Some people do choose to say it with flowers
By Stevie Emilia
JAKARTA (JP): Do you want to express a heartfelt message to loved ones, but cannot find the right words? Perhaps the best way, then, is to say it with flowers.
A bouquet of flowers makes a perfect gift for a wife or mother. Specially selected flowers can also brighten the day of an ailing friend, or sweeten up a business relationship.
Noted gynecologist and sex consultant Boyke Dian Nugraha regularly sends flowers to his wife. He said the practice began when the two were still in university.
"Until five years into our marriage, we placed flowers at the place we first met, on my campus, each year. People who saw the flowers probably wondered where they came from," he laughed.
Although their busy schedules mean the sending of bouquets is not as regular today, Boyke never forgets to send flowers to his wife of 15 years on their wedding anniversary or her birthday.
"I order the flowers in Cikini myself. Usually, I ask for red roses. We both love them. And I ask the florist to create a special design for her. My wife is very happy if I also give her a poem that I wrote along with the flowers."
Thanks to the Internet, it is now no longer necessary to make orders by phone or in person.
The Net can also cut down the time and cost with the sending of virtual flowers by e-mail.
Salsa restaurant's public relations manager Teges Prita Soraya said she sometimes received flowers from her Italian husband.
"My husband sends flowers for special occasions, besides the gifts ... He always sends me roses, but sometimes he also sends them virtually through e-mails."
Women whose husbands never brought home flowers before would probably feel suspicious if they suddenly showed up on their doorstep with a bouquet.
"My husband is not a romantic type who will bring flowers home. If he did, I would be suspicious. He might do something wrong," said Tuti, a working mother.
Some people also find they are not comfortable giving flowers as gifts, preferring items such as food, fruit, cosmetics, jewelry and leather products.
"I never give flowers to my wife," popular monolog actor Butet Kartaredjasa said. "It's just not me. I'm not accustomed to such a thing and I will feel awkward doing so."
He said his gift to his wife since he was a third-year high school student was perfume, besides attention and kisses for her.
"My wife never asks me to bring her flowers either," said Butet, who recently took part in a multimedia show, Joko Tingkir.
Flowers are usually given on birthdays or anniversaries, or to cheer up sick friends. Many wedding reception invitations, however, include a note requesting that guests not bring flowers or gifts.
The unspoken understanding is that cash will be given.
"I don't care. Sometimes I bring flowers to a wedding reception although the invitation tells me not to do so. I will do it mostly if those inviting me are rich people who don't need anything else. But I follow the request if I think they need cash more," said noted conductor Addie M.S. of Twilite Orchestra.
He acknowledged that giving cash was more practical.
"I have some presents from my own wedding that until now have not been opened," said Addie, who married pop singer Memes in 1987.
He does not forget to send flowers, especially her favorite lilies and chrysanthemums, to his wife. He said she preferred single colored flower arrangements because she found them more elegant.
It never crosses his mind to give her jewelry or gems instead.
"I always give her flowers. It's special. As a man, this is maybe my weakness that I'm different from others who usually give their loved ones diamond or gold jewelry. Maybe it's because my wife does not like wearing them. Someday I may wish to give my wife a diamond, but not now," Addie said.
For some expatriates, giving flowers is nothing unusual.
An expatriate man who did not want to be identified said he regularly gave flowers to his wife and daughter on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
"They are a great way to just show someone that you care and to brighten their day," said the geologist, who added he was a fan of jasmine.
His wife loves the gift, especially white gladiolli and red roses.
"She enjoys getting flowers. Indonesia has so many wonderful flowers and such talented florists making each arrangement a work of art."
A teacher, Sara Oxley-Furney, loves receiving flowers on her birthdays and Valentine's Day.
"I used to think I loved the whole idea of the delivery man driving up and walking toward your front door with a huge bouquet, but I think actually that we have all bought into the idea of flowers being a fairly straightforward declaration of love," the British national said.
"So when someone sends them to you they're not living a cliche, they are actually saying what they feel about you in capital letters for all the world to see."
She said the gift of flowers was an excellent choice in many respects. Expensive gifts, such as jewelry, make the recipient feel he or she owes something to the sender unless they know each other well, Oxley-Furney added.
A gift of flowers can be unforgettable, she said, recollecting two personal experiences.
During her college days she once received an enormous bouquet on her birthday. She happily assumed it was from a man she had a crush on.
"I was totally speechless, fortunately, and opened the card to find out they were from someone else, actually from the then man- of-my-dreams best friend! Very memorable, for the wrong reasons," said the fan of daffodils and sunflowers.
The other memorable experience happened last year, when she was in Shanghai and received a bouquet from a man, now her husband, who was in Jakarta.
"At that time, the whole reception desk staff came into my office followed by the office assistant carrying an enormous bouquet of lilies," Oxley-Furney said.
"They were pink and white and smelled like heaven. I was totally amazed. They stayed on my desk for weeks. Then he called to see if I had got them. I nearly got on a plane right then!"