How to React to an Unwanted Marriage Proposal in Public, Vol. 15, Issue 13

How to React to an Unwanted Marriage Proposal in Public from Etiquetteer on Vimeo.

St. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, the designated day to celebrate True Love, and it’s not unusual for suitors to pop the question. These proposals aren’t always accepted, which is too bad . . . or not. But it’s one thing if the proposal is made in private - in your conservatory or music room, for instance - and another if it’s someplace like a restaurant, and still another if it’s on stage at a rock concert, in a stadium during a game, or in the food court of the mall. The internet is full of marriage proposal fail videos like this one*:

They break Etiquetteer’s heart. The lady is embarrassed and/or angry, and the suitor is humiliated publicly, often before a large audience . . . and for eternity, if it ends up on the Internet.

Etiquetteer would like to offer as a suggestion some language to extricate everyone from this situation. When the proposal is finished, the lady should take the hand of her suitor, look at him lovingly (no matter how angry she might feel) and say:

“My dear, it’s such an honor that you’ve chosen me to give the gift of the rest of your life. It’s so beautiful of you - I’m overwhelmed! But I need something else from you, too. When I say Yes to you, I want to say it only to you. I want that moment to be for us alone, and not share it with all these wonderful people watching now. Will you do that for me?”

Then grab him by the arm and get outta there with a swift, unhurried stride. You can tell him when you’re alone that it won’t work out - also that you don’t like the spotlight - but this way you’ve saved him from looking like a loser in public, and you look like a lady who can take anything in stride.

But Etiquetteer hopes that if you DO get a proposal on St. Valentine’s Day, that it’s the one you want.

And with THAT, allow Etiquetteer to wish you all a Perfectly Proper St. Valentine’s Day!

*A couple of advance viewers have pointed out the heteronormative nature of this column. Etiquetteer chose to slant it that way after a cursory search of the Internet failed to disclose any marriage proposal fails from non-heterosexual couples. Obviously the advice applies to couples of all gender combinations.