Proposing to my boyfriend is not something I’ve ever thought about. Partly because any engagement is a long way off. But also because, despite my very proactive, pro-woman approach to life, I’ve always assumed my significant other would be the one doing the proposing. And I would be pleasantly surprised by their beautiful-personal-romantic-gesture (and hopefully also willing to say yes). You can tell I’ve seen too many chick flicks.
It never crossed my mind to ask the question myself.
I certainly applaud women who have done it, or who are thinking about doing it. I know that it’s old-fashioned, silly even, that a man should be the one to ask a woman for her hand in marriage. That the concept detracts from a woman’s own agency and prerogative to choose. But a lifetime of conditioning (and those chick flicks) has meant it’s never crossed my mind.
But last week a woman in the office said she wants to be the one to propose to her boyfriend. This made it seem more like a possibility for me – not something done by other people, to other people. She also said reading about other women who have proposed – for example, actress Tasma Walton proposing to radio personality Rove McManus – made her feel more “normal” about wanting to do it herself.
All of a sudden, it was closer to home. “Hey, why can’t I do it?”
The problem, she said, was her boyfriend’s reaction. The fact that he, also, wanted to be the one to propose. That it was something he’d always thought about doing. That he’d grown up expecting to be the one asking, not being asked.