but everyone needs occasional reassurance from their lover that they’re considered attractive and appreciated all around. If this admission comes in letter form then men can certainly appreciate it as much as women.

In the early days of my letter-writing service ( most of my customers were women all wanting to write a love letter “he’ll never forget.” One woman’s husband told her all he wanted for Valentine’s Day was a written admission of her love. In my opinion, that was a lot of pressure to put on her, but we did end up writing something that he was very happy with and moved by. In that instance the guy knew what was coming, but you can usually catch a man completely off guard by writing him a love letter. I believe any romantic gesture is heightened when the element of surprise is involved, so most love letters for men are guaranteed to have that affect—even if they come on Valentine’s Day. A letter of any length can be effective. A long confession of your love or a medium-length missive where you simply list all the ways he turns you on. Even something short, quickly scribbled, and left on the pillow such as “You’re so hot!” is sure to make him smile.

A few years ago I wrote a powerful (or so I thought) love letter to a man I was dating. I never heard from him after that. Ouch! As I was writing my first book I had to get in touch with him to ask his permission to reprint an e-mail he had written me. In his response he said I could use what he wrote and, “You must include the letter that you wrote to me a while back. It was the nicest, sexiest, sweetest, and most erotic letter someone has ever given me. I still have it. I don’t think I could ever throw it away.” This response made me very happy, even if it came two years late. If you are currently involved with or married to your object of desire then their response of appreciation is bound to come much sooner.

How have the men in your life reacted to love letters?

Visit Samara at!
Encore! Kris Waldherr, author of "The Lover's Path," GuestBlogs tomorrow, Friday, Feb 9.
Encore due! Visit the all-new Romance: B(u)y the Book!


Anonymous said...

Hey Samara,great question! As a man I feel that I do enjoy getting love letters and flowers from women. It's not something I talk about openly in the locker room but it does make me feel really good. Everyone has feelings whether your a man or woman and we all like to feel good. I think my fellow workout buds wouldn't mind getting a love letter, but probably not the flowers. LOL.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Welcome, Blake. Very cool that you dig the letters/flowers. I've always felt guys thought letters/notes were hot, because they never expected them, and words inspire visually imagery, no? But I wonder, at what point in a relationship would guys be more comfortable with words of affection, rather than early relationship heart-stoppers?

And buongiorno,Samara! First, I can't get over this:
A few years ago I wrote a powerful (or so I thought) love letter to a man I was dating. I never heard from him after that. Ouch

followed by...

In his response he said I could use what he wrote and, “You must include the letter that you wrote to me a while back. It was the nicest, sexiest, sweetest, and most erotic letter someone has ever given me. I still have it. I don’t think I could ever throw it away.”

Huh? Did he follow it by, "I'm so completely insecure I couldn't handle a beautiful woman who could express on paper more erotic thoughts than I'd ever had in my tiny, little brain?"

You have to understand, you come here, you're a Bella, and I protect my Bellas. So I'm thinkin: Something does not compute.

OK, I'm really dying to know the whole story, cause I love "how we met/this guy I'm dating,etc." tales.

Now, I have this theory that there's no such thing as romance. Yeah. I'm in the wrong business, right?

But, what's really romantic is consideration. When someone comes to you for help with a letter, they're giving their lover the gift of considering what makes that person feel good, special, like a stud or seductress.

There's nothing more romantic than a little forethought.

The love letters I write to my husband are always designed to make him understand what I really appreciate about him (for instance -- how he's always happy to support my romance reading). I always use humor. Once, I wrote him in the style of an over-blown 18th Century erotic epistle.

That he's a guy's guy makes it even funnier to him, and that way he can accept the strong emotions behind it. Yet the thing I think he appreciates most is a little tag on an email: I miss you, I love you, thanks for being there for me when I was done reading Emmah Holly last night.

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Samara!!! I'm so excited to have you here with us today and just in the nick of time. I *suck* at writing love letters. I think I get too gushy and I have a "man's man" type hubby.
However, when he puts his mind to it, he can write a *very* good love letter.

LOL, Michelle!!!

Anonymous said...

I think many men do appreciate getting love letters. Everyone wants to hear how their significant other feels about them. Sweet nothings aren't gender specific. Also, since so many guys are shy about expressing their feelings, he may feel more comfortable hearing how you feel in a less direct way. And you'll encourage him to return the favor!

Jersey Girl said...

Hi Samara -- I've never written a love letter to a guy but your story inspired me. Maybe I will write one this Valentine's Day. Do you have any more tips for writing a good one?

Anonymous said...

Hi Samara-
I've actually never written a love letter to a man that I was seeing... although looking back, I wish that I had on several occasions. I'm usually attracted to men who are fairly confident in themselves, and I assume that they already know how great they are! I guess I worry that a letter would be somewhat patronizing. What do you think? Maybe I'll try to get my thoughts on paper the next time I date someone I really like. What's a good opening line?

