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September 4, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I have been dating "the one" for about two years. We have been dating long distance for about one and a half of those years. We are moving in together soon. I want to propose to him as soon as I see him at the airport. We have never discussed marriage, and I am afraid of what he will say. But I want more than anything to be with him forever, and he says he wants that also.

My dad says, however, that proposing to a guy is taking a huge life milestone away from him. He says it is not fair to the guy -- apparently every guy waits for this moment, and it is a big deal for them to finally do it. They do not want to have to admit they punked out and the girl asked them.

Second, what is the proper way for a girl to ask a boy to marry her? Does she have to provide a ring, or some token? Like what? This is so confusing!

-- Ophelia

Dear Ophelia,

Wowie! This is terribly exciting. I love that you feel this way; now let's talk about the best way to act on those feelings.

First of all, I can see your dad's point. But you have wisely directed your missive to the superhero you can count on never to say "All [wo]men..." this or that. I'd bet a Tiffany's box that for every guy whose heart's set on doing it His way (or, say, for every two such guys), there's a guy who'd be all, "Phew! How cool -- and pressure-relieving -- that she stepped up and knelt down!" Could your guy be that guy? Well, you know him better than BG, your dad, and the entire union of air traffic controllers combined, so ultimately, your guess is best.

That said, as romantic and dramatic as your runway bride moment sounds, I miiiiiight caution you to wait for a moment that's no less special, but a tad more...grounded. He'll just have made a long trip -- toward a massive commitment -- so I'm just concerned that no matter how much he loves you, he might be like, "Uh, could I unpack?"

Don't at all mean to dash your dreams on the tarmac. On the contrary. Actually, one of Friday's friends just did the deed her bad self, and here's what she had to say: "Once I knew that I wanted to marry him -- kind of like that line in When Harry Met Sally: 'When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible' -- I realized that waiting around wondering if he'll ask wasn't as much fun as thinking about how I would ask."*

So, Ophelia, I'd have that fun for just this little while. Especially because you know, there is no "proper" way for a girl to pop the question. Those rules haven't been written yet, girlie. How about you just tell us what you learn from experience?

Breakup Girl

PS This one's on its knees asking to be a Do Tell, isn't it? Women: have you proposed? (How?) Men: have you minded? Do Tell!

* "I gave him a card with six questions. The first five were relatively silly and the final one asked the answer to the hidden question. In each of the first five, there was one word in all caps; together they read 'Will you be mine forever?'"



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