Relationships

What Makes You Secretly Swoon?

What Makes You Secretly Swoon

This past weekend, while trying to practice social distancing…

My boyfriend and I stayed home and watched the documentary Hillary on Hulu — all four parts in one day. At multiple points throughout the documentary, we got choked up at the same time.

Lest you imagine two people openly weeping, this was not the case. (We’re sensitive types who pretend to be stoic.) It’s more like, whenever a story reaches its emotional apex, there is a subtle but unmistakable “sniff, sniff.” We both pretend it’s not happening, but it totally is.

This is not a singular occurrence. (See also: nature shows, multiple episodes of Queer Eye, pretty much the entire film about Danny and Ron’s rescue.) The more it happens, the more we’ve embraced it.

Do I love it? Yes I do.

Just as I’m not much of an outward crier, I’m not much of a swooner, either. But inwardly, I swoon.

When asked about what makes them weak in the knees, some friends had this to say:

“Men running with dogs. Men walking with dogs. Just men with dogs. When I take my dog to the dog park, he gets to have fun with the other dogs, and I get to fraternize with the dog dads. Everybody wins.”

“I have a thing for people who can play an instrument. Also kind of anyone who looks like they might play an instrument.”

“I’m the scheduler in the relationship and I’m usually the one to tackle reservations and plans. So when she takes the lead on making plans for just the two of us, it makes me feel special.”

Says one friend, “I get all fluttery when I see dads being cute with their kids. It’s not, like, a romantic swoon. It’s more of a humanity swoon.”

After much thought, another friend replied, “In 2020, my swoon-worthy things all verge on the esoteric. Like someone who listens.” Amen to that.

How about you? What things make you (secretly or not-so-secretly) swoon?

P.S. Five words that changed my relationship and what are your random turn-ons?

  1. Karen says...

    Him being nice to kids. You just can’t fake that

  2. Mousty says...

    I swoon when my husband sings but when I told the family that he “makes me knees melt” he belly laughed and said “What?” I said well the girls know what I mean and they said we sure do. He just said well I am not a girl and it is very funny.

  3. Wve says...

    My husband in his working clothes. Swoon. It reminds me he has a life outside of home and that he’s got authority. Haha.

  4. deb says...

    Left handed people

  5. bre says...

    when a sad moment is conning up in anything, my husband will not stop until he makes me laugh. he knows i dislike crying and he makes it his singular goal to make me laugh.

  6. hm says...

    One more:

    Overhearing my kids say “thank you” or “I love you” to one another (they’re 2 and 5).

  7. meggles says...

    Old people eating ice cream!

  8. Fiona says...

    I swoon when people REALLY care about something, anything and are unabashedly enthusiastic telling you about it. Something about the deep, heartfelt and (actually) very trusting interaction that makes my soul smile.

  9. Maclean Nash says...

    Okay…since this was posted I have asked 4 male friends AND my boyfriend of 4 years if they “swoon”. Each has asked me to define what I mean and after hearing my very detailed description and examples all have said they do not “swoon” (!!!!!!!!!).
    Do males typically lack this ability or am I dating and friends with heartless males?

  10. Annie says...

    Love the idea of a “Humanity Swoon”. As much craziness and fear as there is going on right now, there has certainly been an uptick in swoonworthy moments from humanity ie. Music from balconies, fitness instruction from rooftops etc.).

  11. Beth says...

    When I see my sons, 22 and 28, giggling together, I lose it EVERY TIME! They do not live in the same city, but when they get together it’s like they’re the same little boys who traded gameboy games and played baseball in the back yard and talked non-stop about “Lord of the Rings.” They are best friends and this makes me happier than reading all the books…and books make me very happy!

  12. Ingrid says...

    When I was teaching, and I’d look up and every eye was on me because I had convinced them of the importance of this particular information or skill, I swooned. I loved being a teacher, and I loved my school kids.
    (And romantically, I swoon over my husband’s strong arms, and have for over 50 years.)

  13. Ryane says...

    My husband will enter the room where my six month old daughter is and ask “who’s the most beautiful/smart/funny/etc. baby in the world?” And then does a funny walk over to kiss her. She scrunches up her neck and giggles in delight. Seeing them love each other like that makes me swoon every time.

  14. Amy says...

    I absolutely adore this post. Swooning is not just for romantic partners!

