The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Monday, February 14, 2011

Proposing Marriage
Mike Rappaport

I am not sure this 100% true, but it is pretty close

It's odd, isn't it, the persistence of such an archaic and, as the women's studies professor would say, gendered ritual? In the post-feminist world, women can propose a dinner date, a raise or a hookup. They can suggest making child care 50/50, an IPO plan or a threesome. But they can never propose marriage. Ever. Unlike line repair, truck driving, running the House of Representatives or the State Department, question popping remains a man's job.

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

Nobody has ever popped a diamond on me, no. But I've been given other, er, presents that might be considered a proposal.

Posted by: james wilson | Feb 14, 2011 10:52:11 PM

This is not entirely true. There are a lot of women who have - effectively - popped the question, in that they've driven the whole getting married thing. That may even be the norm. The fact that the focus is on the little traditional ritual of a man presenting a ring is not the proper focus here.

Posted by: km | Feb 15, 2011 6:59:48 AM

There's a ring; there's a nose; that's a well trained bull. I do think that the little darlings (I've had one controlling me for some 45 plus years of marriage) do know how to get their way.

Posted by: Comanche Voter | Feb 15, 2011 7:05:56 AM

I think this is a little bit like men paying for dinner on the first date: a symbolic ritual that actually has less significance than it appears to. The great majority of men "propose" marriage only when they know the proposal is likely to be accepted . . or demanded. It's a little bit like the evangelical communities in which women "obey" their husbands: social scientists have found these, in practice, to be among the most female-driven subcultures.

Posted by: mike livingston | Feb 15, 2011 9:48:31 AM