Recently there was the dude dressed in a giant broccoli costume who got down on one knee at the minor league baseball game. (Come on, if you're going to propose on the Jumbotron, at least choose the majors.)

Then there was Mike from Austin, whose proposal fail took place on live TV. Or this guy, who got slapped upside the head -- before she ran away -- after he popped the question at a hockey game.

You get the point.

It seems, come summer, that we hear about one over-the-top proposal after another, with men professing their very private intentions in a staggering array of public places.

For Libby Cooksey, it was an especially fishy situation: Her boyfriend popped the question at Red Lobster. In front of 25 members of his family -- mom, dad, sister, brother -- and their families. Not to mention the grandparents.

Better yet, he jumped up on the table, dragged her up with him, then got down on one knee.

"I wasn't expecting that at all," says Libby. "I was mortified. I felt like I was under a microscope, and I had to say yes."

So she did -- at least in the moment.

Then, as soon as she escaped the smell of deep-fried scrutiny, Libby, right, reversed her decision.

And that, as any girl will tell you, is the whole reason a proposal -- which, after all, is a lifetime agreement between the two of you -- should not be for public consumption.

Just ask Audrey Synn, 20, whose friend Andrew got the bright idea to propose to his girlfriend on the radio.

"He went on there on Valentine's Day," she says, "and the station had the DJ call his girlfriend at work. 'This lady is going to be totally enthralled,' the DJ told him."

So Andrew went in for the kill.

"Diana*, I love you so much. We've been together for three months, but it seems like forever, will you marry me?" he asked over the airwaves.

Only her answer wasn't exactly the eager yes he'd been expecting.

"She completely shot him down," recalls Audrey. "She yelled at him, and said, wait, what are you asking me? I'm not going to marry you! All the people at the radio station were laughing. Andrew started crying."

Got that, dudes? Andrew. Started. Crying. In mere seconds, he'd gone from romantic hopeful to lower than soap-on-a-rope. But it didn't have to be that way.
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See, the thing is, many** women dream of being proposed to. And those women like to imagine all the romantic ways it might play out. Maybe you'll stare deep into her eyes, and lasso the moon, Jimmy Stewart–style, or maybe you'll ask, as the now-fiance of my good friend did, while rewatching "Yes Man," the first movie they ever saw together. (Smart dude: In that movie, there's only one right answer to any question.)

The point is, it's a Choose Her Own Adventure, depending on the woman who's doing the imagining. But no matter whom you fall head over heels for, we guarantee she never wanted a proposal involving the Seafood Lover's Special, your snot-nosed cousins, or some screwball morning DJ.

And there are reasons for this.

First, she is utterly unprepared. Unless she's the scary type who likes to issue ultimatums, it won't matter if you've psyched yourself up, practiced in front of the mirror, and carried that ring around in your pocket like it was your Pet Rock -- she has no idea you're going to ask her to marry you. So, springing the question on her cold, in front of countless strangers, might yield results you won't like.

Second, she likes to believe that you know her intimately -- and no, we're not talking the carnal sense. We mean that you know, after all this time, how she takes her coffee, whether she likes to sleep with her socks off or on, and what her all-time favorite movie is. Pay close attention to that last one, guys, because no matter how deeply you loathe it, and even if she doesn't realize it, she is hoping that when she finally meets the man of her dreams, and he professes his intentions, he'll recreate a scene that's like something straight out of that.

Personally -- and kindly suspend judgment for a second -- I've always had a thing for swashbuckling adventures set in deserts. In college, I had a shameful crush on "The English Patient." Yes, I know -- all three-and-a-half hours of it. And no, there's no explaining what women want, but I wanted to be Kristin Scott Thomas, even -- especially -- when she died alone in her khakis on the floor of that cave.

My now-husband came along well after Ralph Fiennes' do-able days, but somehow, when the time came, he managed to choose a mountaintop in the Middle East, with nothing but sand, sun and a vicious desert wind, which required him to get down on both knees -- so he didn't blow off.

Once I figured out what he was doing, I most definitely said yes. And the fact that we were the only two people on the whole Earth who heard me say it was great by me.

Now, you might be saying, "That's my point exactly -- NO ONE KNEW. I want to do it in front of friends and family! I want to celebrate with all the people who love us!" And that, I say, is what engagement parties are for.

As sweet as it is that you've found the woman for you, when you decide to take it upon yourself and propose in public, you make it -- even if you don't mean to -- all about your ego.

But perhaps Libby, who lived through it, after all, put it best: "Please don't put your lady through this," she says. "It's best to propose privately first and, once you know she's going to say yes, then celebrate with family and friends."


* name has been changed to protect the escapee
** not all. Certainly not all. Definitely not anyone on staff at Lemondrop.


If you think these proposal stories are bad, just wait: Astroglide's "Proposals Gone Wrong" contest is celebrating the Worst Proposals Ever. In fact, they've already narrowed down to the five top stories. Click here to read them all and cast your vote.