Here’s the dilemma: You’re in love with the perfect girl, and you want to spend the rest of your life with her. Well, it’s a whole new millennium out there.We are in the midst of the literal dawning of the Age of Aquarius and, much to the chagrin of this would-have-been confirmed bachelor, people are still getting married. Though the past 100 years have seen a lot of changes, traditional marriages are still pretty popular. Leave it to me to sway under the considerable weight of peer pressure.
The truth about cats and dogs
For the past 30 years we’ve been trying to convince ourselves that men and women really, deep down inside, want the same things. Boys don’t naturally want to play with trucks and army men, and girls don’t naturally want to play with dolls and sugar and spice and whatever it is that girls are made of. It turns out we were wrong! I didn’t want to run headlong into traffic, jump off the top of the monkey bars or punch the kid on the bus next to me as a negotiation technique because of social conditioning. Similarly, my fiancée doesn’t like flowers, can name subtle shades of green I can’t even see or hordes shoes like she has 15 pairs of feet because her parents shoved a doll into her hands and forced her to dress it nice.
The truth of the matter is I’m a dude and she’s a chick. I know a few women who will immediately bristle at the notion that there could be fundamental differences between men and women. Well, I’ve got news for those ladies! I don’t shop for one exact item in the store, buy it and go home because I’m fickle. It’s because I’m a hunter, and you are a gatherer. And let’s make this clear: There is nothing wrong with that. Yes, there are exceptions and we can argue Bell Distribution Curves all day (let’s not), but it doesn’t change the fact that guys are dudes and girls are chicks. If you have any doubts, ask me why there were only three girls in my engineering program in university. Hint: It wasn’t because guys were better at math. It was because we got to build a racing cart from scratch and shoot potatoes from cannons we made from PVC pipes.
Marriage and its place in society
So what does this have to do with marriage? Everything! At least for me. You see, I’m a young guy with old parents. They were well into their 30s by the time I came around, and they were raised with the understanding that men and women are vastly different. It wasn’t even worth trying to figure out what was going on inside each other’s respective heads. Now we’ve moved past thinking we are the same and back to thinking we are different with a significant catch. Men and women at the start of this millennium have to understand each other! Frightening.
It took me quite some time to appreciate the idea that marriage has a place in society. It’s one of the oldest and most universal traditions in the world. It’s a ritual that symbolizes a commitment. People need rituals. They act as milestones in our lives. They should not be taken lightly. So if you think you can turn your head one night in front of the play-offs and say,“Hey, wanna get married?” don’t expect to ever get married.
Making the engagement special
What’s important is to make your girl understand how important your engagement is. You can spend two months salary on a ring, but in the end a marriage is more than a ring. It’s a promise. And that promise doesn’t exist without action. Plan ahead. Put some thought into it. Anything from the heart will do. Ask her father for her hand (She’ll love that one!). Take her to a great restaurant. Take a walk in the park afterward. Create an elaborate goose chase ending at a skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia, with “Will you marry me?” posted on the side. Make it a memorable moment for her. It should be obvious that you put effort into the whole affair.
Chances are you’ve already talked about marriage, so the question won’t be a surprise.You have to surprise her with the event of asking. I find most people have no idea what to do about the engagement ring, and unless you’re Billy Zane in Titanic, there’s no point in trying to surprise your girl with the Heart of the Sea (Do you really want to be that guy?). Before you panic about what kind of ring to get, remember that you have many resources at your disposal. You could go for extreme sentiment and use your grandmother’s wedding band she was given by your grandfather right before he set off for the European Theater in World War II.
If you don’t have one of those, after you’ve asked her father’s permission, you can ask her mother for advice on engagement rings. She’ll definitely have plenty to say as she tries to make her daughter’s wedding into the wedding she should have had. Ask married friends. Ask engaged friends. Don’t have any? Consult jewelry stores (with a grain of salt) and nicely printed engagement magazines (cough). Last, but not least, ask your future bride-to-be. She’s the one that’s going to be wearing the darned thing. She’ll definitely know what kind of engagement ring she’ll want (and money will be no object). And there’s nothing wrong with asking her, especially if you’ve made the question the event.
There are a myriad of tales that tell one simple story: It’s the story of a guy who loves a girl. The rest of the time he stumbles around as he wraps the idea around his head and chest cavity and searches in in his own way to find the proper way to fully express how he feels for his girl. He has to. He has to shout it out over the proverbial rooftops.
And while you’re planning your rooftop proposal, don’t worry about how stupid you look doing it. Look as stupid as possible. She’ll love that, too.