Wifeys & Gentlemen,
I was a little sick last week and weekend so when I set this blog to post automatically, it went horribly horribly wrong. So let’s call a Monday post a ‘better late than never’ testament to my commitment to you! I mention the illness as a preemptive measure, for two reasons: (1) I’m sure some of you will wonder why I am slightly less ‘long winded’ than usual (this post will not be anywhere close to 2000+ words, I promise) and (2) because being sick always makes me a little cranky, and this post might just be me being cranky instead of objective and well informed. I apologize in advance if it is, in fact, a cranky mood swing. We all have our moments though, right?
Anyway, I just briefly wanted to rant about something that I genuinely would like a second, educated opinion on. Something we all have thought about regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. I am talking of course about the ever exciting, marriage proposal! I don’t mean to cater this more to women as I know that different sets of people propose marriage to their lovers every day. However, when we think of ‘American Wedding Traditions’ it’s impossible not to think about a woman patiently waiting for her man to ‘pop the question’ so forgive me if this post does not feel as inclusive as I’d like it to! I have ALL people in mind, but my cultural conditioning is highlighted in my imperfections, ok?
To provide a bit of background, in the past 3 weeks I have seen a handful of girls post 2 different memes regarding the “rules” that their man/lover must abide by when asking for their hand in marriage. As I recall, one of them says something like:
Ask my parent’s permission
Make sure my nails are done
Have a photographer ready to capture the moment…
All of these memes say different versions of the same idea, a type of female construction of proposal perfection that we have somehow convinced ourselves is the ‘right’ or ‘correct’ way to go about getting engaged.
Personally, I think this is a HUGE problem and I’m not exactly sure who is to blame. Society cultures us (young women especially) to have fantasy and fairy-tale expectations for proposals, weddings, marriage, and family. In turn, we consume these ideas, constantly honing in on details and making comparisons that, quite frankly, are meaningless, shallow, and not at all indicative of what your wedding (or marriage) is about!
*Disclaimer: For the record, I am not saying that my proposal wasn’t the stuff of fairy-tales; my proposal was magical, but not for the reasons outlined above.
Let’s take this point by point.
- “Ask my parent’s permission”
Okay, great! If you and your parents are the sort of people who find meaning in this, it is perfectly fine and can be a really wonderful and special tradition. However, I think it would be kind of a lame thing to just assume someone is comfortable doing. Instead of making it a demand, talk to your partner about any reasons why you might appreciate the gesture while also being prepared to listen if they disagree or dislike the tradition. Additionally, and perhaps this is a radical idea but go with me here, maybe try ASKING YOUR PARENTS if this is a tradition they actually value. You might be surprised by what you learn.
I know for a verifiable fact that while my parents (dad) appreciated being consulted in advance, they would not have been in any way offended if my fiancé decided to pull the trigger with no warning. Remember, it is your life and you (whether man or woman or other) are not a piece of property being sold off to the highest bidder! For some, the proposal moment is a very private moment and your bride/groom-to-be might want the experience of telling his/her parents on his/her own terms.
- “Make sure my nails are done”
I mean, I can’t lie: after my proposal, I went and got myself a nice manicure the very next day! My sweetie and I went together as a nice, post-proposal day trip to make ourselves feel cute and ready to take our ring pics for friends and family! However, when he asked, my nails were a funny-colored, electric blue, chipped, and scuffed! I am happy to report that I still said “yes” and the ring still glinted beautifully against my poorly maintained polished finger.
Ask yourself this question…”why do my nails need to be perfect to make this moment good?” If the answer is anything but THEY DON’T, I think you’re doing something wrong! I know we live in a culture of sharing and posting everything the moment it happens. Getting all those likes and comments on our timelines makes us feel good about ourselves and I am no different!
Still, I can promise you that in that moment, you will not be thinking about how your hands look. When you call your parents, family, and/or close friends, your nails won’t matter to them either. In a lot of ways, not having perfect, camera-ready hands can be a blessing in disguise; giving you time to pause before you immediately run to social media to post your new relationship status.
Not to mention…it’s kind of unfair to expect your love to postpone their proposal plans in order for you to have perfect nails. It is even more unfair to expect them to build your nail maintenance into their proposal plan automatically.
Ladies (& some gents) this one is on you! If it really really matters that much to YOU, keep your nails on ‘fleek’ (hehehe) at all times if you think he/she is close to popping the question. Otherwise, let it go!
It’s silly. It’s really, really silly.
- Have a photographer ready
Okay, okay, okay, I get it! I 100% understand why you might want to have someone ready to take pictures or video of this moment. If that is something that is important for the two of you, great! *cranky alert* But remember a couple things: photographers are expensive! If you want your partner to have one ready, it might have to be a friend or family member, and there might be some flaws in the execution. Also, your partner might not want to have anyone else around when they ask. Proposing marriage can be a very nerve racking and emotional experience and many men and women would rather smile for pictures in the afterglow of the moment, once the “yes” has been secured. Moreover, having a photographer means that at least one other person will know what is happening and have the ability to spill the beans before you and your partner can. Is this a risk you’re willing to take? Is it something you care about?
I know it might seem silly, but depending on your relationship dynamic, the decision to propose to someone is a huge, meaningful, and monumental moment in a person’s life. For some, it is the one moment throughout the wedding process that is truly theirs to create. When he or she is standing in front of you, looking into your eyes, and asking you to spend the rest of your life with them, are you really going to freak out or say “no” because your nails are chipped? Are you going to pout when no one is there to capture your moment on film? Will you give the ring back if you discover they haven’t asked your parents permission first?
I’d wager to guess the answer is no.
Being asked to get married was one of the most amazing moments I have ever had, both with my fiancé and in my life. The moment was flawed, sure, but that is what made it so perfect. I am grateful for everything that lead up to it and even more grateful that we chose to spend a day to ourselves, no posts, no media, no phone calls, enjoying the idea of being in love and being together forever.
Let your moment be whatever it is supposed to be, organically. There will be plenty of time to obsess over details and make your intended-spouse completely crazy. Trust me, nitpicking your proposal is NOT the best use of your time, or an honor to your relationship.
Or…is that just me?
Until next week,
Carry on Wifeys!