Let me tell you about the proposal of my dreams.
We are somewhere near or on the water. It’s sunset. The man of my dreams — or a reasonable facsimile thereof — takes my hand and gets down on one knee.
With limpid eyes of indeterminate colour, he’ll look straight into my own and say, “Marriage proposals are a sexist and outdated tradition, but it’s clear we want to be together for the long haul. Let’s have an honest conversation about what that might look like for us without bending to societal pressures. Will you do me the honour of splitting a poutine with me?”
As long as the poutine is the real kind, made with squeaky Quebecois cheese curds, and the gravy’s not too spicy, I will say yes. Thus beginning the rest of our lives.
I’m (mostly) kidding, but can’t deny complicated feelings about marriage proposals.
On the one hand, tradition is nice and proposals are romantic. But marriage proposals are also a holdover from an era when women were considered chattel — to be passed from a father’s household to a husband’s. Engagement rings can be traced back to Ancient Rome and signified claiming a woman as property, essentially. (Hands off, Octavius — she’s mine!)
Not to mention, if I had a penny for every woman I’ve known who’s had a birthday dinner, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or romantic vacation end in dashed expectations of an engagement (and a few tears), I could comfortably retire yesterday.
Why are marriage proposals even necessary? Shouldn’t couples decide if and when to get married — together?