As per previous post, and because when I procrastinate I look at Facebook’s horribly awareness-raising “what’s trending” articles, I’d like to express my opinion on marriage proposals, and who’s asking who.
I don’t read the Daily Mail. But this is the article which my procrastination led me to read.
I will not comment on the absolute crassness of the exchange that originated in this woman’s (Katie Hopkins) attack. I mean really, what a way to make a living. But anyhow.
This woman Katie Hopkins made the point that no woman wants to have to propose, she wants to be proposed to.
Now, she was so crass in making that point and these being the times they are, which is, we are equal human beings, the immediate instinct is to dismiss her crass accusations and points as stupid and old-fashioned at best.
There is a point to what she says though.
I pretty much demanded for my now husband to propose to me. At that time in our relationship, my two children already in his care, and a new baby on the way, I needed, I wanted him to propose to me. Hints and wink-winks were, as always, lost on him. So I got to the stage where I burst out almost crying saying he should have done it by then. He said to me at the time he didn’t think I would care about such an institution, which was old fashioned and what have you (me being so unconventional in everything and so on). I had to explain to him that, because I was so unconventional I needed to know he at least intended on sticking with me for good.
I needed to know he loved me completely, and not just ’cause he thought I was free and cute and cool. I needed to know he loved my by-now-famous bad sides too. Also, I needed to know he needed to feel he’d got me forever.
I also had to push him to try and be romantic.
It just so happened that in the same few days I was watching Parks and Recreations, during which someone was thinking of proposing to someone. He was thinking of doing it publicly, which fortunately didn’t happen because wow, what if she had said no?
In Parks and Recreation, the someone advising the guy who wants to propose asks him what he had planned for the question-asking occasion, because she (his hopefully-soon-to-become-fiancée) would have to tell the story her whole life.
She was right.
Part of the need to have a bit of a fuss laid on you is due to your telling people later that was fuss was made of you. I had a boyfriend once that parachuted himself in my back garden (well, that was the intention, it turned out he’d miscalculated and landed in my front garden instead, which meant he had to knock on my door, parachute and all, and a little embarrassed). Then he drove me to a small airport and took me for a weekend at the beach, which we got to by flying in a small plane he’d hired (he was training to be a pilot). I mean, that was COOL. I didn’t love him as much as I love my present husband, but it is cool to think someone did that for me once. I’ll always be grateful.
Of course, as you grow older you learn that men way too often do that sort of thing mainly to gratify themselves, to tell themselves they have done something amazing for the woman. But I like to think M. meant really well when he did that. He certainly made me feel super special and wanted and worth it, at the time. But I digress.
I have to admit I can’t remember what my present husband did to ask me to marry him. Of course whatever it was was ruined already by the fact that I had asked him to ask me, so there wasn’t much he could do, I guess, to remedy that.
Then I had to explain to him why I also needed a ring. This time I didn’t say much: I thought at least for this let us give him the initiative. I just explained that a ring was needed to symbolise the promise is a firm one.
He went through a lot of trouble to get me a ring. Meaning he searched google a lot for inspiration and then ordered it online. Consider we didn’t have much money at all. But still. Of all the rings he could have chosen, bless him, he chose a puzzle ring.
Like this one:
No doubt thinking how I loved Oriental silverwork and silver in general, he got me a ring which of course, me being me, fell fairly soon off my finger, and unravelled. We both tried but couldn’t get it back together. I was distraught.
How could he have gotten me a ring that was so easily unravelled and ruined to symbolise an eternal, solid promise? How did that even make sense in his head? But I said nothing. He bought me another ring. Another puzzle ring.
I had to tell him at that point: My dear. The point of a ring and the reason why it has become traditional to have diamonds or a very precious rock is that: a) You are declaring that the person you are proposing to is worth the investment b) The rock has to be at least as solid and strong as your intention and c) If the engagement falls through and you fail, at least I have a ring to sell.
This may seem very materialistic to some people but hello, marriage is all about (or greatly about) a very healthy materialism. But more on that later.
He then proceeded to get me a small and very beautiful diamond ring. I was happy with it, but boy did this whole process take a long time.
That was one element. Why did I need him to ask me and why, if it was important to me, did I just not propose to him? Because he was the one with he job, I didn’t have a secure one. Because I was the fragile mentally eruptive woman who might at any time become mentally incapacitated, and he is a solid, very confident man. I was the needy, emotional, passionate, insecure and traumatised one. He was the one who always had the answers and who gave me stability, protection and love. It was his job to ask me, not because I was the woman and he the man, but because I was the one asking him to promise to be the solid security giver who would look after me and our children. Had I been a rich business owner and he a freelancing artist, had I been the happily single woman who decided to take in a hippy-type man with two sons from a previous marriage, it would have been me to ask.
There is then the emotional aspect, simply put. When my friendly acquaintance showed me the beautiful engagement ring her partner, now fiancée, had given her, I was a little taken aback. Not because they were two women, of course, but because of the two, I honestly though she, let’s call her Alex, appeared to be the “masculine” in that relationship. Of course I know many relationships, both hetero and homo, were both elements seem to be indistinguishable from a masculine-feminine scenario. But after a while, you do tend to see that division. It creates balance and, I believe, harmony to have one partner who is the strongest in some respects and one who is stronger in others. One who is the provider and the other who is the carer. It is of course not necessarily, not even in the hetero scenario, the woman who is the carer and the man who is the provider. In my family alone I have an example of the woman being the provider (regardless of job divisions and health statuses, it was always going to be that way) and the man being the emotional carer. The blurriest cases, I have found, rarely survive the test of time. The whole point of being a couple rather than gloriously single or friends with benefits is that where you are weak the other is strong, and vice-versa. Otherwise what is the point of giving up your freedom to a monogamous relationship?
Anyhow. So, my friendly acquaintance surprised me slightly when it appeared that her girlfriend had proposed to her. And getting to know her a little bit better I knew there was a great element of risk there. Her girlfriend, let’s call her Lucy, by proposing to the much more independent minded, adventurous and proud Alex, was taking quite a few risks. I think they’re supercool women so I hope it works out for them.
So, in this Danny Dyer case (I really honestly have no clue who these people even are), a quick glimpse at their life and I see they have been an item since teenage years and have got quite a few kids together. I think (I didn’t look into it that long) that the main earner in the family is this Danny Dyer. If that’s the case, then yes, I reluctantly have to agree with Ms Hopkins and say that perhaps, Mr Dyer, you should have popped the question yourself.
And now I am exhausted and will make myself a coffee.
Just to finish things off, my husband really made up for his initial clumsiness not only with his humongous patience through the whole wedding ordeal, but also by designing an incredibly beautiful bouquet (he is a professional artist):
and by being the best husband in the world. Mua’. (That’s an Italian onomatopoeic word meant to remind you of a kiss).
P.S. When the two are completely and utterly balanced; same earnings (woo-hoo!), the one to propose should be the emotionally stronger person, or rather, the most insecure should be prosed to. If both are super happy confident high earners, then they could just say hey!let’s get married! But then again such incredibly well organised people would probably decide it at the breakfast tale for tax/financial reasons.