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.
It made me think about the reaction of other men. How a woman proposing might make them feel. I mined Reddit for some insight.
Many men want to get there first
I’d be ecstatic if my girl proposed to me, but that is something I want to do, and I’ve been looking forward to it my whole life. – Trippdawg1123
I would of course be very happy to be engaged but at the same time a little disappointed as I already have an idea in my head as to how I’d like to propose to my girlfriend. – Soggypastry
I know the traditional “men should propose” is outdated…but I really want to be the one to do it. I wanna own that -Bababenj
I’m a very progressive individual, but proposing is something I’ve looked forward to all of my life. – WheresTheSauce
One man made sure he was the one to ask…
He said no. I was pretty embarrassed. But then he proposed a month later, and had been planning to for a while. – Purpleelephantdance
A lot of men love the idea
I felt lucky and happy and said yes. When we started dating she made it clear that she was not interested in a ‘married’ relationship, i.e. she had already been married once, and was not interested in doing it again. But a few years later, out of the blue she casually said, “we should get married”. We did, and will be celebrating our 12th anniversary in a few weeks. – Andergaff
My fiance and I agreed on it at the kind of same time. But she surprised me in bed one night while I was sleeping and put it on my finger. I rolled back over and went to sleep heavy sleeper. I’m happiest I’ve ever been in life. – Roarcuba