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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Strube

Saucy Love Tips for the Summer BBQ

Need some advice to sizzle your love life as saucy as your summer BBQ? 

(vegetarian sausage, of course)

Well, then look no further than Saucy Love Tips by John and Jen.


(Even better than tri-tips. See below!)

You see, I met John in university. 

Him and I go way back.

He was actually the first person I met there, 

stumbling into freshmen orientation and 

we’ve been buds ever since the awkward orientation square dance.

(um, weird).

But when you meet someone in university, 

you tend to have a lot of conversations on two things: 

(a) how you will change the world and

(b) who will go with you to do so.

John and I have been pontificating on these things for 15 years now. He’s become a dear friend, the first editor of my book (coming soon on Kickstarter!) and we thought it was time to share with you (and reshare with ourselves) a reminder of the list.

Yes, come on.

We’ve all made lists.

Here’s ours. Ready? GO!

Never convince someone you are fabulous.  Only surround yourself with those who know you’re a star.

You light up the world. All the way to the sky.

When you find a good thing, it may scare you. When you find a great thing, it may petrify you. When you find the amazement you’ve been waiting for, oh, your whole life, be terrified. Prepare to have your needs knocked. This is good. Moses trembled when he came face to face with God, so why do we expect a face to face encounter with the light of love to feel any different to us?

Screw fear and then go have a f***ing blast. Find someone who jives with your sense of insanity and then go sop up some life with them.

Be your own Ryan Gosling/Patrick Swayze Dirty Dancing Havana Night.

Hold the gentle things lightly in your hand. 

Massage them when they need a little juice  yet don’t squeeze so hard you kill them.

But do lift them up like the Dirty Dancing dance.

Gently squeeze often. And everywhere.

Jump fully in. You don’t really learn to ski on the bunny slopes. You start on the intermediate blues so there’s at least a hill to keep the momentum going. So, you may fall. Or get bruised trying. Or face plant. But you can’t really test the waters holding onto the training rope. Give everything a full fair chance.

I could get used to this!

Take chances and take many of them. 

Because truly, no matter where or who you end up with,  it all works out in the end and we all get where we need to be.  And become who we need to be. With who we need to be.

Trust this. Everything is worth it.

Say how you feel more than you bite your lip. 

It feels less safe, but truth and freedom bathe in the same water.

Be yourself and be OK with yourself. Know your heart is pure.

Know that, even with your purest hearted intentions, all your sh** will hit the fan as soon as you open your heart. Really. The boundary of true intimacy is the hardest border crossing there is and the passport stamp cannot be bribed away… Here you will see just:  (a) what you have truly accomplished in your life and  (b) all you have been avoiding through those accomplishments. Stay. Listen. Get honest. And don’t run away.  We all can be amazingly healthy people as solo travelers. It’s way harder to be heroic when another holds a mirror to your soul. Being a monk is easy. But not looking away when we are seen? For all that we are and aren’t?  Now that is a true superhuman activity.  So get your capes on.  And then be prepared to drop them and get vulnerable.  It’s so worth it.

I see your layers.  I share them too.

There’s a profound difference between being a lovely person and being a person who has a lifestream of being in a relationship. Lovely humans have great ambition but it’s easy to be ambitious and alone. A dream of partnership is a very different bravery. Be (and be with) people who are ambitious about relationship. See Robin Williams speech to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting on Youtube.

Find something and someone worth loving more than yourself. 

It gives true meaning to life.

Only do what’s fun. If it’s not fun, don’t do it. 

Life is too hard otherwise. Surround yourself with the good.

Redefine what fun is. 

If things seem like chores to you  (Ugh do I have to go buy groceries for you, you want a ride to the airport again?),  then you are too selfish and boring and please go away. 

Any moment, even in LAX traffic, can be beautiful with the right company.

LAX is so much fun, so much fun, so much fun!

Be with people who make you the best version of who you are. 

More smiley. More generous. More open. 

We all have enough neurosis on our own, thank you family of origin. 

Choose wisely.

You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough and believe for it with singleness of purpose.

Never show up empty handed. It doesn’t have to be flowers or chocolate, although these have historically been known to produce great results. Cliches only become cliches because they work. There is a reason why sweet-smelling flora and endorphin-releasing cacao have become overused. These are not shabby options; they are straight aphrodisiacs. But there are so many others. It can be a wink. Or poem. Or a fruit. Or a sexy compliment. Or a twirl hug. A passionate kiss. An invitation. An act of service. A wiggle. A surprise. 

But love is an offering, so if you are to attend the party, 

RSVP early and come ready to share your most delicious dish.

