is it cool for her to propose?

an Irish tradition is for women to propose to men on Leap Day. 

but sharideth, why didn’t you write this post for Leap Day like a normal person?

*sigh* because how boring and predictable is that?  and also because i didn’t think of it until a friend texted me this weekend.

if a lass (preferably a ginger according to me) asks a man to marry her on Leap Day and he refuses, he has to give her a silk gown.  the obvious question being “why don’t we all do this repeatedly to total strangers until we have a silky new wardrobe worthy of Angelina Jolie’s leg?”  ladies, you have four years to scope out guys with good taste.

of course the people who hate this tradition are women who rage about it being anti-feminists (because women should be asking men to marry them all the time) and are probably forever alone.

while i think this particular tradition is kind of adorable, i’m not a big fan of women proposing.

hypocrite.  you are a raging, psychotic hypocrite.

i know.  but read me out.  yes, i proposed to Craig.  but it wasn’t planned.  it was in my 76′ Toyota Celica and it went like this:

C:  what can i do to make you happy?  (he was just being romantic, i was already happy.)

me:  marry me.

C:  i thought i got to ask that.

me:  fine.  then ask. (and he was never romantic again.)

it wasn’t a forced senario.  it was just a thing.  that happened.  and somehow worked out.


i don’t think a woman should go through the big production of proposing to a man.  it really is his job.  it not only shows leadership and confidence, it offers a sense of security by demonstrating the ability to put himself out there on her behalf.

it also shows her a whole lot of respect.  it’s just how it’s done.

i may have pulled a me and jumped the gun (we had only been dating for 2 weeks), but Craig took control immediately and handled the ring buying and timing of everything else.  i’m not sure i would have married him if he hadn’t.  unless she’s got some serious control issues, no woman wants to be responsible for the entire future of the relationship.

so guys, four years from now, if the girl you love hits one knee and proposes, say yes if you were already going to ask her anyway, but immediately man up and buy her a ring.  and make sure you’re wearing pants.

ladies, unless you really want to have the support of a quirky holiday behind you, let him ask.  if he can’t, or won’t, you’ve got bigger problems than lack of a ring.

guys, what are your thoughts on women proposing?  how would you react to that?

ladies, ever thought about this?  would you do it?


24 comments on “is it cool for her to propose?

  1. Hoo Sze Ling says:

    Some jobs are best left to the guys … so that when they deliver, we know why we’re with them. 🙂

  2. Allen says:

    As a matter of fact 🙂 my wife asked me to marry her. I said, “yes but not now” as all the books I read said date a full year and I had already been thru a failed marriage. I bought her a ring, made sure I was wearing my Levis, and we were married 3 months later. We have been married 8 yrs now and could not be happier.

  3. Jessi says:

    Is it bad that we have decided to get
    Married and have been looking at wedding stuff and talking about the day and I even get to design my own ring…. But… He hasn’t actually asked the question yet! Lol
    When you know you know…

  4. kp says:

    If my ex and I didn’t have to rush to get married to buy a home, I would have proposed to him. I had it all planned. I was going to do it while out snowboarding (our first date was snowboarding). I was going to fall, be “unable to get back up”, and propose to him after I pulled him into some deep powder next to me. I figured if you’re prepared to dig me out of my own hole, you’re prepared to do it for the rest of your life.

    When we did get married, he did an amazing job of picking out the ring, but I never got a proposal. I’m a firm believer that a proposal has to be a good story. I would probably say try again to a guy who gave me a crappy proposal. Lord knows I’ve turned them down in the past.

    • My favourite story told by my parents is that my father said to my mother, “You know what would do you good? You should marry me!” She said, “Go away and learn how to propose properly.” A few weeks later, he did the whole down-on-one-knee thing with the ring, and she said yes.

  5. I’m really scared now Jessi might be my girlfriend. I mean, the Jessi posting above. Because she has the exact same story, not because it would be scary. I will have to ask the question, and if she’d ask me (you didn’t technically ask, Sharideth) I would by now be pretty much offended.

    On the other hand, proposals and being engaged are that much more of a big deal in the US. It’s not custom here to wear an engagement ring (I tried to play that trick, did not work), there’s no official announcement (maybe on Facebook) and sometimes people aren’t even officially engaged.

    • Bethany says:

      What? If they aren’t engaged, how do they decide when to get married? How do they plan the wedding? Enlighten me!

