I’m 24, I’ve been with my boyfriend for two and a half years. And last weekend we went for a weekend away to Uluru.
With the ambiance of this gorgeous setting surrounding us, we got engaged. It was magical.
We were sitting at the base of the giant heart of Australia. The sun was setting and the full moon rising. The Darwin Symphony Orchestra was about to play, getting ready to fill the beautiful vastness of landscape with classical sounds of passion and joy.
I could not have picked a better, more suited place to declare our love for one another and agree to spend a lifetime together. We couldn’t have found ourselves in a place that was more earthy and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time, where the beauty and rawness was its appeal.
Now, when I said I couldn’t have picked a better place, I meant it. And this, is where we have found, we have been losing people in our story. Steady yourselves for the next part. Are you ready? Breathe in. Okay, here it goes.
Yes, before you go and re-read the first sentence to see if you’ve got me pegged, yes, it was me, the female counterpart of the relationship.
Now to be fair, I’ve found my progressive friends, and anyone who knows me well enough has been simply elated to hear this. Others, however, (a good 50-70% of people we have told) have baulked a little at this part of the story. Some have even asked “why would you?” I’ve been told by a friend that such reactions were “to be expected”. I’ve had many others tell me that it was a shame that he didn’t have a ring to give to me.
Personally, the only thing that’s a shame is that anyone would think that anything, about my perfect moment of getting engaged, was a shame at all. Would it have been a shame if I didn’t have a ring for him if it was him that proposed to me? You know, like is the case in 99% of the proposals that occur in our culture? No? Oh. Okay.
You see, my fiancé and I have always existed in a mutual and loving relationship based on equality. One of the conditions that exist within this relationship is that it wasn’t down to only one of us to ask the other if they would like to spend the rest of their life with them. And it’s not up to one person to answer that question. It was fair game for either of us to propose.
So back to my story. I bought him a ring and as he was taking a picture of the sunset that was dimming the sky to a gorgeous orange and mauve glow, I told him that there might be something else he wanted to take a picture of. Turning around to face me, he saw the red box with the ring inside. I asked him to marry me. And he said yes. And it was one of the most nerve racking and beautiful moments in my entire life.
I didn’t do it because I was worried he wasn’t going to ask me, nor because I’m desperate to get married. I did it because it was the perfect setting for it.
We were at the base of Australia’s heart with the sun setting and the full moon rising. I know I’ve said that before, but I don’t understand why people can’t seem to think that is enough.
When people hear about the setting before who proposed, they give my partner a pat on the back and say “how romantic!” When they hear it was me who asked, though, I get funny looks and we have been told to “leave that bit out”.
No. We will not leave it out. We are both proud. This was one of the happiest moments of our lives.
Little did I know he’d already ordered me a ring, is waiting for it to come into the store, and had already asked my parents for permission. So there, I beat him to it by a matter of weeks. Still think I’m desperate? Still think I thought he wouldn’t do it? To all the traditionalists, I salute you. I respect you.
I understand that there is a way that people have been told things work. To me, some things about that process are antiquated. We earn an equal wage (at least we will by the time I’m finished my PhD), we both cook and clean and ride mountain bikes on the weekend.
I am marrying my best friend and my equal. So I’m more than happy to congratulate you when you’re engaged, however you may see that process working out for you, because I’m sure that will work for who you are, and for your relationship and fit in with what you believe and reflect who you both are. Just like our engagement fits us, our values and our relationship. So I expect the same. Be elated, or be gone. It isn’t your place to judge or critique.
I’m so glad that I have found someone who understands equality, that I was bought up in a family where my dad always told me that I could do whatever the boys could do, with a mum who was the most emotionally stable person I’ve ever met, with male primary school teachers for the majority of my schooling.
I haven’t been pushed into being anything other than what I am. Nor do I expect others to be anything other than what they are. Gender is the least interesting thing about someone, and accounts for very little in my books.
I actually believe that I’m well adjusted because of this attitude. And to me, there’s nothing about having a penis that lends itself to being the only person in the relationship to be able to propose.
Welcome to 2013.
The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.
Would you ever propose to your partner?