Yes, you definitely read that correctly. I had the absolute pleasure of proposing to my boyfriend… and he said yes! It shouldn’t be a novel concept, but somehow the gender reversal takes people by surprise. Ever since we announced our engagement, we’ve been dealing with some pretty interesting experiences. For those who might be considering this option, here is what really happens when you propose to your boyfriend.
1. People are totally surprised, but then not actually that surprised.
The announcement did shock a few people. There were some phone calls where friends heard the news, got really excited for us, paused for a moment and said: “Wait, SHE proposed?!” It didn’t change their excitement, but it took an extra moment for that detail to sink in. One of the best reactions we received was: “Well, obviously, it’s YOU!” People who knew us well knew that this wasn’t weird. The thing is, if you’re going to flip gender roles, your friends are probably used to your progressiveness. That is essentially what happened to us – once they understood that it was flipped, they were even more excited!
2. Your parents are relieved.
Prior to proposing, I made sure to ask permission from his parents. I also made sure to tell my parents what was happening and my mom even helped with the planning. However, both my dad and step-dad were hesitant about this role-reversal. They acted like I was taking something away from my boyfriend. My parents should be used to my untraditional style, but this was something that concerned them. I think they were just nervous for me, because the moment my boyfriend actually became my fiancé, it was like the previous conversations never happened. They were thrilled for us!
3. People ask about the ring.
The diamond ring is the societal symbol of engagement. My boyfriend’s friends teased him about me buying him a diamond ring. My friends seemed to be considerably concerned that I did not have an engagement ring. Like, way too concerned. I received questions like “Do you still get a ring?” and “Does it count if there is no ring?” Typically men don’t have engagement rings but that doesn’t make them any less engaged. For me, the ring is not important. I’ve never really cared about it, so that isn’t going to change now. The proposal did include a little gift for the groom-to-be to commemorate the moment, but there were absolutely no diamonds exchanged.
4. You only have to announce it to people you care about.
One of the best parts of not having a ring is that you don’t have to talk about it! Rings are glaringly obvious that you’re engaged. Without one, I only have to announce it to people I want to share the good news with. I don’t have to announce it to my entire workplace or sports team. This also means that you don’t have to tell the story a million times…which is a total bonus.
5. You’ll feel somewhat judged.
Unfortunately, society has made it seem like women have to wait for the men. In so many movies and television shows, the woman is ready to make the commitment long before the man is ready. This leads to the perception that if a woman jumps the gun, she is trapping the man into marriage. Although this is absolutely not the case, I sometimes feel like I need to justify my proposal. If people don’t know our relationship history, I feel myself giving them more information than necessary so they won’t think that I am “a desperate woman who just couldn’t wait any longer.” I hadn’t really considered this before proposing because I proposed for numerous different reasons – impatience not being one of them. It isn’t a totally unjustified feeling, though, as there have been a few people who have voiced their concerns that I have now “given permission” to their girlfriends to propose to them. Unfortunately, the sexism lives on.
6. People are extra opinionated.
It is interesting to see people’s reactions toward the gender role reversal. Some celebrate the news just as they would if it was a traditional proposal. Some are hesitant. Some say congratulations and tell you how wonderful it is that you don’t care what society thinks. Some make jokes about starting a reverse-proposal trend. Whatever the reaction, I can guarantee that people will have more opinions about your proposal than if it had been a traditional one. Most opinions have been positive, but every so often I want to shout “THIS IS WHY FEMINISM EXISTS” from the rooftops.
7. You’re going to be insanely happy.
The fact is that no matter how the proposal happened, no one is in the relationship except the two of you. One person wanted to get married and the other person said yes, which means that they confirmed the desire to get married. It doesn’t matter how it happened because you’re deciding to spend the rest of your lives with each other. You’re going to be insanely happy, and nothing can ruin that! No trends, no judgments, and no societal pressure should determine how you feel about your own relationship decisions. You are now going to take on the world together.
Next, let’s talk about my husband-to-be taking MY last name…