Would You Do Something Bold for Love? I Just Did.

bold moves lede.jpg

One of my blogging friends once made a bold move for love.

You might know her. She’s April, and she writes a beautiful blog called Stories of our Boys. In The Boldest Thing I Ever Did for Love, she tells the tale of how she bent the Southern guide to dating etiquette like an aluminum can and changed her world forever.

(I won’t ruin the ending – go see it yourself.)

April’s words gave me thought, and I socked away her link for the right time. Here we are, a month from Valentine’s Day, an itchy holiday to many on which bold moves are most likely to happen.

I’ve had enough holiday dates with tiny ravioli and high expectations on that day. I expect something grander. Some more tangible measure of love.

I expect something grander than a day that we fellas should stand in line to buy flowers, scrounge after work for a box of chocolates, or pay megabucks for a pink teddy bear as the deadline looms.

We fall short, Lloyd Dobler

As a child of the 80s and 90s, the ultimate bold move for love will forever be Lloyd Dobler’s Boombox Serenade to Diane Court (swoon) in Say Anything:

I’m thrilled April’s bold move paid off. Much like Lloyd’s. I made a few in my day. They might have included*:

  • Asking a girl out during a reading of Romeo & Juliet in ninth-grade English
  • Asking for a girl’s number in my line when I worked a grocery store cash register – with my mom in line
  • Penning the ultimate love letter, only to have it shot to bits like a low-metabolism duck on the first day of duck hunting season

*I wound up marrying one of these.

Bold moves in love are trickier than they are anywhere else in life. We boys sometimes make them foolishly. We boys sometimes don’t take the chance, and by that, wind up losing anyway.

Following a girl out of the room on the last day of class you’ve wanted to talk to all semester, only to choke on a simple “hello” to start the conversation, for instance.

In real life, bold moves for love disguise themselves in normality, in undertones of gray and deep green and washed-out blue that seem to fade into each other in unremarkable contrast. They’re often invisible, sacrifices made for those we love enough to sacrifice for.

Bold, yet understated

The everyday bold moves for love are not in-the-nick-of-time airport terminal confessions like you might see on a Lifetime original. (Sorry, Treat Williams. I’ll win her heart with something less dramatic. Plus, TSA, you know.)

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t made for love at all. Sometimes, it’s saying nothing. Hitting delete, not send. It’s leaving well enough alone, not lofting the last barb.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t lit up like Las Vegas. It’s quiet vigil, prayerful thought, hope for the greatest outcome for someone – even if it doesn’t involve you.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t a grand entrance. It’s a quiet presence, an unspoken understanding that you’re there, 24/7. All you have to do is call.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love is to stop loving altogether. It’s to move out of a space for someone or something to occupy and bring that loved one to greater bliss.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t constant attention. It’s well-spaced silence, a retraction of concern and involvement to let the universe’s path become known.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t prayers answered. It’s prayers altered, from pleas to spare someone to pleas to take them in peace.

Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t for someone else, but for yourself. It’s waking up every day to continue the journey to self. It’s realizing the journey may take an entire lifetime, but understanding that even if it does, nothing’s worth more. And that in order to love and be loved, you first must love yourself.

Love’s place through it all

I love to hear stories like April’s.

They fuel my belief that rather than random, the universe has a rhythm to it, that our actions aren’t simply haphazard happenstance, but a sliver of a collective whole, a life force that surrounds everything from caterpillars to the Chicago Cubs.

So maybe the boldest moves for love are just to love, to trust it, to follow it, not to dam it or damn it, but to let it lead us to a true outcome and existence, and simply live alive within it, or next to it, or from afar, whatever the case may be.

I love that idea.



  1. It’s amazing what we boys will do for love. You’re example are spot on, too. Sometimes what we do is for what’s best for the other person and it doesn’t always involve getting the girl.

  2. yes, all for love. when i was 4, i met my future husband (now, ex), when his family moved into the house across the street. when he answered, i said, ‘hi, i’m beth and one day i’ll marry you and be a teacher. “

    1. Love’s nuts, Beth. Love that story. You were either clairvoyant, or a wish maker. To test the theory, you should have said, “hi, I’m Beth and one day I’ll marry you and be a teacher. Also, the Detroit Lions will become a dynasty.”

