For Men Only: Deciphering the Color Code of Roses

Whether you're the strong, silent type, occasionally at a loss for words, or tongue-tied in all matters romantic, the women in your life want you to know that words aren't the only means to an end.

If there are special messages you want to send to the women in your life on birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day or just because, a gift of roses can do all the heavy lifting. Not only are roses prized for their delicate beauty, sensuous petal-feel, and seductive fragrance, but their colors symbolize the messages they convey.

  • Red roses are a universal symbol of deep romantic love and passion. If there is any question about your commitment to a woman, red roses are the magic wand that dispels any doubts about your feelings. Red roses are the perfect accompaniment to a proposal of marriage. But don't let that dissuade you from letting them simply express your love.
  • Pink roses carry a gentler notion of a more tender love. They speak of your happiness with the relationship and say 'Thanks for loving me.' They're graceful, sophisticated, and feminine.
  • Orange roses purr like a playful young tiger. They tell of desire, exuberance and excitement. They're a fervent, high-energy way to say, 'Let's keep heading down this road and see where it takes us.'
  • White roses whisper of honor, innocence, and a quietly revered relationship. If red roses boldly proclaim the fire of passionate love, white roses murmur of a new, deeper intimacy and a simmering desire to be together forever.
  • The uncommon lavender rose expresses a sense of mystery and enchantment, a serendipitous 'love-at-first-sight' to your true princess.
  • Yellow roses are in the platonic zone. Their sunny brightness affirms a warm friendship based on mutual delight, comfort, and easy affection. Yellow roses are special for good friends, sisters, mothers and mothers-in-law (real or prospective). Yellow roses are a heartfelt hug, a firm kiss on the cheek.
  • The less-common peach rose is similar to yellow roses in its meaning, with an added layer, perhaps, of admiration and fondness.

So far, so good? Just a few more tips before you call the florist:

  • Long-stemmed roses are the most meaningful, a symbol of perfection. They make an impressive bouquet and elegant presentation tucked into that unmistakable white box.
  • A single rose in full bloom—of any color—is very special, the ultimate gift. It announces your utter devotion.
  • Two entwined roses sensuously symbolize lovers pledging their long-term loyalty.
  • A mix of red and white roses is special, indeed—it speaks of your unity, your emotional engagement with each other. And it is a strikingly beautiful combination.
  • A dozen roses is the gold standard. Two dozen roses is, therefore, the extravagance, the gesture meant to impress.
  • A half-dozen roses is a lovely gift that is appreciated as much as a dozen. It certainly does not suggest any less love. A woman who thinks so simply doesn't deserve them.
  • Smaller sweetheart roses are appropriate for new loves and girlfriends whom you do not want to frighten off with the more possessive tone of long-stemmed roses.

Granted, life was simpler when Robert Burns proclaimed, 'My love is like a red, red rose,' because of the limited variety of roses available in the 18th century. But once you master the meanings of the roses myriad messages, you'll be a beloved prince among women for life, even without poetry.

author: Marjorie Burke

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