    This one might be odd: I get emotional when I see cars pull over as fire trucks and ambulances weave through traffic: Thinking of the fire fighters rushing to respond to an emergency happening somewhere to someone – a house fire, a medical emergency with someone’s grandparent – and all these individuals doing their small part in allowing for responders to get there in time. It makes my heart ache for affected families, but also for the small and big ways that strangers show up for each other when things happen.

  15. Aya says...

    My husband chopping firewood. The concentration! The competence! The forearms! Children earnestly listening to books. My daughter gasping in delight at seeing me. Memories of me and my grandma having inside jokes.

  16. Beth says...

    When I was leaving the laundromat, I overheard a guy in the car parked next to me say “I’ll be right back, okay?” and I thought to myself–is he leaving his child in the car?? I looked over and there was no one there but his dog sitting in the passenger seat. He was talking to his dog! I just about DIED.

  17. Men who read.

  18. Amy NYC says...

    Watching people who are good at things. Doesn’t matter what it is…ballet, rock climbing, playing an instrument, running. Don’t even get me started on the Olympics! What a cry fest. And, watching the NYC Marathon. In my head the entire time I’m thinking and sometimes saying out loud, “look at you! You’re a great runner! Keep it up!”

  19. Ryan says...

    It’s a little embarrassing (and my husband LOVES to catch me and make fun of me for it) but flash mobs really get to me. The planning, the execution, all those people coming together…I cry every time. Fortunately I’ve only seen flash mob videos, never one in person. I think I’d collapse if I actually witnessed one in real life!

    • CS says...

      When this whole covid virus thing is done, I hope humanity celebrates with a delightful abundance of flash mobs! And with any luck I will witness one in person! Oh that would be such a delightful surprise!!!
      A group of talented singers suddenly emerging from an everyday crowd with a powerful and unexpected performance. ❤️

    • Sara says...

      I get really emotional when I see flash mobs too! Something about collective experiences that bring joy and/or create beauty really overwhelms me in the best way.

    • Kate says...

      I am totally relate to this! Marching bands make me fell all choked up too.
      I don’t know why?

  20. Keltie says...

    When a friend says something really complimentary about herself. Life “I’m excellent at my job” or “I felt really great” or “I was an awesome mom in that moment”. It feels so real and honest and totally swoon-worthy for people to recognize themselves.

  21. Nat says...

    With the coronavirus going on, reading these comments is so refreshing and good for the soul! so these comments I guess are making me swoon!
    Hugs from Ireland :)

  22. Emma Tacke says...

    When my boyfriend and I were newly dating (like, 3 weeks in) he came over one night when I was sick with 8 (EIGHT) different kinds of soup, a 6-pack of ginger ale, and sparkling water. He gave me a back rub later that night and when it was over he leaned down and said “How’s your head feel, baby?” And I got butterflies. I felt so taken care of and it was the moment when I realized “Oh no, I’m in deep. This is the guy for me.”

  23. Katy says...

    It’s so fun reading what makes everyone swoon! There are some extremely swoon-worthy moments being shared here.

    Here are some of my swoons:
    *when my boyfriend rolls over and pulls me closer to him in the middle of the night, and he just releases this contented sigh and let me tell you, everything in the world is just right in that moment.
    *my boyfriend is also heavily tattooed and barrel-chested, and something about the way he looks freshly showered in just a pair of jeans… he’s irresistible. It gets me every time.
    *when my cat settles in for a nap on my lap. We all know that cats always choose the most comfortable place to sleep, so when she chooses to sleep on/with me it feels like a privilege and my heart swells with joy and love.

  24. Julie says...

    I play a lot of coed softball and whenever I see man backhand a grounder smoothly and makes the throw to get the runner out…I swoon. Its truly poetry in motion. I fully understand that this is very very specific but when executed perfectly, it is very impressive.

  25. Molly K says...

    On our way home from school pickup, I often see a little girl and her young dad walking home from their bus stop, and every time the dad sees their big, brown dog as they arrive at their house, he opens his arms wide in slow motion like eagle wings and then swoops and grabs at the dog, rubbing his sides, giving him some love. Something about the windup reminds me so much of how my husband is with our kids, and it makes me grateful for his playful, demonstrative love.

