All you gotta do is say “yes!”

Loving you is a like a song I replay
Every three minutes and thirty seconds of every day
And every chorus was written for us to recite
Every beautiful melody of devotion every night
This potion might, this ocean might carry me
In a wave of emotion to ask you to marry me
— Lauryn Hill “Turn Your Lights Down Low

I don’t know why I was surprised.

I turned on my bedroom TV Saturday night and the channel was on the WE Network. WE would be the home of shows like Amazing Wedding Cakes, Bridezillas, My Fair Wedding, Platinum Weddings, Rich Bride Poor Bride, Wedding Central, and Funniest Wedding Outtakes—see a theme here? So they’ve added a new show, a special really, called Surprise Wedding.

The premise of the show is as follows:

Five men who are in long-term relationships and just haven’t committed to marriage are given a big surprise—[in front of a live audience]— when their girlfriends propose to them on national television. Given a chance to marry their fiances, the potential grooms discuss their choice with friends and family. The program ends with the wedding ceremonies of the couples who have chosen to marry.

Really?

I’ve always had an issue with proposals. It’s supposed to be this hugely romantic moment and the guy—typically—springs a ring on you and right there in the moment you have to decide “yes” or ”no” to a decision that will affect the rest of your life. So often it’s done in public that it just seems wrong to say the practical answer, which is something like “Can I think about it for a week?”, and embarrass the man you (likely) love in front of friends and family or possibly hundreds or thousands of strangers. I mean. he’s not asking you to spend tomorrow with him. He’s asking for forever. That’s a mighty long time. You need to think on that. I guess you can always break it off later if you say yes, but that just seems like bad communication all the way around.

I’m slightly mortified by the premise of the show … and I keep watching to see what a train wreck it’s going to become.

The announcer makes it sound even worse than it initially seemed. All the women were “tired of waiting” on proposals from boyfriends who said, “I’d rather be buried than married” (ie, I don’t want o get married) or “I want to live together but not as husband and wife” (ie, I don’t want a real commitment.) Bottomline: their men would either “marry them tonight on this stage or leave them at the altar.” (Why any woman would possibly subject herself to being left at the altar baffles me.) He spoke of the women “forc[ing] their boyfriends to make a commitment” and “lur[ing]” them to the show. (BTW: the guys all thought they were there to witness their girlfriends’ makeover.) The host ended his opening monologue describing the premise of the show as a man’s “worst nightmare” since he would have to chose on the spot whether to make a lifelong commitment”. “On the spot” and “lifelong commitment” should never be in the same sentence.

By then I was appalled. All I could think was “these women have lost their minds!”

I’d say call me “old-fashioned” because there’s no way in hell I would ask a man to marry me. But after a little research, I discovered women popping the question isn’t new at all. There’s actually an old English tradition of women asking a man for forever-ever that dates back to 5th Century Ireland. According to legend, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. St. Patrick’s solution was that women could propose on Feb. 29th during the Leap Year. Ever since, Feb. 29th has been known as Leap Day and tons of women have asked their boo to jump the broom.

Really?

The whole thing sounds desperate to me. I mean, if he wanted to marry, he would ask, right? And are women really supporting this idea en masse?

Turns out, I’m narrow-minded. Gawker.com did a poll last in 2011 with the query asking, “Would You Ask A Man to Marry You?”

Yes: 20%
No: 31.3%
Maybe: 38%
Already Did: 11%

I read through the comments and found some interesting POVs from the female respondents:

*I think, in my opinion that most men would not know how to handle it. On the other hand, many men may feel like the pressure is released if their girlfriend initiated the proposal of marriage.

*If he doesn’t bring it up then he isn’t thinking about it and more than likely isn’t ready.

*The days when a man had to ask a woman were when the man had to be able to independently provide for his wife/family for the rest of his/their life. So he got to decide when that time was. Now that women don’t need a provider, it should be a decision based on mutual readiness and desire. Why should the dude get to decide?
I wondered if Black men would go for this. You know how so many of them can be when it comes to women emasculating them and I could see being proposed to as a quick way to send them bailing. So I asked a bunch of them. Turns out, the surprise angle of the show threw everyone off, but the general idea of a woman proposing? No one objected or felt robbed of their masculinity. In fact, if it was asked by a woman they loved, the answer might just be yes. (Though one said he’d have to initially decline, citing a need to ask her father for permission first (FTR: that was B.) Just because the couple are new school does not mean her parents are.)

