Popping the Question

Popping the Question

In keeping with today's "Plug Maggie's Farm" theme, here's an article they linked this morning about the stubborn persistence of gender roles in the ancient ritual of the marriage proposal. As usual, I intrude my personal counter-experience: neither of us can remember how it was that we decided to get married, back in the Cretaceous. At some point, it just seemed that we were setting a date and informing the families. The NPH claims it was my idea, while I remember its being his.

The author of the linked article notes, nevertheless, that even in this gender-equalized, de-ritualized culture, one thing we never, ever witness is the woman getting down on bended knee. If there is a distinct proposal at all, it is the man who presents it. There does seem to be pressure to re-invent the ritual to show more verve:

Men who prefer a more intimate approach still must find a way to demonstrate wit and intelligence, qualities that are also good predictors of success in today's world. One author who achieved brief internet fame proposed to his girlfriend by asking for her hand in the preface of his latest book. It was a cunning trick, simultaneously showing off his impressive status for his beloved and letting him find out whether she actually reads his stuff.

. . . Some readers will doubtless rue the tired gender rules and status displays that define the contemporary proposal. But growing up in a culture whose idea of asking for a date is a midnight text message asking "u free?" a young man doesn't face many opportunities to demonstrate manly initiative in the romance department.

Speaking of manly initiative, you cain't hardly beat a Valentine's Morning presentation of my favorite almond chocolate bark shipped in from a little store in Houston. Way to improve my mood all week long! Better than roses any day.

In light of our recent discussions, I was amused to note that I didn't get past the first dozen comments in the linked article before the talk veered into the familiar territory of how terrible marriage was for men these days. Why do they pop the question, anyway?

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