  26. Sara says...

    I just walked into the kitchen to get the cup of coffee my boyfriend, Mike, made for me (every day swoon). There was a ladybug on the counter and Mike said, “This ladybug is my buddy, I took her outside yesterday because I thought she would want to be in the garden but when I came back in I googled ladybugs and found out they hibernate and shouldn’t be outside till it’s 50 degrees, so I went back out to get her and brought her back inside.” He then shooed her away from some spilled coffee, “That’s too hot for your lady!” and carried her into our dining room to put her on a plant. My heart just about exploded, he is the dearest man.

    • Wow, swoon indeed!

  27. HH says...

    When my niece’s eyes light up and she opens her mouth in a huge grin of pure joy because she’s just noticed me coming toward her at church or preschool. She calls me “Ah-Ha” (her version of Auntie Hadley) and hearing her say my name while grinning like that melts my heart.

  28. Jess says...

    Muscular forearms, imported vans, when a baby makes a flirty smile, and if I need a BIG romantic swoon the movie “Moonstruck” works every time.

    • Jess says...

      I almost forgot the most important one- sometimes my husband stands just a liiiittle bit taller when he’s close to me and it makes my heart race like I’m a teenager

  29. Abbey says...

    On a warm summer evening I was driving with the windows open down a big ol’ Los Angeles boulevard with fast-moving closely-packed cars. I stopped at a red light and as the light turned green and traffic started moving again I sneezed and, from a car zooming past in the opposite direction, I heard “BLESS YOU!!!”
    That’s a swoon I would have never fathomed before it occurred.

    Not a surprising swoon? My boyfriend is Italian and when he A) speaks to me in Italian, and B) cooks for me… I melt. I swoon. All the things.

  30. Katie says...

    Dimples. Definitely dimples.

  31. Cora says...

    What makes me swoon: Mothers loving their children. Mothers showing up for them. Beaming with pride over them. Watching their little ones do something new for the first time. Mothers watching them grow up (and away). Right now my little girl is starting to read- that makes me swoon. I don’t think a man or a dog would make me swoon, but my daughters do it every damn day. And every mother who lives that painful sweet joy, they make me swoon too.

  32. Sharon says...

    When my dogs run in tandem next to each other at the dog park/off leash. They are 3 months apart and thick as thieves. I’ve had neighbors comment on it as well. They just look like such a perfect little pair ;-)

  33. Nicole says...

    My boyfriend and I went out to a bar crawl last Halloween. At the bar, my false lash had fallen off. I had spare glue in my purse, and as my boyfriend helped me get it back on, the bartender stood on the counter, pointed at us, and said into a microphone- “Girls, get you a man who glues your falsie back on for you! Boyfriend goals right there!” And everyone started clapping for us.

  34. Kristin says...

    A man in a backwards hat. Does it for me every.damn.time.

  35. Hillary DeJong says...

    Someone who knows their way around Excel. As a Type A, Enneagram 1, it makes my heart pitter patter.

  36. Haylee says...

    Couples that have been together a long time and still flirt with each other in the kitchen. I loooove hearing them still chat like best friends, smiling and eyes lit up, listening to each other with kindness and fondness.

    • Katie says...

      What a sweet thing to say/adore! I love this!

    • Kaitlin says...

      My friends parents call each other “love” and it melts my heart. Seeing them in the kitchen together? Such purity. “Love, can you grab the milk for my coffee?” (Peeking over the newspaper) “Love, what’s a 7 letter word for X?” (Pointing out the window) “Love, is that a robin on our bird feeder?” <3 <3 <3

  37. Mika says...

    Mmm… So many things!
    People enjoying their music on the subway with their headphones on. Especially if it looks like they are going to break out in a dance.
    I saw a man with a small cake and a potted plant of miniature roses, cradling it carefully on the bus all the way to his stop. I like the idea of flowers, but a plant lasts longer, and you take care of it, and it takes care of you in return.
    We had a couple of beautiful days in Toronto, and the way the sunlight brightens people’s moods was nice to see. Also the way it lights people from behind and makes their eyes glow when they smile… (I say them, but I clearly mean him hahaha)
    Wind blowing through his hair, sunlight just right, constant, steady, warm eye contact…
    Making mmm noises when enjoying food, not sarcastically! That really made me swoon the entire meal!
    Kindness and decency.
    Small gestures speak volumes.