Anonymous said...

Good morning everyone!

I'm so happy to be here.

Thanks Blake for being the first person (and guy!) to chime in. I'm glad to hear you're an open love letter receiver.

Michelle, thanks for calling me a Bella. It feels so official now. Yes, isn't that a crazy love letter story? What I found out later was that he had been dating someone else the entire time he was seeing me, so the letter I wrote him made it clear that my feelings were REALLY STRONG and he decided (as men do sometimes) that not talking to me is the same as not hurting me. Well, not exactly. That's what I've surmised anyway.

It warms my heart to know that you make such an effort to write your husband love letters. Even Circa 18th-Century letters. That's admirable. And it makes sense that he appreciates the tag lines most. Simple sentiments can be so effective!

Anonymous said...

From a guy's perspective, we do enjoy the letters! The expectation in today's world seems to be that "man's man" persona that Julie in Ohio mentioned above. This is starting to change but reinforcement in any kind will help. Letters like these, especially when they're well written, help men to feel important and remind us about the things that really matter. I have my precious letter from that certain someone tucked away in a safe place. We're no longer together, and regardless of how things ended the letter reminds me of what I'm capable of and how I made her feel. On those long nights I think about it. Once in a while I'll pull it out (the scent of her perfume is vaguely present). It gets me deep inside where not many other things can. It is amazing how powerful such a simple piece of paper can be if the words on it are crafted just so. I encourage you all to consider this not only on the upcoming holiday but whenever the spirit moves you. It works wonders.

Anonymous said...

Julie, thank you for the warm welcome. A Guys guy is difficult to write for, but even they need positive reinforcement (whether they admit it or not!) I think Michelle's approach, with the short but sweet tag lines, "I can't wait to see you tonight" or "Have a great day handsome!" can turn him into a softy (for at least a second).

Miss Jersey Girl, So this is your first time huh? Don't worry, the letter can really write itself (especailly if you're crazy about the guy). The first sentence can be simple, "There's something I've wanted to tell you for quite some time" or "I was thinking about you the other day and wanted to share my insights." Then you can let loose about how much fun you're having (if it's a new relationship) or that you're still crazy about him (after all this time).

Anonymous said...

From personal experience, I know that my man wouldn't DARE tell anyone that he received or wrote a love letter. This would strictly break the "guy code". However, after receiving a love letter from me, he occassionaly verbally quotes something that I wrote in the letter. I know this is his teasing way of telling me it meant the world to him.

I've also found that in due time, he will surprisingly return the favor when he's ready. After spending time thinking about his words, he has never failed to amaze me at what emotion and thought goes into his letters. Although, he would NEVER refer to it as a "love letter" . . . simply a message. Again, "guy code" is key. If we, as women, can honor this manly tradition, then men will honor our love of letters.

Anonymous said...

Hi Samara--I'm a huge advocate of writing and recieveing letters! I love the idea of sending romantic letters(what can I say, I'm a girl and a die-hard Jane Austen fan at that), but what type of letters do you think guys prefer to recieve? Should they be sexy or sentimental?

Adriana said...

mmmmmm, I'm going to have to confess here that my husband (the other half of Adriana) is really much better at writing love letters than I am, and almost every birthday, mother's day and valentines day I receive a touching and heartfelt loveletter from him. Life of course is never smooth, and one of the things I love about his letters is that the whole range of what we've faced and conquered is reflected in the letters. They're not just sugar coated throwaways, they're keepers, and I've kept them. He's a keeper too, don't you think?

traveler said...

Writing love letters requires a light hand and being careful as well. Otherwise it may be misconstrued and we wouldn't want that. I have never written one yet but would love to try it. It would be a wonderful experience to have someone receive such a special letter and know that they deserve this.

Anonymous said...

Maggie Taylor, I know where you're coming from. It's a common misconception that men are full of confidence and don't need to be told how great they are. It's true they can be very confident creatures, but so can women. I consider myself a savvy woman with healthy self-esteem and I still love hearing from a certain someone about how intriguing he finds me. Men are the same way. They have a confident shell but they still need little reminders that they are admired all around. If you do go ahead and write a letter to the next great guy you're dating then you'll be writing what I call a "crush confession," which is the little sister of the love letter. It's when you write a breezy note in the early days of dating that doesn't admit to love just yet, but still comes clean about all those feel-really-good feelings. To start off one of those you can refer to your most recent date, "Hey you, I just wanted to reiterate how much fun I had last weekend. I haven't felt this comfortable around someone in a long time."

Julie in Ohio said...

Thanks for the advice, Samara. I think with my guy shorter is better.
There are times when he's getting ready for work and I'll make a comment on how handsome he looks in his scrubs and he'll blush. There is nothing cuter than a tough guy blushing. :o)
I also have a tendacy to ramble so, again, shorter may be the way to go.

