Tuesday, June 29, 2010

proposal hindsight

Videos like this leave me confused. Partly because I'm not sure whether or not to believe they're real and partly because I wonder, if in fact they are real, how the hell does that happen?

It's a perplexing idea for me. And I don't mean that I'm wondering in a "how could she do that; what's wrong with her that she would say no in front of thousands of people?" kind of way. I mean it in a "why the hell would be propose if he didn't know that she would say yes?" kind of way.

Maybe it's just the dynamic of my relationship with Mr. FP that causes me to wonder how someone's proposal could be rejected like that, but it makes me wonder what the state of someone's relationship could be like that one partner could think the couple is ready for marriage while the other doesn't agree. Not that I think each individual in a relationship becomes ready to get married at exactly the same time, but honestly, had he ever talked to her about it? I mean, really talked about it. In a serious, it could actually happen, kind of way?

Honestly, I chalk it up to traditional expectations. In the fairy tales and romantic stories in movies or on television, the woman is totally clueless when it comes to the proposal. She has no idea it's coming and she's surprised to tears when he gets down on one knee. It's so dreamy when the man takes initiative and puts himself out on a limb to propose. Or, at least, that's what we're told. This method very well may work for some people, I'm sure thousands of successful marriages started this way, but it's definitely not for us.

Our proposal wasn't like the movies. Not even a little. Although I didn't know the exact date that he planned to propose, I knew it was coming. I knew the month and I knew he'd probably do it around Christmas because he knew how much I loved that time of year. Does knowing making it less romantic? Am I disappointed because I knew it was coming and didn't simply leave it up to him? Hell no. What would it say about our relationship if he just decided to propose to me before we'd ever had the chance to discuss it? What kind of relationship could we have had if he kept something so huge from me? Personally, I don't think it would have been the kind of relationship I would want to be in.

We tell each other everything. And I mean everything. Very rarely are there secrets between us partly because I can't keep things from him and partly because our relationship only works when we're honest with one another. And nothing about this changed when it came to the proposal. As Lyn mentioned in this post on another damn wedding, the traditional method of proposals create a disaster zone in which one person (usually the woman) is rendered entirely passive while the man is left to make all the decisions. Like Lyn and her beau, this is a difficult concept for Mr. FP and I because we're used to making decisions together too.

When Mr. FP was having a difficult time finding the perfect ring, I volunteered to go ring shopping with him to give him some ideas. For him, that shopping trip was a relief because he didn't have to stress about spending a ridiculous amount of money on something I would hate.

Did that make getting engaged less magical? Um, no. Partly because I never saw the ring he ended up buying because it was at a different store than the ones we visited together but moreso because... well, who cares? it's a ring. It's the meaning behind it that represents his love for me, not the physical object so it wouldn't have mattered if I'd seen it. I'm eternally grateful that I was able to relieve his stress instead of falling into archaic gender roles which dictate that I was to know nothing about the ring or the proposal.

In hindsight, I would have changed one major thing. Although some women take the reigns by proposing to the man, I would have eliminated the proposal altogether. For us, it ended up being simply a formality and nothing more. It wasn't necessary because we'd already agreed that we wanted to get married through dozens of conversations.

If I could go back in time, I think we would have eliminated that pressure and simply allowed the proposal to be as simple as "so, you want to get married?" "yes" "okay, me too" "sweet". That would have made us equal. Because either way, whether it's the man doing it or the woman doing it, there's no balance. Someone is taking control and the other is left submissive. That's never been how our relationship works, so why was it how our engagement worked?

Because we were stuck in traditional roles. It's as simple as that. We both had preconceived notions about what a proposal should be like and those notions were based in outdated and ridiculous gender norms. Looking back, I feel stupid for allowing that to happen especially since the romantic idea of the proposal was perpetuated more so by yours truly while Mr. FP probably could have gone either way. And to be honest, he's not a proposal kind of guy. He's adorable and sweet and perfect for me but he's not the most romantic of creatures and the fact that he had to deal with so much pressure to execute a romantic proposal makes me feel guilty.

Stupid romantic proposals and the gender roles they promote. Reason number 238,094 that I will never let my children watch Disney movies...


Lisa said...

no disney, only pixar movies :)

it really does make you think that couples in situations like the one you posted, probably needed a lot more talks prior to 'the big question'. I love that you two just consider ti a formality and that you would have said yes and I think that is very romantic by itself. That confidence in love

SG to SP said...

I've always wonder about why someone would turn down a proposal b/c you would assume the guy wouldn't ask if he didn't know for sure she would say yes.

My husband and I talked about getting married and looked at rings but I was still totally surprised when it happened. I had no idea he had actually bought a ring and thought he would wait until around my birthday.

Ms. Bunny said...

I agree that most folks really should talk about it. It doesn't take away the romance in the least bit in my opinion.

But one of my good friends was proposed to out of the blue and they are definitely happily engaged, so nothing is a perfect fit for everyone. Do what works for you is my motto.

Nicole-Lynn said...

It's a shame more couples don't openly talk abaout being married or when to expect a proposal (kinda). I wasn't completely surprised.. although it did surprise me. I had a very 'fairytale' proposal and it was a dream, but at the same time we discussed it would happen before Christmas (last year) and when we'd get married, etc. He also took me to look at rings to see what I liked and my size a few months prior to proposing.

Anonymous said...

I used to date a guy whom really wanted to get married. I, on the other hand, held many reservations. He talked about it a lot, but I was never interested in the topic. I liked him (at the time) but was never in love with him. The relationship eventually fizzled out due to my lack of interest (i was young and didn't even know what I wanted)

I later found out he had already picked out a ring and was planning a BASKETBALL GAME proposal. So glad that didn't happen, because I definitely wouldn't have said yes. not even to please a crowd.

So that is my example of why someone would say no. The feeling just wasn't mutual, and even though I tried expressing this several times, he never really listened. (I would say something like "I like you and don't want to hurt you, but I'm just not happy like this" and he would hear "I like you")

sorry about the "ex" rant......I just wanted to throw my experience out there!

Amberdawn said...

Sadly I think some people don't think like you. They act out of desperation to save a relationship. He probably thought "no way can she reject me if I do this so publicly."

Adam and I were the same as you: we talked about marriage ahead of time. Adam actually "proposed that he propose over the summer," haha. And we picked out the ring together. I knew which one I was getting, but didn't actually see it with the diamond until the proposal. And like you, I'm perfectly happy that it wasn't a surprise. Either the ring or the question. I wasn't certain what day he'd do it, but I had a hunch that turned out correct. Good thing cause it was a PERFECT time and place, so if hadn't I'd have been disappointed, haha!

One thing I disagree with you on though, it that the woman is submissive during the proposal. And that same video you posted proves that women have the final word; I would say that's pretty powerful ;)

Miss C said...

We had talked about getting married seriously, long before we got engaged. He moved across the world with me, so we had to know.

I knew down to a week timeframe when he was going to do it. He couldn't keep it from me. Kind of strange, but it worked for us.

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