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She will be happy with anything...


Apr 21, 2013
This is such an interesting thread.

Just like so many parts of culture, this "surprise engagement + ring" is such a trap for both men and women. Our culture has somehow convinced men that they alone need to choose when the couple will decide to marry, how to propose, decide how much to spend on the ring and raise the funds, pick a ring to her tastes, etc. And we've convinced (many) men that to deviate from this "fairytale" script would be emasculating for them and disappointing for the women they love. This can't be good for men.

At the same time, the culture tells women they should wait / pine for their partner to discuss marriage (note the name of the PS Ladies in Waiting forum), never express preferences about proposal or ring, not contribute financially to the ring, and be completely thrilled with whatever their partner presents because it is from him. This can't be good for women.

A marriage is a partnership, and this is terrible practice for partnership. I love the FirstRing idea, I love heartfelt proposals, I love romantic gestures, I love whatever configurations are actually right for the couples involved. I just wish more couples felt unrestrained by the expectations of "how a proposal is supposed to happen"


Nov 2, 2012
Most of the people I know who have gotten engaged, even thirty years ago, did not strictly follow the old customs beyond giving a nod to them.

It definitely all comes from a time when women were not considered equal. The same as the bride being given away by her father and taking the groom's last name.

But proposals I know of that were a complete surprise, rather than the woman expecting it but just not knowing exactly when, usually seemed odd. I also don't know of any women who thought it was time for a proposal but didn't feel they could bring the topic up.

Many of the proposals I know of (including my own) did not include a ring. It was chosen together later and its cost often shared too. If nothing else, the couple often lived together with their money mingled anyway or the ring was paid off from what became joint funds after the wedding.

I definitely think a woman has as much RIGHT as a man to propose (assuming it's a hetero couple, something else that's changed from earlier days). But in practice, it has seemed clear to me at the time that the man didn't want it. In other words, SINCE it's still expected that the man proposes, IF he hasn't proposed, it's logical to assume that he doesn't want it, if that makes sense. But either are certainly free to do what they wish.

Also, imo in the larger picture, the huge hassle of a wedding and all that surrounds it is a good test for young couples. If they can't work out their differences about a ring, they'll never make it together in life.
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