Adriana- My guy has written a few very touching love letters in our time and I, too, have kept every single one. I pull them out and reread them whenever he's not around and I wish he were.

He is much better at giving than receiving, and I'm much better at receiving. We are such a team. :oP

Anonymous said...

David, You're a man after my own heart! One of my favorite feats of letter writing is their permanency and their nostalgia. And yes, even though your relationship didn't work out you can still experience all the good parts of it through the letter. She can still make you smile years later, and I'm sure anything you wrote for her does the same.

Anonymous said...

Men do like love letters. I recently found four years of love letters in a box that I had written my husband during our years apart in college, I asked him if I could finally throw them away when we were preparing to move. We reread a number of them together. They mean alot to the both of us. I didn't keep them all but we kept a few of the best. The letters were important and meaningful the first time around and after 20 years in box they were well loved the second time also.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1 (Man Code): I'm totally with you. This is not an attempt to make men come out into the open and be free with their feelings. I know it's not their way. I'm all for keeping love letters on the down low and not asking them to discuss in public. I completely respect the guy code we can pretend this conversation never took place ;)

Julie in Ohio: Making a tough guy blush is something to be proud of!

Anonymous 2 (Jane Austen Advocate): I say you should ease into your relationship with sightly more sentimental letters, and go for the sentimental gold at holidays (especailly V-Day). Sexy letters are almost in another (equally important) catagory. That's the place where you can come clean about your fantasies and make sure you're on the same sexual page. Erotic letters are fantastic foreplay, so I say write plenty of them. Just make that your relationship is in a solid spot before you do.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (Letters in a Box): I must admit it breaks my heart somewhat to hear you got rid of a few letters. I don't believe in throwing letters away. I'm happy to hear you held onto the major ones those. And sitting around and reading old love letters with your hubby sounds like the ultimate in romance. What an amazing expereience!

Anonymous said...

Adriana: Yes, your husband is definitely a keeper! And yes I think the hardships and triumphs of relationships certainly have a place in love letters. Good for him! Thanking your special someone for helping you through a difficult year or apologizing for not being around that much lately (and making an effort to fix it). . .conquering things of the hard-to-deal-with nature is what makes love the miracle that it is. Glad you and your husband realize that.

Tessa Dare said...

Oh, what a great topic! This is a wonderful idea. My husband and I are coming up on our 5th anniversary right around V-day, and I need to be writing that man a serious love letter. Four months or so ago, we decided together that I would quit one of my jobs (the one that made money!) to pursue writing. He has been so supportive, worked overtime to make ends meet, brags about me to all his friends, gives me backrubs and keeps me caffeinated. And here I am, a writer - a romance writer at that - and have I written him the love letter he deserves? Nope.

So thanks, Samara - I know what one of his Valentine's/Anniversary gifts will be!

Anonymous said...

I have found that writing a love letter can cure a problem that many of us girls have--we say to much without thinking how the words will be taken. A letter can be very different because we actually THINK while writing it.

I have "fixed" many a problem my words caused by writing a nice, crisp to my guy. Fortunately he reads my letters.

Personally I think any guy worth his salt will respond to a well-written letter, so if you can't write, people who can help like Samara can be a Godsend when your mouth gets you in trouble.


Vivi Anna said...

Welcome Samara to RBTB!

My ex-hubby and I used to write short love notes to each other all the time. I would find one tucked into my wallet. He knew I would find it when I went out for lunch. He'd hide them in my pockets and other places. :-) Those little endearments kept us blissfully happy and in love for the first two years...

I had a boyfriend once who wrote me this lovely love letter for Valentine's Day. He was a poet and a musician though...and it was very sweet and special.

I believe full heartedly in the power of words.

Anonymous said...

Tessa dare: Congrats on your 5 year! Good for you for going after your dreams and a big shout out to your husband for being so supportive. I find letter writing is truly a genre of its own. It's very different than writing an essay or an article or a fiction book. It's almost more nerve-wracking at times because you know exactly who your audience is and you want to send them a strong, effective message. You've got a great platform for your husband's V-Day letter and I'm sure you'll come up with something powerful and appreciative. If you're nervous and need help, you know who to contact :)

Anonymous (Susie): It's so true—letter writing requires us to step outside of ourselves for a moment and really think about where we're coming from and how we want to come across on the page. There's none of the, "Ooops I shouldn't have said that" or "I wish I would have said that!" to suffer later, which is nice.

Anonymous said...

vivi anna: Thanks so much! Am glad to be here. Little notes in surprise places are my favorite. An old boss of mine had a post-it her husband wrote to her—she thumb-tacked it to the bulletin board—it said "You're a cute sleeper." Such a random comment only a lover could make. I'm sure it made her melt (it made me melt) every time she looked at it.

Unknown said...