  38. Emma says...

    Whenever I do anything even a little different with my look (pony tail after wearing my hair down for several days, official PJs vs leggings and t-shirt, earrings, new shirt, etc.) my three year old son does a double take and exclaims, “You look so pretty, Mommy!” Gets me every time! He’s going to make someone very happy one day I hope!

    • Sharon says...

      Awe, that is the sweetest!

  39. Cookie says...

    Yesterday my husband had to travel for a business trip. I insisted that he clean his seat and tray table on the plane with some homemade cleaning wipes I made for him and he promised, begrudgingly, that he would. He sent me a message after take-off that not only did he clean his area but that he was part of a larger group of people who were all pulling homemade cleaning supplies from zippered baggies, being quick to clean their respective areas too. They laughed and joked about how they, too, promised their partners they’d be careful. Together they had this tiny bonding moment. This made me swoon!

  40. Ashley says...

    A year into my relationship with my now fiance, he referred to me as “Aunt Ashley” to his niece. By that point we hadn’t fully discussed getting married, but that first time (and all the other times after that) of hearing him refer to me that way made me completely swoon.

    Years later, I started working a job that had me traveling to schools throughout the area. When I get a free hour, I pop into his work to invite him to lunch or coffee. Every time I do that, his eyes light up. He even gets a little misty-eyed if he’s really caught off guard. Big swoon.

  41. Jenny says...

    Freckles on knees! *swooon* Also, men asking old ladies to dance at weddings

  42. sp says...

    guys playing with little kids and guys with tattoos on their arms! funny because I’m so indecisive and would NEVER get a tattoo but I love a tattooed man.

  43. Genevieve says...

    When my 2 month old makes little mews of pure contentment while breastfeeding at 4 in the morning, instantly making up for the interruption to my sleep.

  44. Abby says...

    a man who sits with his legs crossed…hahaha omg I love it. Anyone else?!

    • Mistie says...

      YES! Is seems more sophisticated, maybe

    • evel says...

      how sweet of him!

  45. Cori says...

    Dressed up men buying flowers always stops me in my tracks. I love wondering who the flowers are for and what the special occasion is (or maybe they are just because!). Bonus points if it’s a sure-looking older man with a bow tie or, on the opposite side, a younger guy who takes a while to pick them out. I always wish I could see them get delivered!

    • stu says...

      This!!!

    • Laura says...

      SAME

  46. polyana says...

    i have a small business, and my team of 4 (5 with me!) works remotely, so it’s a tough job creating “culture,” although we do try with regular skype chats, annual retreats, and etc., it’s not as easy as being physically together.

    earlier this week, to show a bit of recognition, i sent individual emails and gift cards to each of them to celebrate us hitting a big record last month and also because we’ve all been working extra hard with coronavirus madness (we are in the travel industry).

    i got emails back from all of them, thanking me and telling my how much they appreciate working at the company, believe in our mission, and love working with each other! i teared up over these emails. seeing my team get along and say they love working for the company we’re building together, makes me swoon – and believe we will get through this mess together.

    that, and trailing behind on a jog, watching my partner and our dog run together in sync. those ‘tails’ ;-) <3

    • nikki says...

      I love this work swoon! I think we should speak more about the joyful work moments! I get to work with communities on urban planning and there are times when people are really engaging with how they want their community to change and giving amazing insights and solutions and my heart does a flip. So nerdy! But great!

      PS I am also definitely here for personal swoons- I have a husband with the most glorious laugh and sometimes him just arriving home and saying hello makes me swoon AND a one year old who does a new swoon worthy thing (like blowing kisses) everyday!

  47. Laura says...

    My husband reading. If I look over and see him sitting in the armchair, his bespectacled face focused on a book….hubba hubba.

  48. alex says...

    I love the comments on this post so much. My husband makes me swoon when he’s cleaning up after dinner and quietly packs me lunch for the next day; when the kids want a snack and instead of just handing them something from the cupboard he meticulously prepares something delicious (but quick enough to feed them before they get hangry because that part is important!); and when I see how passionate, humble and dedicated he is at his job – he is a public defender and truly one of the best.

  49. Christy says...

    Ugh I love this! My main one is when a super confident man tries something new and looks to you to see if he’s doing okay.