I watched Surprise Wedding all the way through. 5 out of 5 men said yes and by the end of the show all of those single ladies had more than just a ring on it, they had a huzzz-band.

Hmmm. Maybe more women should just go ahead and ask him already?

What say you, Cammies?

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27 responses to “All you gotta do is say “yes!”

  1. I think you can put a time on courtship, because we all have a time on us, who knows what tomorrow will bring. I believe in Heaven and all, but in this life there is no forever,and youth is fleeting. The older you get the less time you want to spend (waste) dating someone you are not going to marry. You can date someone for 2 years and then break up when your like 18, but when you’re 30, that’s a different story. If it’s been a year and you’re not sure at 30, to me that’s a sign that maybe it’s time to see what other fish are in the sea. Adults should be at a certain place and stage in their lives at that time, where they are more clear about what they want. Usually when you are dating for a long period of time it’s because one of the people just simply don’t want to get married, or more specifically don’t want to marry you. However, at that age there are some social advantages as far as how others view you to being coupled up, some are afraid to be alone–and there’s also just settling.

    As far as proposing to a man is concernd, that’s just not for me–there’s a couple of reasons. If he says no, I wouldn’t want to have wasted my time and energy proposing to a man who didn’t want to marry me. I would be sorry that I asked, and sorry that I wanted to marry a man who didn’t want to marry me. If he says yes, I don’t think I would want to marry a man who wanted to marry me, but for whatever reason didn’t have the balls or good sense to ask me. I like a man who knows how to take initiative, who sees what he wants and goes after it.

    I think sometimes this women’s lib stuff can go too far. I’m all for equal pay for equal work, but damnit I want my future husband to have first been on bended knee.

  2. I proposed to my husband of 7 years. We had only been together for 3 months when I new. I’m spontaneous though and generally like to act on impulse. I have pretty good instincts too. He was happier than I would have been LOL.
    I also enjoy having individual thought and making decisions based upon my own emotional drives and less on the expectations of others opinions of what’s deemed acceptable.
    Life is often more enjoyable that way. Not to mention, there is no real justification for women not to propose if that is how they feel. ‘Tradition’ in every sense of the word is in the eye of the conformed. Nowadays, women propose to women and men propose to men -wherever it’s legal. I believe a woman should never propose about as much as I believe women belong in their ‘place’. Likewise, my husband is no less of a man because I beat him to the punch, in fact he saved himself a couple grand.
    As for that TV Show, I agree that a proposal should be privately shared. But again, the traipsing of social intercourse is more remunerative than it is responsible. Reality TV yet again ruins reality..

  3. I started watching the show and was extremely nervous for the ladies. I listened to the announcer give the rules then I turned. I have bad anxiety. I also am emotionally attached to everything and everyone’s feelings. I couldn’t bear the thought of being turned down on national TV by a man that you love so much that you are debunking norms and proposing. Too much.

    I am happy to read hear that they all said yes. EXHALING . . . .

    I’m a modern girl w/old fashioned sensibilities like @1:18PM.

    I don’t think I could propose but that’s because I believe that He who finds a woman finds a good thing. I also believe in my heart that men do what they want to do. If they don’t want to marry you they will make excuses. If they marry you when they really don’t want to the marriage will have even more challenges if the man at least married you because he wanted to. Now, they may not want to marry you for some valid reasons that may change when circs change (i.e. after asking a parent). But for men like your homeboy B, I imagine that if he wanted to marry a woman he would already ask the father and his girl likely wouldn’t wind up having to go out on a limb and propose to him.

    I can imagine a number of those dudes marrying those ladies because they didnn’t want to say no in front of all those people and really hurt the woman that they love feelings. I just want a man to KNOW that he cannot live the rest of his life without me by his side as his wife. My fear is that otherwise, I’ll be convincing him to stay for the rest of my life.

  4. hmmm… i personally can appreciate the thought of being proposed to, it kinda takes the pressure off. Some people will only make a decision when they have to… if there are plenty of eligible women who are on the same level, it may be very difficult to “choo choo choose” one.

