Okay, this is the last one for this book, I promise. My fiance just seems so fascinated with this topic that he wanted me to do one more. I suppose it's appropriate, and god knows I could probably talk about roles and marriage forever. There will be other chances though, so I'll shut my trap on it for awhile, but I'm not gettin' back in the kitchen.
I wanted to save this topic for last because I think it's very telling about our society and the way we're pressured into certain things despite the fact they're not good for us. In one of the chapters (the second to be precise), Kingston mentions that the diamond companies started the surprise engagement phenomena. Holy shit. That makes so much sense. What woman in her right mind wants to be taken completely by surprise by that kind of a question? It's the whole reason I laugh my ass off at the FMLs where men are rejected for marriage by their girlfriends. I can only assume that they just expected them to say yes because they had been together "long enough" to make that decision.
Here's the thing guys, not every woman wants to get married. Not even the ones who are willing to date you for five years. And it may not even be that they don't want a committed relationship with you, but marriage changes everything. I know this is a woman who has never been married. So before you propose, you need to have at least discussed the possibility of marriage with your girlfriend/boyfriend. If you haven't even broached the subject, chances are she may not be interested in forever, because someone who wants to marry you will damn well bring it up.
Another part of the surprise engagement means that you end up spending a shit ton of money to create that perfect memory, which is fine if she says yes. (I realize that there are times where the asked party is male, but for this case I'm just going to use traditional gender pronouns and you can all get over it.) But yeah, if she says no you're stuck there holding a $1200 ring, surrounded by a string quartet, and looking like a complete ass in front of an entire restaurant where the typical meal is $50 a plate.
Okay, seriously, I want everyone to look at what marriage is when you strip all the romantic crap out of it: an investment. It sounds maybe a little cold, but when it comes down to it, you are investing what is potentially your entire life: your physical and mental well being, your finances, and your future progeny into one person. Talk about your proverbial eggs in one basket. Wouldn't it make some sense to do just a little tiny bit of research, such as, I don't know, talking about whether you want to get married? And really, you can't get upset with her because she said no. Doing something like that is like buying a stock by guessing at what it's ticker is and then getting angry because you meant to buy Coca-Cola (KO) instead of Coca-Cola Bottling Company (COKE). If you don't do your homework, you're just more likely to fuck up.
So that seems to be how the normal non-engaged proposal goes (yes, I think I'm funny). While my engagement was expected on some level, I was still taken aback and I actually got exactly what I wanted. My fiance and I started talking about getting married probably 8 months into our relationship and more seriously by the 10 month mark. I told him that if he was going to propose to me, it would be great if he did it on our anniversary at the restaurant we first went on a date at (which strangely we only eat at on anniversaries). He knew I didn't want a diamond ring, and while I didn't get the "ring of my dreams," what he got me very much reflected our relationship and I've grown to love it.
I never would have said yes to Danny if we hadn't talked about it first, even if I wanted to say yes. It would have shown a complete lack of understanding on his part about my autonomy and my need to enter knowingly into that kind of a situation. Not to mention having someone assume that you will say yes to something that important without even mentioning it puts into doubt the whole relationship. If you were willing to assume that something like that would be taken positively...what other important decisions might you make without consulting your partner?