    My husband does this when he tries on something that’s not his usual style at a store and looks to me to be like “Is this okay? Do you like this?” or when we’re cooking together (not his strong suit) and he looks to me if he’s doing something correctly. Seeing such a confident man be a little vulnerable and searching you for the thumbs up/validation is so endearing and makes me totally swoon.

    • Y says...

      Christy, this made me laugh and realize how different we all are. I get so mad at my husband and say just do it already, what do you need a parade? God, I’m a bitch. I will try to see the upside of the vulnerability he shows when he needs my approval. See, this is why we share. My husband will never know you sharing made his wife nicer to him! Ha!

  50. mishi says...

    When someone flashes their headlights at you quickly to give you the signal that it’s ok to turn in front of them (or to tell you to turn on your headlights)!

    • Brooke says...

      Oh my gosh, yes, kindness in traffic is the ultimate “we are all gonna be okay” humanity moment for me too.

    • Deb says...

      So true!

  51. Lili Cohen says...

    skateboarding. now and forever.

    • Pamela says...

      yes!!!

  52. Claudia says...

    Friends doing unexpected acts of kindness.

  53. Sarah says...

    When I’m trapped on the couch with our sleeping newborn, covered in her spit up, dark circles under my eyes, squishy all over, and my husband brings me a glass of water and kisses me deeply with his strong hand on my cheek.

  54. Rachel says...

    My heart swells when I see my husband playing with our children, the down in the floor, like a kid again, kind of playing :) I also love to see him coach our kids teams. There’s just something about seeing him getting down on their level and taking the time to teach them.

  55. Marci says...

    I’m pretty sure I don’t *secretly* swoon – tears in my eyes and shaky voice kind of give me away – but…

    * when the most difficult child in my preschool class told me “Miss Marci smells like marshmallows, and I love marshmallows.” Friends, I wear unscented everything.
    * when my dog rests his head on my chest, sighs contentedly and gives me the heart eyes.
    * when my husband helps our elderly neighbor figure out her computer. She often forgets how to retrieve email and other basic functions and he is so patient with her.
    * when long-time couples describe their first meetings. An 80-plus year old woman told me she met her husband in a singing group and he was wearing the most exquisite cashmere blue sweater that matched his eyes. Her husband bashfully demurred, “Well, I think it was a polyester blend.” And she patted his arm and smiled, “You made it look like cashmere.” Heart melting.

    • Reem Faruqi says...

      Funny!!! The elderly couple- love!

    • JRAY says...

      day-brightening. What a couple!

    • Rachel says...

      Dog love! Yes, totally. My dog can be kind of aloof, but when she hops up on the couch and pretends not to be cuddling but casually curling up on next to me and just happens to be smooshed up against my leg… ugh, that makes me teary and in love.

    • Helen says...

      I swooned and loved every single one of these!

    • alex says...

      adorable <3

    • Alice says...

      YOU MADE IT LOOK LIKE CASHMERE! I’m basically sobbing!!

  56. Tess says...

    When my husband and my mother are laughing and joking together… it makes my heart burst. Just to know two very important people I love so much, love eachother too.

    Also, a few weeks ago my husband and children had the flu. When he went back to work, I received a thank-you-note by mail. In it he had written:
    I see you, x

    I mean… SWOON!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what lovely ones!

    • Joanna B says...

      Yes! This exactly! Early on in our relationship, my husband told me that he would be happy if my mom needed to come live with us some day. Who says that about their future mother-in-law?!? Swoon for sure!

    • elly says...

      YES when my partner started teasing my mom, i knew he was the one!

  57. MarlaD says...

    When a stranger gives you a little wave of greeting as you drive by – they may be in a car coming in the opposite direction, out in their yard, or passing by on a bike. This little bit of humanity never fails to make me get tears in my eyes and makes my day. This seemed so commonplace when I was a kid, not so much now.

  58. Nicole A. says...

    My boyfriend gave me a cross-stitch for Christmas. It said “Our first Christmas” with a boy and a girl with a Christmas tree. He underestimated how quickly he’d be able to stitch it, as he Finally got it to me for Valentine’s Day (with the help of his mother and his “MiMi”). I didn’t care that it was belated. The fact that he was so determined to hand make me something so thoughtful made me swoon.