When Mr Kate and I were courting, he was away at college for another year and I had entered the job market. So we wrote to each other all the time-two or three times a week-(this from a man who never likes to write a thing.) By the end of the year we had hundreds and hundreds of letters which I still have and cherish.

katie said...

When Mr. Katie and I were dating, we had mostly a long-distance relationship (no email at this time and phone calls were expensive). So, we HAD to write each other. I think if he wrote me a letter, first of all, I would probably fall over (usually, our emails are how we do business when he's so busy). I have tried to write him love emails, but he thinks I am crazy, so I stopped (I hoped that he would enjoy them and then, do some for me). He does text email me when he is out of town (I try to do the same).

ev said...

My poor hubby wouldn't know what to do if i wrote him a letter. although he might ask me either 1) what happened or 2) how much did I spend on the credit card.
We do send emails to each other when something strikes us, but neither of us is a romantic in that way. It is almost guaranteed that any cards we buy each other will be funny ones, although the odd romantic one does sneak in occassionally.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

It's just so heartwarming, really, to read how many of you write letters to the guys/girls in your life. I love the sincere and playful natures of what you write, too.

But let's talk those naughty little notes. It's interesting, what Samara says about waiting til you're sure you're both invested in the relationship a the same level. Because I'm thinkin, erotic notes and letters can be so hot and emotion packed. But how does one know when the writing's just plain blue? If one writes what she thinks is sexy in the early part of a relationship, can the guy get the idea she's all about the sex, flattering as the thought would be to him?

And I'm wondering: how often do the people you work with end up learning something about themselves or the status of their relationship of which they weren't aware simply by the love letter process -- like are they more invested, desperate, in love already, etc. etc.


Anonymous said...

Naughty little notes it is! The reason I think it's best to wait until you know the relationship is on solid ground before writing erotic letters is because they are jam packed with personal information that you'd only want someone you truly trusted to have access to. How horrid to wake up one day and realize that your fantasies have been posted on the Internet! Not that everyone would do such a thing, but this day in electronic age you never know. Also, sex requires little help when you're in the infatuation stage--it comes as naturally breathing. It's in the later years that it needs some outside stimulation, which is where letters can come in. They are a great platform for expressing fantasies and they require you to really think about what you need sexually, which can be half the battle.

Michelle, in regards to the "learning about yourself" aspect of letters: I think most of that comes when deciding to write the letter. You realize what a great thing you have and want to do your part in the upkeep process. By the time people come to me for help, they're already so excited and they just need help figuring out exactly what to say.

alissa said...

I loved writing letters when I was younger but then letters just disappeared due to e-mail which is matter of fact with no emotions. I would love to write my hubby of 2 years a letter which would express my love and I do know that he would appreciate this greatly and apprive highly.

Eva Gale said...

Wow/ One of my favorite books ever is MJ Rose's Lying in Bed, and it's about an erotic letter writer. I had no idea there actually were letter writers. How awesome.

I've never written my Dh a letter, but my father had his proposal written in calligraphy and my mother had it framed.

Lis said...

Wow Eva Gale, that is very romantic!
My husband has always written great love letters, it's one of the things that "hooked" me all those years ago. I've been trying to think of a great Valentine's Day gift, and thanks to you, Samara, I now know what it will be. Hand written, not typed. Too bad I can't do calligraphy!

Anonymous said...

Eva Gale: I'll certainly look into that book. Thanks for the tip!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I'll look for it, too, Eva Gale. Have you read Pam Rosenthal's The Bookseller's Daughter. In it, the heroine trades very erotic letters with her lover -- and I'm blanking -- in 18th ctry France?

I can't wait to read your book, Samara. Maybe we should have a homework assignment here, to write someone we love a little note and report back on how it worked. :)

I'm just so, so glad you've joined us, especially just before 'love day.'

Anonymous said...

I've had so much fun chatting with all of you, and I look forward to chiming into fellow Bella Guestblogs. Michelle, thank you for inviting me here.

Thank you all for participating. May I be the first to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. Write away!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for surfacing another example of the dilemma in which I think many men find themselves. As I have discussed in some Posts on my blog, it is my view that many men experience and enjoy romanticism (candlelight dinners, sunset walks on the beach, and yes -- love letters), but it's their perception that if they say that they do their friends (and society) will think less of them (as a man). Said another way, I think some of our societal standards and stereotyping keep a good portion of men's emotions and thoughts in the shadows.
I know there is a concern for the ill effects societal stereotyping on women, yet I believe there is a similar phenomenon for men as well.
Hopefully, your books and mine will erode some of these unfortunate realities.

Anonymous said...

I've never read The Book Sellers Daughter, Michelle but it's on my list. Pam is one of my favorites, in all her pen names.

Thanks for showcasing Samara's book, I can't wait to read it!

Eva - who can't sign into her blogger account. Pfft.