Make your life a bowl of cherries by offering them. Literally.

Compete at nothing with your partner except out-giving them. This only works if you are a mutual giver. Race to do the dishes. Sprint to make the bed. And hand out lots of gold medals when you partner beats you. Take turns standing on the top podium, especially if they are foreign, as we all need the Star Spangled banner sung a few times in our lives.

Be with a singer. Make your own soundtrack even if its off key. 

Sing together and dance even more than you sing.

Go on weekly safaris. Investigate your surroundings. Travel far and get lost in your own backyard.  If yours is a boring adventure, then what is the point?

Always ready for base camp.

Be with someone who adores you. Not just respects you. Or thinks you are a great catch. Adoration is different. So be with someone who adores you. And lets you adore them back. But adores you more. That last sentence need not be factually true, but they should let you feel that way. And vice versa.

You. No You. No You.

In public, there should be no question that your partner is your biggest fan. 

You don’t have to wear matching tshirts with arrows that say “I’m with the Superstar” (in fact, please don’t) but your actions should basically scream that.

Creepy. Please don’t do this.  Actions speak louder than salmon shirts and matching bundt cakes.

Say thank you and say it often and say it because you mean it. Remember the 3 M’s: Massage oil, music, and melty candles. Simple is extravagant.

Observe those often viewed as smaller or weaker. Sit and listen to them. Watch how children play. The male birds of paradise court the females. How monkey groom each other. See how lions mate, how penguins raise kids, how ants work years to build the perfect home. Watch dolphins jump for bliss and sky doves devote their lives to each other. Emulate these gifts of nature. These are all our greatest natural teachers.

Well, hey. I could salsa with that.

No one can take anything from you. Not your heart. Not your peace. Not your freedom or flair or fervor. Nor your time or your talents or your independence or your energy. No one can steal your soul or the deepest passions of your most creative depths. But by all means, offer these. And offer them freely. The more you own them in your own personhood, the less you will fear sharing them as you know they are yours and can never be taken away.

When you are afraid, get quiet. And listen to what you are afraid of. And see if it’s in the past. We most often fear what’s already happened to us. Our brains can’t tell the difference in time. But my friends, the worst is over. The things we most fear are gone, ghosts that will never happen again. We already lived through it. We have already survived it. And we are no longer there. So you’ve been divorced and it was hell and you fear it happening again — guess what? You already survived it. It’s over. So you fear wisdom teeth removal because it was so painful? Guess what, they are all gone and they are never growing back.  We are slow to realize the past is past. 

It’s the one thing you DON’T have to worry about. 

TetelestaiIT IS FINISHED. And your heart is still beating. So use it.

In order to share intimate space with another, cultivate a robust practice of self-care. Otherwise you will be looking for the other to do all the work for you. 

You alone control your own respiration.

Trust often, speak directly, and remember that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Play lots of games. Just not with another person’s heart. Otherwise love will trade in all your luck for a solid round of craps. And you will be the biggest loser of all.

Yes, that’s you, you game players.

We are all, at all times, simply practicing what it means to be human. In ourselves. With each other. Yet that is all we are – skin and flesh, bones and hearts. Breaking and strong. We are all in this together.

Trust your pure amazing heart. And you will attract someone who will do the same.

Become the person you want to attract. Be loving, kind, generous, open handed, unafraid, and beautiful.

None of us were loved perfectly by our first humans and we all have interrupted patterns of reaching out. Call them attachment disorders, call them fears, they are hiccups in our natural muscle memory to see another and, like children do, reach out. That’s all love is. Reaching out.  We all knew how to reach out without fear and we all long to love as we once could.  And it’s not that hard now.  “If you want to be loved,” said Rumi,  “all you have to do is open your arms.”

This is love: an opening of the pathway, the tiny muscles that run straight from your fingertips into your heart. This is life: eyes glowing, mouth agape, full of wonder.

So thanks for reading


(Even better than tri-tips. )

John and Jen, kicking it old school East Village circa 2005.

Here’s two more thoughts for the road, friends and lovers. Now go light up some BBQ fires:

       “I just want to love a woman so well, she sobs. Because she’s never imagined being taken care of so completely. That is all. Really, is that too much to ask?”    -John

      “Really, dear ones. The most courageous among us are the lovers. Stop pretending otherwise. So go be one. And find one. And love like a banshee…. And if all else fails, there’s always Barcelona.”    – Jennifer

For more articles on love, these are a few good ones: John Steinbeck’s beautiful letter to his son: Attachment Styles and Love 32 Commitments to Loving Kindness in Work and Love The Art of Manliness Website Love Poems by Rumi

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