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emmanation

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the proposal

June 10th, 2010 by biscuit

Ahh proposals.

If you haven’t seen this ¬†and you don’t feel like watching it, all you need to know is that it’s an all-singing all-dancing fully coreographed nutball proposal in Madison Park (wherever that is). A fellow leads his girlfriend into the park, sits her down, does some wacky Monkees-cept-alone style walking, grabs a mic, and the fun begins.

If it sounds like I’m being a little snarky, I am. (If it doesn’t sound like I’m being snarky, go back and read it again except using a snarky voice in your head – that should help.) The amount of work that he put into this is astounding, don’t get me wrong. He clearly wanted it to be an unforgettable moment for her, for him…. and for several hundred strangers.

A couple of weeks ago I heard a girl on a call-in radio show complaining that her boyfriend had turned to her while they were watching television and said ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?’ As she’d always dreamed of an elaborate proposal, she was kind of pissed. Her view was that if he didn’t know that about her, then it wasn’t the real her he was proposing to. If it was that important to her, I understand her point.

So here we have two different stories of engagements, as opposite as they can be when the person doing the proposing is also the person having the penis.

Full disclosure: I was proposed to several years ago, in what may be the most poorly thought out surprise proposal ever. The chain of events went like this: Mohawk had Amy Tan write ‘Emma, Mohawk wants to know if you’ll marry him. Best of Luck, Amy Tan” inside a copy of The Joy Luck Club. Mohawk hid the book in a bag of mine, overestimating how often I used said bag. Mohawk and I broke up and he moved to Minnesota to help take care of his ill father. I started dating someone else. THEN – I found the book. Nice, right? I didn’t end up having to say no (which, sadly, I would have) because of the time that had passed – thank god for that, at least.

There’s just something about a proposal that kills me. The pressure that is placed on men to make it perfect and unique – the pressure that is placed on women to wait for it and respond appropriately – the clamoring of others to hear exactly how it happened. Not to mention the expectations surrounding traditions, including the paternal permission and ring things.

So, without further ado (because obviously there has been plenty of ado already), my suggestions for a perfect proposal.

General

  1. If you’re a woman and a) you think you and your boyfriend are there and b) you wouldn’t mind if he didn’t do the asking, consider doing it yourself. Keep in mind that he will have to tell people that you asked him, which some men will handle better than others – but since you know your boyfriend better than I do (hopefully), you probably already thought of that. I’m not saying do it for women’s lib – I’m just saying don’t NOT do it because you don’t think you can.
  2. If you’re going to make it personal, this is not the time to guess – ask your partner’s friends or family if you don’t know what his or her preference in something is. Example: I’d never actually read The Joy Luck Club. While I do love books, Mohawk clearly had no idea which books.
  3. If you’re going to make it public, please consider your partner’s tolerance for public attention. In my experience it’s rare that both people in a relationship have the same level of gregariousness, and what seems appropriate to you might make him or her cry. And not in a good way.
  4. The why is always more important than the how. If you want to be with your partner for the rest of your life because he makes you feel better just by being there, or because she makes you feel safe, or because he is the funniest mofo you ever met, that is what will resonate. The Youtube video is for other people.

When proposing to a woman

  1. Don’t do it when she’s dirty, or stinky, hasn’t brushed her teeth. There are exceptions, but the last thing she’s going to want to do is leave your side to get cleaned up, and she’s going to want pictures. (Ht to Queen B for this one.)
  2. You do not have to spend two months salary on a ring. DeBeers is fucking with you, trust me. Consider skipping the ring all together – feel her out on it. Think of what else you could do with that money! Just mention that the ring is basically a downpayment on her virginity and ask if she’s ok with that. Do consider some kind of token though – a necklace, a tattoo, whatever fits with your relationship.
  3. The scoreboard at a sporting event is not appropriate.

When proposing to a man

  1. Look hot. While I’m sure he loves you for your mind, humor, whatever, looking hot will only make it a better memory. Plus, if he says yes, you are definitely going to have sex. Just sayin’.
  2. Don’t buy him a ring. Seriously. Men were not indoctrinated into the ‘and then he gave me the ring’ thing the way women were – it will be sort of awkward.
  3. The scoreboard at a sporting event is not appropriate.

There you go. If you follow these 10 easy guidelines, any proposal you make will probably not make it onto Youtube…. but it will probably be something you and your future spouse will remember for the rest of your lives. Now go forth and multiply …. or something.

*UPDATE: When I went to post this on Facebook, I saw that a couple of friends of mine announced their engagement this morning. Congratulations Jeb and Julie!

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8 Responses to “the proposal”

  1. Awlbiste says:

    I always figured when I felt like I wanted to be married (which, honestly? still not sure about) it would really be more of like, a conversation, than a proposal out of nowhere. Practical Me has way way more of a hold on my brain than Romantic Me.

  2. emmanation says:

    I can certainly see that. Going into it as a decision you made together bodes well for the rest of your shared life.

  3. QueenB says:

    Perfect blog post. I agree 100% on the scoreboard too. And gorgeous hint, um… ring I mean.

  4. emmanation says:

    I was originally going to say that if asking a guy, the scoreboard was appropriate – then I realized no. It’s just never ok.

  5. TJ says:

    I was proposed to by an author, too. And I didn’t have any pants on.

    A scoreboard in a stadium that showed a picture of me without my pants on would have been totally inappropriate.

    It was ok the way it was, though.

  6. emmanation says:

    I saw yours – it was pretty freaking adorable and very much showed that Phil knows you. And doesn’t care if you wear pants.

  7. Kortney says:

    i was proposed to in a cemetary (totally me) with an old ring that cost about $100 (totally me). i was looking hot (for the most part) and totally put out afterward.

    Emma, good advice on all counts.

  8. emmanation says:

    Why thank you. But I need to ask the question that everyone is thinking… did you put out IN the cemetery :)?

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