Proposals

“I love when there’s a story!” a friend said, upon hearing that another friend is engaged to her first, last, but not only date.

And it’s true. Everyone loves when there’s a story. “So, how did he propose?” In a restaurant over a candlelit dinner? In a park under a blooming cherry tree? On the megatron at a Yankees game? Or at terminal velocity 12,000 feet above earth? With a dozen roses? With a diamond ring? With a robotic dinosaur? With a dance troupe as backup?

Whether it’s classic or modern, whether the first hormone inspired is oxytocin or adrenaline, something as life-changing as a proposal, we feel, ought to take more than a sentence to describe. Not that I have ever met an NEF capable of describing their proposal, however mundane it may be, in one sentence. “So we were in Pizza Time. And I sort of was expecting something, you know? But he was so casual about it…”

MF#8 once vociferously disagreed with the idea of a big proposal. She seemed to be saying that the guy just feels compelled to keep up with his friends and provide the girl with a Story, while the girl takes it as an overwhelming expression of love and adoration and might inadvisably accept when she shouldn’t.

I read somewhere that while almost all megatron proposals are accepted on the spot (the whole stadium is watching), many acceptances are recanted after in private. So I’m not really worried about women being influenced in their acceptance by the presence of a brass marching band (or a monkey grinding an organ). I do agree, though, that a proposal shouldn’t be big for sake of being big. It is capital-L Lame to start the most important consensual relationship of your life with something calculated mostly to impress your friends.

After all, a Story doesn’t have to include things physically large and acoustically bold. There is the classically understated option.  My sister-in-law was quite fond of relating how Best4 proposed to her. If I recall correctly, he looked at her and said, “Shall we?” to which she replied, “Sure, why not.” Now there, you see, is a proposal highlighting how very in-tune they already were with each other. When guys say “Shall we?” to me, they generally mean “May I take you home now?” not “May I marry you.” Yet somehow she understood his meaning. Isn’t that sweet? (Unless she didn’t, and was just too embarrassed to back out after…)

Dipping into the backlog, I find surprisingly few posts about proposals. I mean, this is a blog about aspiring to proposals. You’d think they’d get more coverage. But here you go: all I’ve ever written on proposals.

You Will Marry Me?

I was yapping it up with a friend bright and early one morning when she claimed that she’d marry the first guy who was willing to marry her.

I’m sure it was meant to sound shocking, and all that, but when you think about it, not really. I mean, at this point, I’d probably do that too. No guy is going to propose before the fourth date, and hopefully by that point I’ll have weeded out the Definitely Nots and be left with the Eh, Why Not?s. So we’re not in bad shape already.

(I assume we’re excluding street-corner proposals, Purim proposals, and similar whoa-what-was-thats.)

It’s quite flattering to be proposed to. Especially when you’ve got reams of guys who refused to look at you a second or third time.

“Wait, you want to marry me? [pinch self] Are you sure? Ohmigosh, can’t believe it. Can you repeat the question? [rummage through purse and pull out q-tip] give me a sec…[disappear into bathroom to squeal while jumping up and down] [deep breath, pat hair, exit]  Now, just to confirm, can you say it again? With my full name?”

I mean, seriously! Somebody who wants to marry me? Get the ring first, ask questions later!

Okay, maybe not all questions.

There was one fellow I dated I knew wasn’t quite a match. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why he was still agreeing to go out. Could it be he didn’t care? And if he didn’t care, did it matter? Didn’t I care? But then how many don’t-care-during-dating people turn out to be perfect tyrants afterward? I was puzzled, so we went out again.

I suppose, in theory, we could have kept going for a S7D (Standard 7 Dates) until he proposed, but luckily we cleared up a few misapprehensions and broke up shortly after.

So it couldn’t be a cold proposal. We’d have to know something about each other beforehand. But gosh yes! Who’s going to be picky about proposals? It’s not like they’re all that common! It must mean… he likes you. Seems like a very promising start to me.

