"My house ."
It's the love letter for today, quick and to the point, though the romantic poets would crumple their quills.
Not your style? How about:
"Sweet warm and beautiful -- that is what your are to me. You are dear and lovely, and together we are meant to be . . . eternally ." Straight out of a greeting card.
Maybe you go in for surprises. Like:
"I have this incredible friend I must tell you about .
"She brings beautiful moments to my life. "
"You know her intimately; I want to know her better .
"Guess who ?"
She'll have to flip the note to find out what she already should suspect.
If you don't think these sample billets-doux will score for you, write your own, say Joe Jeff, who has taught on Open University class on "How To Write Love Letters."
Notes to your lover, maintains Jeff, are important in a relationship. They can "change and strengthen it. A phone call is for now, a love letter is forever."
The half-dozen romantic souls, mostly in their 20s, who paid $8 for the 90-minute lesson included:
A computer specilist who is "not particularly crazy about the letters I write."
A woman who came "out of curiosity."
A dashing lawyer, there fro the same reason.
Two newlywed women, both professional writers, who thought the class sounded "interesting." (Their husbands didn't know they were there).
A man momentarily at loose ends who had "met a girl in Greece . . . I've been writing to her."
Good letter writing, like many pursuits, "gets better with practice," says Jeff, 27, who has also taught a course on "Social Kissing," teaches tap dancing and operates with his wife the "Our Compliments" message service: They phone a compliment to a friend if you're too shy.
The message service evolved, Jeff says, when he found "a need for people to express themselves." The love-letter class is a spinoff.
For Jeff, adjectives -- kind, intelligent, warm, clever, sweet, wonderful, soft, lovely, luscious, strong, bold, brilliant -- "are tools to writing a good love letter." Use them, he says, and "string them together."
The next step: "active" verbs.
"You make my life beautiful ."
"Suddenly, you excite me. "
"Isn't Gloria Steinem going to eat that up!" exclaims Jeff, whose enthusiasm for his subject is apt to send him bouncing about the room.
But don't overdo it, he cautions. "Economy is important. In the best writing, less is more. Get to the point."
Often, says Jeff, people are afraid to write letters because "I'm just not creative. I'm not imaginative." To prove otherwise, he had class members write their first note -- with, to be charitable, mixed results.
The computer specialist -- his thoughts diverted temporarily from high techonology -- delighted the traditionalists with:
"Sweet, beautiful you ,
"My heart shudders at the thought of you. "
"Can't you see the image?" laughed Jeff. "He's having a cardiac arrest."
The lawyer skipped the velvety words, but got his message across:
"Come see me ,
"More adjectives," criticized Jeff, "unless she goes for S and M."
When writing someone a love letter, "Start by getting their image in front of your eyes," says Jeff. Ask yourself "What do they like to hear?" Most of us "don't try to antagonize. We say things that will make the situation comfortable."
If, for example, a woman wants to attract Robert Redford, she might write -- as did one class member who got high marks for:
"The power of the sun propels us together. Saturday at noon ?"
Jeff says letter-writing for him "is a natural instinct. I write every day." He writes some friends weekly, if only a simple note, and goes to his office two hours early to take care of business and personal mail.
A love letter comes in particularly handy, says Jeff, when you've had a spat and want to make amends. Then it's called "a letter of healing."
The class, as they gained confidence and experience, came up with these short, sweet and, to Jeff, charming possibilites:
"You were right ."
"Are we still ?"
"My apologies for not being more understanding. "
Love letters, concedes Jeff, can be risky. They are a "gift," he says, and "not all gifts are graciously received."
But, if you succeed, "Well . . ."
Some other considerations:
Don't use legal-size envelopes. They look "like bureaucatic Washington." A "smaller, more fragile" envelope creates "a childlike wonder."
The envelope -- "the costume that the beautiful body of your prose is draped in" -- should "tease" and "titillate." Dab it with cologne. Decorate it with ribbon. Put a gold star by your lover's name. Seal it with wax.
Don't forget an expressive greeting -- Dear, My Dear, My Darling, Gentle Person -- and closing -- Forever Yours, Fondly, Peace, Love, Yours Forever More .
Pick a stamp that reflects your lover's interests.
Decorate the envelope with your own artwork "to seize the attention."
And if you still need more help, consult these experts:
The Romantic Poets -- Byron, Shelley, Robert Burns, Keats, etc.
Browning's "Sonnets From the Portuguese."
Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations."
And remember, says Jeff, "to receive a love letter, you've got to send one."