Wedding season is upon us, which means a few things: Much of my drug money will go to stays in quaint B&Bs with white tents in the backyard, I will have my annual argument with airport security about whether or not an engraved cake knife is a weapon, and several of my girlfriends will get engaged.
Why? Because nothing makes a couple realize they want to grow old together like watching other people Hoover up all the presents and tax breaks.
I'm kidding, of course! Some of my friends are in committed relationships and really, legitimately want to marry their boyfriends ... SO BAD
. Bad enough that they'll drop hints, make threats and whip up chicken recipes from women's magazines
that border on Wiccan spells.
But not so much that they'll ask for it themselves.
Which, frankly, I don't get. Every year around this time, I read a handful of articles about women proposing, whether offhandedly or elaborately with Jumbotrons / flash mobs / "mangagement rings." These articles are always written like they're about a dog walking on its hind legs. Ladies ... asking dudes
? What's next, marriage by robots
Here at Lemondrop, we recently wrote about a female valedictorian proposing to her boyfriend
during her graduation speech. Despite the fact that the couple had been together for a very long time and this was clearly an accomplished woman doing the asking, some of our commenters were less than charmed.
"I don't care what century we're in," posted a user named "Lech." "[L]et the man propose! If he wants you, he will be very eager to do so." True, Lech is (ostensibly) a guy. But even the lesbian-separatist gila monsters commenting on Jezebel were pretty split when the site posted a poll back in '08.
While most of their readers were "undecided," only 21 percent of women said they would consider proposing to a man, compared to 30 percent who said they'd never consider it.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given that weddings are all about tradition. Who loves tradition more than traditionalists? But even when I asked men and women I consider to be almost dangerously liberal if the woman ought to propose, they all clutched their pearls at once.
"It's THAT sad for the woman to propose?" I mass-emailed.
A work friend sort of summed up the general sentiment of the female response when she replied, "No, not sad, but weird." My high school pal went a step further when she called lady proposals "effed and desperate." (Form an opinion, high school pal!) Even a female friend who's in a gay relationship remarked, "Since I'm the more 'femme' partner, I fully believe that were we to get married, my girlfriend would have to do the asking and ring-buying."
Really? Really, you lunatics?
True, a few of the guys I asked claimed they'd would be "flattered" if a lady proposed, but I have trouble buying that old line. Particularly because one guy admitted that since most guys think the onus is still on them to do the asking, a guy who doesn't probably isn't totally sold on marriage.
The issue at heart seems to be that even the unconventional LIKE the traditionalism of marriage. (OK, people who are unconventional enough to vote for Obama but still believe in state-regulated monogamy, and women who demand equality and respect, but also want a self-programming coffee maker. You know, like Beyoncé.) And tradition dictates that a guy's decision to marry is a hallmark of a man's maturity and a woman's desirability.
In short? If a guy's not proposing, he's either not grown up enough, or you're not good enough.
In my opinion, it's one thing if you're in a committed relationship and marriage isn't important to you. Things become problematic when we still think of a guy's asking us to marry him as proof that we're worthy of being asked. It's that kind of "if you marry me, you validate me" logic that dissuades me from thinking that some women are in it for anything other than the blood diamonds and dangerous cake knives.
Look, I don't know anything about marriage or proposals. I'm a secular humanist with health insurance and ring-non-conducive manhands. And I'm totally happy for / respectful of my girlfriends who do want to lock it down with a dude. I just think they should be able to arrange it in a way that engenders a sense of equality from the get-go, and I'm disturbed by the number of women who are willing to admit that asking a guy to marry you is to sacrifice the litmus test of whether he actually likes you like that
. Shouldn't you kind of know
, a young Lemondrop contributor and born romantic, was unapologetic about her willingness to ask a dude to marry her: "Yes, I would. And f**k no, it's not sad. SERIOUSLY, 2010!"
Lo, I sincerely hope you're the future.
Think you can have a double standard for marriage proposals and still be a feminist? Explain your nutty logic in the comments.
More Untraditional Marriage Views on Lemondrop:
+ A Break With Tradition -- I Didn't Want My Dad to Give Me Away
+ "I Got Pregnant While I Was Engaged"
+ Why I Vote We Abolish "Husband" and "Wife"