Matt Forney (he’s good, you should read him) posted this anecdote from a Yahoo! column concerning “love makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do” (btw wtf is with the cropped hairdo in that photo):
I went to bat for her engagement ring
“My girlfriend and I had been together for about three years, and I was sure she was the one I wanted to marry. Problem was, I didn’t exactly have enough money to get her a good engagement ring. So, in order to raise funds, I put my collection of baseball trading cards on eBay. We’re talking a collection that spanned, like, 20 years, thanks to some cards handed down by my dad. I was totally bummed to part with them because they were so important to me, but I really, really loved this girl. I ended up making more than enough money to pay for a ring. Problem was, when I got down on one knee, she told me that she couldn’t see spending the rest of her life with me. I should’ve stuck with Shoeless Joe Jackson.”
— Owen, 26, Chagrin Falls, OH [The hometown of “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoonist Bill Watterson – B]
I have to admit, I find this guy’s nonchalant aw-shucks attitude towards this kind of a rejection to be an indictment of his healthy masculinity.
Besides that, there’s a few betariffic delusions this guy was laboring under.
The first delusion was that he had to buy an expensive bauble simply for the privilege of asking a woman to marry him, to the point he would hock family heirlooms to pay for it. I think the idea of “saving for a ring” if you are near-certain you want to marry someone is silly. It’s the beta-supplicant script, that he has to beg and plead for the approval of a woman (don’t get me started on getting down on one knee either). The “three months rule” is complete bullshit and frankly financially irresponsible. Buy what you can afford on the spot without serious financing; it most accurately reflects the material situation you’ll both be entering, you don’t want to set up the idea that you’ll be doing special financial favors for her to your own detriment for the rest of your life.
The second delusion was that proposals should come out of the blue so as to be maximally romantic. The basic principle of trial law is to never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. That also holds for marriage proposals – proper setup for a marriage proposal involves a lot of discussion about how you really feel about each other, where you see your futures going, what kind of life you want, how you feel about kids, sleep schedules, career dreams, and on and on. You don’t need to sit down with a list of “I’m not marrying anybody until we work out everything on this checklist,” but most of that stuff should be out in the open by that point. If it’s not, what kind of relationship have you been having? More like an extended hookup than a real long-term arrangement. A proposal should be a formality to an already-understood conviction that marriage is your future. A proposal should be a surprise, but not surprising. Her answer shouldn’t be a surprise either.
I’m hoping that as more videos of surprise proposals gone wrong flood the Internet, this false belief will dissipate. I’m not holding my breath though.
The third, and most fundamental, delusion was to believe that he and his girl were communicating the same things when they said “I love you.” I’m sure she told him she loved him a thousand times, and he took it to mean what he means when HE says “I love you” – which as he outlined above includes the desire to marry and to go to absurd lengths to express his love. This guy obviously believed cultural tropes that women are all about romantic “love” and long-term commitment and just can’t wait for a nice boy to propose to them. She was no doubt flush with positive emotions, but that didn’t extend to the desire to commit to him.
I don’t have any criticism of the woman involved – if she didn’t want to marry him she did the right thing saying no – but it can’t be ignored that if the shoe had been on the other foot, and she wanted to get married and he didn’t, she could shame and cajole him up and down the block and get an army of sympathy from people asking accusatory questions about why this “immature” guy wanted to “break her heart.”