      • Well, if you read Jessi’s comment, you’ll see you can plan and prepare for a wedding just the same. The date ‘just’ gets picked. Engagement in the end is also a social label. If you don’t go along with it, you just skip the ‘thing’ engagement and plan a wedding. You could say they’re technically engaged when they plan a date, but I know my parents for example never used the term (or did anything engagement-related). My brother did use the term, but after drinks in our backyard with both families, nothing changed. Also, they knew they were getting married before.

  6. JBen says:

    In general, I am a pretty equal opportunity guy, but I think here the guy needs to propose. If for no other reason than the guy needs to have a huge investment in that. Otherwise it’s like he just passively received some huge gift and did nothing to get it. That doesn’t bode well for the future.

    I am glad to know that I chose into my marriage. I sucked it up and asked. I am responsible for the initiative.

    This whole thing is my fault, in the best possible way.

  7. Tyler Smith says:

    Who comes up with traditions like this one?

  8. Jenn says:

    I have become torn on this issue:

    1.I agree with the first commenter that it is normally a good indication that they are ready because they’re “willing to put a ring on it”
    . As someone who has had a ring offered in a way that was completely antithetical to who I am and wanting a proposal that was meaningful it was really frustrating. If you’re wondering it was on a beach, and since we had already clearly decided I would never be married on a beach because it’s dirty etc – and I had given him ideas on how to propose… but alas. I think in the end when the relationship tanked for other vastly more significant issues it made me realize he had no intention of listening to me not in a control way – like the proposal had to be my rules, but in a knowing me way – if she says over my dead body it will be a beach for the wedding – then maybe I shouldn’t propose there.

    3. As such I want that future someone to prove they know me enough at that moment to be confident they’re excited to get to know all of me.

    4. All that being said I love my ex – we’re separated due to work/school issues (he’s a resident and I’m a grad student both of us in separate countries) and I know if we’re going to get back together one of us has to make a grand gesture – put a ring on someone and move to another country

    • Jess says:

      There are a couple of comments here from women who are particular about the way they are proposed to. Jenn, I don’t know your situation–it sounds like you guys had other communication issues, but your 3rd point makes me uncomfortable.

      If you have expectations about the event of the proposal, you need to communicate them. “I don’t want to get married on the beach” might not mean “I don’t want to be proposed to on the beach.” If you’ve always dreamed of having “Tammy will you marry me” pop up on a diamond vision screen at your favorite sporting event, say, “Neil, I’ve always dreamed of having ‘Tammy will you marry me’ pop up on a…etc”. Don’t say “babe, however you want to propose is fine.” Unless it really, really is fine.

      If you want him to come up with a grand romantic gesture but want to be surprised, tell the poor man, “I don’t want to know the details, but it would make me so happy if you proposed via surprise party, singing telegram, treasure hunt, or awebcast in front of 10,000 of my closest social networking friends.”

      It’s not fair to set up the proposal as a test of how well you know someone. Maybe your fella always dreamed of asking the girl of his dreams to marry him at sunset where the land meets the sea in the beautiful chaos of rushing water and burnished sand.

      • Jenn says:

        He knew what I wanted and he knew that I don’t like beaches at all – across the board, I do not consider them to be romantic at all. As for the details beyond talking directly with him I had talked about it to my friends and on my blog, which is how me met – a post which he commented on (I checked after the relationship ended) – and I do know that he knew about that. He knew he had significant leeway within what I wanted – and he knew what I didn’t want – it wasn’t a test. I know that relationships are not about thinking your significant other can read your mind or your little hints. And that being said I really believe that I do not need to plan my own engagement down to the last detail. It is somewhere in the middle – and I got him to the middle part and he declined it.

        • Jenn says:

          One more thing maybe prove is the wrong word for the general public – for my experience it was necessary to see in his actions he had listened to me and sought to know who I was. Because in the end I was just a person he felt he could mould with his will – verb and physical into his idea of a spouse, even if I had given him a plan it wouldn’t have happened. I can see that even more so now with my present ex – who with each gift he has ever given me has shown he watched me, he was ready to learn about me without me saying for example – I love that or this type of thing. He’s proven to me beyond a shadow that there are men who pay attention and sure they need nudges and etsy favorite pages sometimes.

  9. I’m making a note that if I date any Irish girls, it shouldn’t be around a Leap Day. I’m now wondering how many Irish women got married to guys who didn’t say no only because they couldn’t afford a silk dress. :>

    • Chris says:

      Oh, it’s not just Irish girls who know about this. 🙂

      But this is the first time I’ve heard of the silk dress part.