    Sometimes a catalyst is needed, kinda like when a guy decides to marry his girlfriend because she got pregnant or “We ain’t gettin no younger we might as well do it…” No its not traditional , or romantic… but havent we determined that marriage is more of a business relationship than a personal one?

    Also if we have deduced that there are a “shortage” of eligible black men (unless you want to date down) whats wrong with taking matters in to your own hands to determine if the relationship should continue?

  5. As far as timelines go, I think people should have them. With marriage and forever-ever, both people are GOING to change over that time period. And those changes will be caused and affected by various events in your life that no one can predict. So I don’t think 1.5 years is too short to figure out if you want to spend forever with someone. 6 months or 1 month might be enough for some people to figure out if the person has the absolute necessities as far as character goes. Dating someone for 8 years isn’t going to give you a better indication of how they’ll treat you in 30 years, since you don’t know what trials you’ll both go through in that time.

  6. I’m torn. If I feel like I HAVE to do it to get married, as in he’s hesitating and stalling, then its not worth it.

    If its just that I’m so blown away and in love, and I have in my head a perfectly romantic way to do it, then I’d do it.

    It won’t be a “Surprise!” thing, though. If we’ve been kicking it around a year or so; or better yet, you’ve met all my people and I’ve met all yours (multiple times) and everythings cool, then the topic would have been breached already and a serious discussion about marriage would have already taken place.

  7. @CamronZoe

    You already KNOW my issue…can you put a time on when?

    Yes, you can, and I think thats a healthy thing to do. We all have a timeline in our head, weather we want to admit it or not.

    If you and your S.O. arent on the same path, why keep putting time into the relationship when you could be moving on?

  8. These females clearly didn’t get 20 pages into “He’s Just Not That Into You” or didn’t listen to Beyonce’s “Put A Ring On It” …

    I don’t have a major problem with it. It just that if he’s hesitant and you know it, why would you force a proposal on him?

  9. I’m perplexed really. I mean, our traditional social constructs are evolving, such as, woman can ask men out on dates and pay for them, so why can’t a woman ask a man to marry her?

    However, other social constructs are staying the same, women should take care of the home, etc. So I don’t know…I’d like a playbook to learn which traditions are outdated and which ones aren’t.

  10. CamronZoe, I think the older people get SOMETIMES it can be quicker for you to recognize how long you’re willing to “stick around” in a relationship. I have a friend who is 26 and has been with her boyfriend for EIGHT years. Most people question why they aren’t married yet. But in my eyes, they’ve been together asa just shorties so there really shouldn’t be a thought of marriage so young. But that goes into something else about whether there’s an age that’s “too young” to be thinking about marriage.

    I do believe though that the older we get (later 20s and older), especially for women, sometimes we start to get those thougts of “Okay DAMN…we been together 2+ years – are we going to consider marriage?” I’ll be 29 on Sunday and couldn’t see myself just dating someone for 5 years.

  11. I don’t think there is a problem with bringing up marriage as a woman. I really don’t understand when proposals are a complete shock. I feel like a discussion of long term goals, marriage, kids, etc. should be had long before a ring is introduced. However, I will not be getting down on one knee and proposing to a man. “Taking the pressure off of him,” is giving him the ability to punk out. But apparently, for some people, it works.

  12. Well if we have been together more than 1.5 years and at the mark he can’t decide that he wants to be with me…then I’m outta there. I will never result to proposing to a man. NEVER.

  13. I’m going to keep it traditional and say no. I will ask the woman to marry me. I do not like the idea of men saying it is too much pressure. What pressure? If she says no, gather yourself and move on.
    I know first hand of a situation where an older man has proposed to a woman twice with her declining. He loves her, so he isn’t going anywhere: he told her the next time was on her though.
    I am annoyed at these new age women bending gender roles to suit themselves. If your tired of waiting, then end it and move on. That man will make his own decision-to be with you or not.
    That show shows how many people are being married, but there are no statistics on how many of these marriages last or continue.

  14. IDK about this one. I tend to think along the lines as one of the commenter’s: if he hasn’t asked he doesn’t want to marry you. I can get with the new wave on some of the relationship stuff, but I think this one is best left to tradition.

  15. no no no. That’s emasculating to the max! I think that’s disrespectful to be honest. Yes, DISRESPECTFUL. Its a new day and age but some shit doesn’t change.