Unconditional Acceptance

While skimming the Pink Book, a friend came across a piece of advice so profound that it ought to be the results of a multi-million dollar government funded study. The advice was, “Accept a proposal unconditionally.”

I guess what she meant was that it shouldn’t be something like “I’ll marry you if you stop smoking” because that’s bound to cause strife, but it got everyone thinking about conditional acceptances to proposals.

“My friend is happily married and has three kids, and her acceptance was conditional,” said the friend. “She said she’d marry him if he took care of all the bills and stuff.”

“My friend also had a condition,” threw in another friend. “She said she’d marry him as long as he was ok with eating burnt food.”

I don’t know if it counts as a condition, but I do know that my mother’s response was something like, “Are you sure?” because she wanted to make sure my father knew what he was getting into.This is a very smart move for anyone who enjoys saying “I told you so.”

Of course, some people enable the proposal to be unconditional by covering all ground beforehand. One friend made sure to list all her worst faults and shortcomings when she suspected a proposal was forthcoming, so he’d be forewarned. After all, she liked him, and didn’t want him to be miserable. Isn’t that sweet?

Look at This…

Shuttle just directed me to some posts on this blog which made me laugh.

Here’s one (comparing Parshas Chayei Sarah to the shidduch parsha) and here’s another (about the difficulty of finding a wife) and here’s a third (mostly about dating out of yeshiva).

And while we’re at it, LWY has been double-dating… tsk.

Michelle has three posts on shidduchim in a row:

This one about racking up shidduch points

This one about keeping track of past dates (I do, ever since I realized I’d lost count of how many people I’d gone out with.)

And this one about proposals

Happy reading.

And the Moral of the Story Is…

 

There’s something to be learned from every date.

One of my dates had a hole in his coat. Not a big deal – he probably just didn’t notice it – but it did make me wonder if I’d put too much effort into primping. A week later the hole was still there. While it’s nice to know that he’s beyond the obsessive mirror-checking stage, it doesn’t make a gal feel very important. Note to self: always be well turned out, no matter how jaded you are.

Sometimes it’s the opposite. Like thinking, “Wow, he’s a real gentleman. Why am I not nearly so much a lady?” Heck, it wouldn’t kill me to be a drop more courteous, would it? Excellent manners are never out of place.

With a little more dating, I might just become properly civilized.

Of course, there are some dates where the lesson is a bit ambiguous. Like the date where the guy borrowed his friend’s car. The friend was about to close a very serious dating chapter the happy way—with a proposal. Well, the car-borrowing guy opened the door and let his date clamber in, and then strolled around to his end to do the driving. Meanwhile, the nervous girl decided to double check her makeup or hair in the visor mirror. She flipped it down, and down tumbled an artistic sign that read, “Will you marry me?”

The only moral I can come up with is, “Always double check that he means you before you say ‘yes.’”

PS: she married him, but only after many more dates.

Then there’s the friend whose date took her to a hotel with a too-noisy lounge. They found a quiet table in the hall, where he proceeded to raconteur non-stop. She tried to get a few questions in edgewise (“where do you daven, when do you learn”) but he dismissed them all as nonessential and continued with his fun stories. (She did get a handful of answers: apparently he davened occasionally when his friend came over.) Then suddenly the lights went out. A minute later, they came back on, but her date was gone. At this point, I would have jumped up and shouted “Mr. Black&White in the lounge with the candlestick!” but she just flipped open her cell phone and said, “Ma, can you come get me?”

“Where are you?” asked her mother.

“I don’t know.”

And then it was too late; her date appeared around the corner and said he’d gone “to find out what happened.” She was not impressed.

The moral of the story is, “always know where your date is taking you—you might have to find your way back.” Or maybe it’s “Don’t disappear in a blackout without telling your date where you’re going—or that you’re going at all.”

PS: She didn’t marry him.

Course, in shidduchim, you can learn from more than just the dates. Take the guy who returned from a frustrating session with an “I know better than you” shadchan. Went to sleep in a foul mood and woke up the next morning to find that he’d ground off a tooth cap. Moral of the story: shadchanim are bad for your teeth.