  10. i don’t think a woman should go through the big production of proposing to a man. it really is his job. it not only shows leadership and confidence, it offers a sense of security by demonstrating the ability to put himself out there on her behalf.

    Seriously, if they’ve got to the point where one or the other is ready to propose marriage, then something is seriously wrong if she doesn’t already have more than just a sense of security, but a KNOWLEDGE of security that he’ll do that when it matters, because she’s seen him do it when it actually matters.

    Also, the type of leadership and confidence that is demonstrated by some showy gesture is different from the type that shows itself through living life in a confident way and with a sense of direction.

    I’ll be honest: if I got the impression that the woman I was with thought that it was my job because I’m a man to do the proposing, then on sheer principle (and stubbornness, and bloody-mindedness – three traits that she would already know that I possess in abundance) I would refuse to do it. Because that is a more confident stance in my opinion and is being true to what I believe: that prescribed gender roles are bollocks and should be scrapped. I guess you can just go ahead and call me a “woman who rages about it being anti-feminist (because women should be asking men to marry them all the time).”** (Actually, I believe women should be asking men to marry them approximately 50% of the time on average, since neither gender should have a prescribed role in it). Of course, it’s highly likely that if our views on gender roles are that different, then I’ll have dumped her long before marriage proposals became an issue because if we can’t even agree on how we should relate to one another, how can we have a relationship?

    unless she’s got some serious control issues, no woman wants to be responsible for the entire future of the relationship.

    And why is it not the case that, “unless he’s got some serious control issues, no man wants to be responsible for the entire future of the relationship”? Making a proposal of marriage isn’t being “responsible for the entire future of the relationship.” It’s initiating a transition that, ideally, was going to happen anyway (see Jessi’s comment!), and if it wasn’t ready to happen, then still it is up to both parties to be responsible for what they do with it in the future and whether it works out or not.

    ladies … let him ask. if he can’t, or won’t, you’ve got bigger problems than lack of a ring.

    Curious how this ties in with my thing above. My stubbornly refusing to genuflect to socially constructed gender roles would be part and parcel of holding all people to be of equal dignity and potency in this world. There again, I did acknowledge that if she felt that it was my role as the man, then there were sure to be other, bigger, problems underlying my principled (and stubborn) stand on the matter.

    I was struck by JBen’s comment:

    I think here the guy needs to propose. If for no other reason than the guy needs to have a huge investment in that. Otherwise it’s like he just passively received some huge gift and did nothing to get it. That doesn’t bode well for the future.

    So why does it bode any better for the future if it’s the woman who “just passively received some huge gift and did nothing to get it”?

    I’m going to say that when two people have built a strong enough relationship that marriage is the next step, there’s no “did nothing to get it” involved here: both partners worked at the relationship to get it into the condition where marriage is a realistic and viable prospect.

    As it happens, for all my stubborn refusal to be pushed into straitening gender roles, I think other factors would mean I would end up being the one to make the proposal when I meet that special someone and our relationship progresses far enough. I’m okay with taking the lead because it’s what I want to do; I’m not okay with doing it because “it’s the man’s job”. I believe that if it came to the point where a partner decided that she wanted to take that step before I had consciously determined that I wanted it, and said she wanted the symbols and ceremony to celebrate our long-term partnership (i.e. marriage and the equivalent practice for our lifestyle) then I would be very happy to accept and take responsibility for deciding to accept (assuming that the underlying emotions and sense of self within the relationship were in the right place – if I wasn’t ready yet then I would tell her to wait, and I would invite her when I was ready or I would explain why I felt things were going in the wrong direction).

  11. Chris says:

    I think women tend to already know the answer to a proposal, before men even ask. So it makes sense that men should be the ones who ask.

    I’m not keen on the whole “down on one knee” thing, though. To my mind, it doesn’t seem quite right.

  12. Regan says:

    It seems like, in general, that in a relationship the woman is ready to get married before the man is. So it makes sense for her to wait for the man to propose so that she can be sure that marriage is what he wants too. That’s my observation.

  13. asoulwalker says:

    I have a hard time imagining saying yes to a proposal from a woman… it would definitely ruin my day– especially if I was already considering asking her myself… and if I wasn’t already considering it… I don’t think it takes much imagination to imagine some likely reactions.

    By the way that picture is pretty great.

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