  16. It shouldn’t come down to a woman feeling like she has to “take matters into her own hands.” Assuming communication is pretty good, there should be a decent feel for where the relationship is headed. But, I’m throwing my hat on the side that says that proposal is done by the would-be husband. Honestly, what’s next? The bride carrying the groom over the threshold??

  17. Nope. Couldn’t do it. I don’t care that this is 2011, or the fact that I’m as independent as they get. At the end of the day, I have traditional values and if the man hasn’t asked to marry me and we have been in a committed relationship for a couple of years then either it’s not time or we need to rethink the relationship. I will put up a picture, I may learn how to change a tire, but I will NOT ask a man to marry me.

  18. Sigh, the more I read this blog the more conservative I feel. And anyone that knows me knows that I’m anything but conservative. But seriously, don’t give me that “caught up on gender roles” crap. Too many women play up that gender role crap as an excuse to do what they want to do and or control the direction of a 2 person ship to suit themselves. But even in the event that I would marry the girl I say no to this idea. I’d DEFINITELY be creeped out (notice I said nothing involving the term emasculated) by such aggressive and non-romantic behavior. Seriously, do these women like wearing straps and switching roles in the bedrooms too? What is the world coming to?

  19. My bf has said that he’d feel relieved if a woman proposed to him. He wouldn’t have to worry about the perfect way to ask her or suffer the nervousness that comes with wondering if she’ll say yes or no, as he says he couldn’t recover (not for a while, if she said no)… he really doesn’t want to be the one to ask. Too much pressure lol

    I will not be the one to ask a man to marry me. I’m old fashion. I’m all for him getting permission from my father and then asking me. I’m not to big on the get down on one knee thing though.

  20. Cindy, I saw the show and was DISGUSTED, to put it lightly. Why you would put this man on tv to propose to him when he said he’d rather be “dead than buried” is beyond me. OH MY GOSH, but when the woman got on her knees when he got to the “altar” and basically started begging him to marry her, I thought I was going to throw my tv. My thing is, four of the five women hadn’t even been with their men for two years yet so why were they “tried of waiting?” I’m getting upset all over again.

    The final moment of disgust was when I sat there for two hours watching the show…only for all the men to say YES. I mean, NO shock value?! What a dman waste.

    And NO, I could never and would NEVER propose to my man. Mark that on this day in Black History. LOL!

  21. I wouldn’t propose but that’s just because I’m not that type of gal. I dont ask for numbers, I dont ask guys out on dates, I don’t call first. I just..don’t.

    But the sentiments throughout the comments make it seem that women shouldn’t ask because men should have all of the power in the relationship. If he hasn’t asked, then she needs to move on? Really? I don’t know about that. I know a few men who have been proposed to be women, who immediately said “yes” and loved the fact that their SO was assertive in that aspect. I think it really depends on the two people in the relationship. I don’t see anything wrong with a woman taking things into her own hands for the sake of her own future. And if he says “no”, then she knows to keep it moving.

    By the way, that particular show sounds ridiculous, but I love me some “Bridezillas” lol

  22. I say if you feel it’s time…ASK!

    Why not? I do not believe it is emasculating; it would only be so if throughout the relationship the woman has been emasculating, so the act of springing a proposal may be viewed as such.

    But if all has been gravy, and both of you are on the same wave lenghth (i.e not hung up on gender roles) then it should be well.

    I just think it’s pretty straightforward no matter who asks first. It’s the answer that matters.

  23. I could do it. My ex-fiance proposed to me the first time around. It didn’t work out because we were too young (I am currently 22). But the next time we both decided it would be on me. I think it will be fun AND I can show him how its done. lol.

  24. I wouldn’t propose either. He’s gotta do some of the work! If a guy is too lazy or indecisive to propose to me–time to move on. More power to the women that do it though.

  25. I’m a modern woman with old fashioned sensibilities so I wouldn’t do the proposing of marriage. But more power to any woman who wants to do it!!

    Who gets the ring though?!?! LOL

    P.S. to the guy that would have to say no at first so he could ask his girl’s parent..awww how sweet!

  26. I don’t mind proposing to the guy. If he declines , so be it. My mother was the one who proposed to Dad, and they’ve been married 33 years. I’ll propose.. yes, I will.

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