  3. Hands down – my favorite Coach Daddy post ever…and that’s saying a lot because I have so many favorites.
    You are such a wise and generous man – what an amazing example for your girls. These words are well-timed and so true. Your timing? UNCANNY! Thank you for a jumpstart for what looks to be a great week. Thanks, Eli!

    PS: I remember that beautifully penned love letter you speak of. Look how far you’ve come in a year. You rock!

    1. That’s high praise, coming from you, Michelle. I’m flattered. I aspire to wisdom and generosity, but fall short – way short. I hope there’s a lesson in that for my girls, too, the intent.

      So glad the timing was good for you, too. Sometimes a post comes along and just seems to speak to us.

  4. How about this for your scrapbook: I proposed after two weeks (he accepted), we wed on New Year’s Day on a beach on a stormy day, and we just celebrated our 35th. Three kids, one grandkid.

    1. That’s gold, Cricket. Stuff of legend. If you see that storyline replicated in fiction with my name on it someday … I’ll give you a signed copy, I promise.

  5. Eli, you have an incredible talent for being able to peel away all of the noise and nonsense surrounding an idea to get to the true heart of the matter. These beautiful words, ones we can all relate to, bring us back to the simple truth: just love. Thank you. Also, Lloyd Dobler – be still my heart.

    1. Oh, Hell, Mo, I’m just a guy who knows where the home keys are. Thank you so much. Yes, just love. Even when we can’t seem to get it right. We can’t all be Lloyd!

      1. Some of your words on the ultimate bold move for love rang true and hit very close to home base for me, some made me think deeply about a situation I’m in.

      2. Long as we’re thinking … and i believe those things in our consciousness lead us to posts like this, or others, that speak to our condition, don’t you think?

  6. Very nice post, all the bold moves you wrote about are what love really is. It isn’t overpriced flowers and chocolate ( although chocolate is pretty good). 🙂

    1. Thank you. I think the bold moves for love are the everyday moves, the things you don’t even want to draw attention to, because love.

      Chocolate has it, and cheese most certainly. There are love in those, too.

    1. I included this not because I love all comments that include the word ‘oy’, but because WordPress has decided to revoke our ability to edit comments. Evil empire. Oy.

    1. Love is almost as good as cheese. The edge cheese has on it is that cheese has labels, and you know what to expect. The edge that love has on it is that love doesn’t have labels, and you don’t know what to expect.

      So glad you liked this one, Holly.

  7. Thank you for the shout out! Love your article. You are right. Love requires sacrifices all the time, and sometimes the small ones are big ones. The reference link went to a girl named Annie…but maybe that was on purpose, b/c it was a good article too. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the inspiration, April! And for the kind words. Your post stuck with me. I need to fix that link! She’s awesome and I wondered why I was getting so much traffic there … I’m sorry, I want my readers to find your place!

  8. As always, I love your written word Eli! Craziest bold move for love I have been a part of? Around this time last year, I had a passenger walk up to me on my airplane and ask for my number. Apparently he thought I had an awesome job and wanted to hear more about it. First time ever that has happened and last time that has happened. We exchanged numbers and I texted him as he was getting off of my plane. Even though we don’t talk very often, I still consider him a great friend who makes my heart smile. ❤

  9. Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t prayers answered. It’s prayers altered, from pleas to spare someone to pleas to take them in peace.
    This was something I found very hard to accept when my mother died in 1985. Apart from my kids—then aged 8, 10 and 12—Mum was my only living relative (my Dad died when I was 14). She’d been in hospital with pneumonia for a week, and that, combined with kidney problems didn’t bode well. Seeing her get weaker each day was hard and I prayed that God would heal her, and at the same time, the pastor at her church was praying that God would take her home. I couldn’t see at the time that I was being selfish. All I wanted was my mum. I still miss her and wish she could have seen her grandchildren grow up and have children of their own. She would have been so proud of them.

    1. Lyn, I can so associate with that story. Thanks for sharing it. I believe losing a parent is the most permanent thing a person can experience.

      My prayers evolved with my father’s illness. I prayed that I wasn’t ready to be without a father. Me, me, me. I prayed for his return to health. I prayed for miracles.

