As a man concerned with matters of life and death, Jessica Pauline Oglivie’s recounting of an onstage marriage proposal made by a woman at a college commencement—the valedictorian no less (!)—gave my normally stolid heart a minor attack. I’m frankly a little shaken up by this and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to comment roundly enough without further internal conniption. Let me just say to you plucky matrimonial adventurers out there: please do not do this. Please do not start doing this.
I don’t care how progressive your relationship is, I don’t care how ambivalent your dude may be, I beg on the altar of everything holy, this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad precedent; a precedent with horrifying consequences that extend far beyond just one momentous day for you.
Now I know that we (men and women) have all been muddling through a rough patch of centuries lately, but let’s not go down this road. It’s not about power or tradition. It’s not about some chimerical assault on our manliness. It’s about your future husband’s self-respect.
Guys are frequently emasculated by their women. It’s the sadist in you. We’re forced to do and say things we never would and while I’m sure it’s somehow linked to a grander betterment, each time a guy is forced to go to dinner alone with his girlfriend and her friends or say something saccharine on the phone when he is out with his friends, there is a demographic exacting an unimaginable toll upon a man: his friends.
Take for example, Josh Walker—boy wonder of the aforementioned wedding proposal story. Has Josh Walker in landing the valedictorian of a college in New Jersey done well for himself? Most likely yes. His future wife is clearly an accomplished woman with the requisite streak of maverick needed to subvert the protocol of a “typical” marriage proposal. I am sure much vomit will be stifled upon reading their wedding announcement in the Sunday Styles.
However, of all the parties involved in this impending union, the parents, the siblings, the bride, and the groom, absolutely no one is as stoked about what has just transpired than Josh’s friends. They now have ammunition to make fun of him for literally the rest of his life. And don’t think that they won’t. They will. They is going on permanent safari.
From this moment on, anytime that Josh Walker hangs out with his friends, unless he gets new ones and doesn’t tell them the story of his wife’s marriage proposal, Josh Walker’s dignity is going to be under attack. Words that I cannot even type in this extremely liberal forum will be said. There will be no situation too inappropriate to assail him. Men who don’t even know Josh Walker (guilty) will tell their friends, “You’ve got to hear this…” and conversations of the meanest caliber of frattiness will ensue. A storm cloud will follow Josh Walker’s life and rain pejorative words for vagina all over it.
Again, I can’t fully explain it. Call it a guy thing. We’re too proud and terrible to each other. But if you love your man, let him pop the question. (He’s never really going to be ready.) Otherwise, you’ll just be placing a scarlet bulls-eye right on his back. I promise you’ll have the rest of your life to inflict other indignities upon him.