The conventional marriage proposal

proposalCan I just say, I find the idea of the man-on-one-knee-woman-shocked-almost-traumatized marriage proposal primitive?

But it’s here for now, as Amanda Marcotte says:

“Women are routinely told by the culture and media that men are reluctant to get married, that men are usually interested in women only for sex, and that women are desperate to get validated by a ring on the finger. … Given the choice between two stereotypes—the passive princess whose charm and beauty brings a man to one knee or an insecure needball who nagged a reluctant man into marriage—women will pick the former every time.” – Why The Sexist Marriage Proposal Won’t Go Away

I have no conventional marriage proposal, no engagement ring, no trauma in my marriage history. My now-husband and I just realized, together, that we were going to get married.

So you’ll excuse me for being unhappy with the traditional Western heterosexual proposal.

I’m just surprised that presumably after falling in love, getting to know each other, knowing each other really well, learning to read each other’s signals, that you’d be totally amazed, shocked, even traumatized (this article compares a marriage proposal to a car accident) when the man suddenly pops The Question. Wouldn’t you be coming to the same conclusion around the same time? Given that – for whatever reason – women tend to be more sensitive to emotional cues, and are generally charged with emotional labor anyway, shouldn’t they be, as usual, charged with the task of knowing when?

The act or state of shock at the moment when your beloved says he wants to marry you is deeply concerning to me. What, he didn’t make you feel confident in his love? You didn’t realize he was serious about putting a ring on it? You thought he was just a player?

And, what, you still want to marry him?

2 Replies to “The conventional marriage proposal”

  1. You assume that people perceive marriage through the same lens. I was shocked at my proposal (no knees, just a casual suggestion that we start considering it), because I thought that my now husband didn’t believe in the institution of marriage and that we would be life partners, not spouses. In retrospect, I wonder if he was setting me up a little so that I would be more surprised. I certainly did feel like throwing up at the time.

    1. :O at the notion of throwing up at your proposal. But yes, the unexpectedness of ‘WHAT? He wants to marry me?’ is what I’m upset about.

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