      And one day, I prayed for him to either walk out of the hospital, or rest in peace. No more in between. At that point, I wasn’t as selfish.

      It takes us a bit, Lyn. That’s all.

  10. As much as I love Lloyd Dobler, I do think love moves in much quieter streams. More often than not it’s probably the very thing that held you up and kept you going, when you didn’t even know it was there.

    1. Lloyd’s antics work only .0023% of the time, and not if you’re not cool like him. Otherwise, it’s a restraining order waiting to happen.

      I’m pondering your final thought. Reminds me of the idea that God carries us when we can’t carry ourselves, even though it feels like we’re alone.

  11. It took me awhile to come back to read this, but I am so glad that I did. What a powerful reflection. St Thomas Aquinas said, “To love is to will the good of another,” and I think that you captured that exactly. Love is a verb, not a noun or a feeling. Invariably, when we love, it will hurt us eventually, but to not love is worse. Your post reminds me of this passage from a book by CS Lewis (the title of the book is “The Four Loves”): “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” Sounds like you know this well.

    1. Thanks for circling back, Lu. I felt so ill-equipped to tackle the topic, for the second straight year.

      That’s a beautiful sentiment from a great man, St. Thomas of Aquinas. Love and hurt come to us without divide, and that we choose to love regardless tells you how sweet it is.

      It’s those moments before the heartbreak begins that make it all worth while.

      1. I think there’s something for the heartbreak, too. As much as it is painful, it isn’t unbearable, though we can think that it is (at least, I tend to). We do bear it, somehow, and we remember it reminds us that we are alive. As for being equipped to tackle the topic, I think just about anyone who has lived is very well-equipped for it. You did a very fine job. 🙂

      2. Heartbreak is an essential element, Lulu. The universe gives us many teachers, and not all bring joy – at least not eternally.

        It reminds us we’re alive, and also shows us what better lies ahead for us. It’s just life. And thank you …

  12. “Sometimes, the ultimate bold move for love isn’t prayers answered. It’s prayers altered, from pleas to spare someone to pleas to take them in peace.”

    Wonderfully put. In all our prayers, but perhaps particularly for close loved ones, we begin by praying for what we believe is best. As time passes, we discover that what we think is best is far from it. God has something much greater in store.

    It’s great to be back reading your work, Eli.

    1. Thanks, Tony, and great to see you. I remember praying to God when my father first got sick, not to take him from me yet, I needed him. By the end of his illness, I wanted God to end his suffering, that’s all.

      Look forward to catching up soon at your place – it looks awesome, by the way. Nice theme.

  13. I remember always wanting a boy to do something over the top for me — profess his love in a grand, sweeping gesture — but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that that’s not love. I think what it comes down to is having a boy come find you in the closet that you’re tucked into the corner of, holding your hand, and telling you everything is going to be okay. It’s having a boy touch the scar on your knee — the one you hate so much — and tell you that every last part of you is beautiful. It’s having a boy call because they just want to hear your voice. It’s having a boy who smiles when they see you — every single time. It’s having a boy toss your daughter in the air and hearing the sound of her happy squeals, and not being able to tell which one of their smiles is the biggest one. It’s having a boy who can hear what you are saying even in the silence. It’s having a boy who doesn’t have to say those three little words to let you know that you are their world.

    Although I’ve lost and lost and lost love yet again, I still believe that this boy exists. He’s out there somewhere. And like you said, sometimes love is quiet. I’m sitting here listening, hoping it will arrive someday, and I believe it will, all in good time. I’m okay waiting, because love…well, it’s patient, too.

    1. I think as we experience more of life, our understanding of what love looks and feels like gains perspective, Corey. I think we find it – or hope to find it – in complimentary parts, in ways that someone can see us and find us that feel as authentic to us as if that came from us. Does that make sense?

      It’s about that understanding, that belief that you’re fully seen, fully heard, indescribably understood. And what you said about your daughter … it’s amazing to realize a guy in that spot could have the fortune of seeing both of you smile.

      I think this boy is probably waiting for you, too. He’s probably wishing for you, and if he’s this boy you describe, he’s thinking of you this way, too. Love can definitely be quiet, so much so that we risk not noticing it. And sometimes in waiting for that love, if you’re open to it, you can see bits of it around you anyway.

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