the big deal about proposals

I recently came across an article about the trend toward over-the-top marriage proposals, events that require significant planning on the part of the would-be groom. The stories were lavish, creative and required extensive planning. And some of them were ridiculous.

But I don’t want to criticize, because I think proposals should be planned — they should be thoughtful. Or spontaneous. In other words, they should be individual and personal. And a proposal is a great way for a man to shine, whereas the wedding is all about the bride.

As for my proposal:  When I was finally ready for marriage, it took several months for the love of my life to catch up…even though we already had a home and two children together. I feel a deep sense of shame as I confess that my ex was so cheap that he was surprised to learn that I wanted a ring.

He actually first proposed one night when we were out with another couple. His demeanor toward me had been so hostile that the couple we were with thought it was a joke. He ignored me or was rude toward me for much of the evening, and then he pulled out a gauche “drag queen” ring — the kind with an adjustable band that became popular about a year later. Needless to say, I requested a do-over (with a ring I might actually be inclined to wear). Lest I sound like a complete asshole (and maybe I am), we had gone out and looked at rings together. He knew exactly the style I was hoping for, as well as my ring size (and the budget we had discussed). He knew I was hoping for a little romance.

So let’s get back to the proposal, part deux, months later:  My mother was watching the children and my guy was going to take me out to dinner “somewhere special, somewhere we’d had drinks but not dinner.” We pulled up…and the restaurant was closed. So then we decided to go to a Thai place that we’d frequented before children. His proposal was interrupted by a server bringing out some egg rolls. In other words, there was little forethought and absolutely no planning put into what I had hoped would be a special and romantic memory for us to reminisce about for years to come. He hadn’t bothered to call and make a reservation, nor ordered champagne. I tried to be thrilled and delighted at this dream-come-true but, in my heart, I felt hurt that he hadn’t put thought or effort into creating something special. And, in the end, it was another in a long chain of disappointments.

Maybe some of you, maybe especially the guys, will read this and think that it’s my own foolish expectations that got me into this mess. But who among us doesn’t hope for a little romance? My desires were not unrealistic; my demands not too great…I left a great deal of my heart open to possibility, open to allowing myself to be surprised. Alas, it was not to be.

So cheers to those guys with the elaborate schemes. I’m sure the women in their lives will appreciate the thoughtfulness and planning, and they will have a story to share and remember for many years to come.

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