What Happens After a Public Proposal

Listen to this episode

S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate Plus membership he organized what was kind of a charity gala.

S2: So it was that kind of variety a night of comedians and musicians and different people doing things and then most of my family were there which I thought was really weird because my family live out of town and it was a Thursday.

S3: Was any part of you like conscious of the fact that something might go down tonight. No

S2: absolutely not. It was literally not until like I had played since hung so I think something and then. He got down on one knee and.

S4: You know it was like I want to marry you.

S2: And I just thought he was joking. To be honest I don’t know. And then I was like I looked out and I remember seeing people’s faces like friends and family and I was like Oh shit.

S5: And it was really it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how awful public face. And then people like. Oh right. So what are you going to say. And.

S6: So I said yes. I was like this is to this too awkward. So I should say yes yes. And then everyone was like.

S7: That’s honor Easley. She’s a musician podcasters and writer. You seen the kind of thing that she’s talking about go viral over and over. Sometimes it’s a surprise flashmob or in the middle of a marathon. One woman even got proposed to onstage at the Emmys. So a guy man it’s almost always a guy gets down on one knee and asked two women to marry him in front of hundreds of people. Thousands if you count the people who are watching online. So a lot of people find this thing cute as hell. But there are others who are grossed out by it.

S8: I mean I get it if you pop the question in front of all those people. Isn’t that a kind of coercion.

S9: Like does the woman feel like she has any choice at all. For me I’ve always been interested in what happens next.

S10: I’m aiming a smile and you’re listening to man up on this show every week we tell honest stories about our lives and investigate where we get our ideas about what it means to be a man.

S8: I should start with a confession. When I watch public proposal videos online I can see why it would seem romantic. I also can’t help but feel empathetic. Like for example honor Easley’s then partner probably imagined a happier ending when he surprised her in front of all those people. But she describes that memory in an essay as one that and I quote To this day ignites an acidic reaction in my stomach. Blended from the purest sources of fear and shame. Holy shit.

S11: So after the initial proposal as soon as we got home I was like Man I don’t know if that’s CSA. And I think I freaked out for at least two weeks because I had like my family pestering me in a nice way saying you know can we tell men. Can we tell grandma. Can we tell you know the people at work. And I’d been like please just don’t tell anyone right now. But it felt like I had to kind of like decide quick enough to tell them what to tell people but I actually don’t remember when I kind of made a decision.

S12: I think I was sort of like sure.

S13: Well it’s done now but we were never like we’re going to get married now.

S11: The plan was we’ll get married sometime in the future. That is quite a while away. And then like a little while after that I think we broke that which wasn’t related to that. That wasn’t why we broke up or anything that was kind of just background.

S14: You wrote in your essay quote If your partner is put in a position where they can’t really say no it means they can’t confidently say yes either like that to me I thought was kind of summed up what that experience must have been like very eloquently.

S12: It doesn’t really seem fair and that’s a very difficult scenario to say no in because you don’t want to like make it very awkward embarrass everyone and ruin people’s lives.

S11: And if you’re asking someone to spend the rest of their lives with you you kind of want them to be comforted in that answer.

S14: The more we talk about this the more I’m starting to feel like these proposals are really just for the men. All right. It’s an excuse for them to show the world how much they care about this person that they almost by virtue of what they look like in the position they put their partner in it’s at their expense right.

S12: I think it can be. I don’t think it always is because some people do want that. Some people do want the public marriage proposal and some people love that. I know that I’ve gotten into it to a YouTube poll of watching wedding speeches a lot of wedding speeches all like more in particular grooms men doing dance routines at their weddings.

S11: It’s this like public display of emotion from men. I think there’s something to be said about giving people the opportunity to be emotional and have like real talk about their life in public and get to celebrate it. That’s I think really nice.

S15: I kind of feel conflicted about this whole situation because when I got married we just had a conversation about it and then just agreed that it was time to get married and then we just went ahead and did it right. So I mean it was it wasn’t humiliating for either of us. I guess that’s like the plus.

S16: But on the other end. Plus. That’s it. That’s great. Yeah.

S17: But on the other end the part of me really feels like I wished that I did some kind of dramatic proposal to make her feel like it like she was like the best thing that could have happened to me because that’s how I actually feel.

S14: And you know I hear about people having these big proposals where they’re on a cruise or at some fancy dinner or wherever travelling and I can’t help but feel a little envious of them you know.

S17: And also her whole family just likes to make jokes Emmy for it. You know that every time like she does something awesome they’re like oh maybe now your husband will propose to you.

S14: You know things like that. So yeah I’m kind of split like on the one hand it doesn’t seem fair at all to put that kind of pressure on your partner. But at the same time a part of me really feels like I missed out on something he had.

S13: I mean I can understand that impulse.

S16: It is you want to be like this person is awesome Charlotte should know.

S11: I think it’s just about how you each you know how you want to express that. And I would say you don’t want to put your partner in an uncomfortable position but you can find other ways of telling them they’re awesome.

S16: For me I would way prefer like smaller things consistently over a log if here is I could just it like I think marriage you’re in it for the long haul. And some of those stories can be really awesome. Like I even have a great marriage proposal story and I’m not married. It could be really.

S8: Talking to honor. I thought back to all those YouTube videos of big surprise proposals gone right or at least they seemed to. I’d tell you to look them up but they’ve already ruined my algorithm. Just take my word for it seriously. But one of these videos did catch my attention. It’s called news anchor shock to in boyfriend interrupts live TV broadcasts her proposal. Listen to this.

S18: We’re getting some reports of ice. In fact I believe that ISIS coming around the corner as we speak.

S19: News anchor Eva Allen thought she was reading the news live on TV but her co-anchor Tony was in on a little surprise. You know that I love. You.

S20: And I had something I wanted to ask you. So.

S21: Will you marry me. Yes. Clearly the news anchor was caught off guard. Oh I’m feeling a lot of feels here.

S8: I mean on the one hand this is cute as hell but on the other she’s at work on TV. I feel like it’s also important to note that this was one of Abby’s first times at the news desk. She was aiming for that full anchor position so this was kind of an audition. So this could have gone badly not just for the couple but for her career. I wanted to find out how she feels about it now when I watch those other videos.

S15: I kind of think that it would be really hard to pop the question in front of so many people because even if there’s like that small chance that they might say no. I think that will freak me out but also I was trying to think of it from your perspective. Did you feel like there might have been some extra pressure to say yes to like not completely humiliate Matt in the proposal moment.

S22: No I wanted to say yes afterwards yes the pressure is what if we don’t make it to the wedding day then that’s when the pressure. This was so public this was so public. Oh my gosh what if we don’t make it to that wedding day. My boss at the time said you better.

S23: You said he better get married now. So the pressure was definitely there. What did you what did you say to your boss. I said wanted to I don’t not plan to I intend to yeah.

S15: I feel like saying no isn’t even an option at that point.

S24: Well I tell you what.

S25: Had I not been feeling it because I you know like I said if I didn’t love him and we had already talked about getting married because I was in such a professional setting and I was working on landed that gig I would have said no had I not felt it at all just because I’m I’m really focused sometimes and very adamant about no it’s no for me.

S14: So when you started to plan the proposal how did that kind of come about what was on your mind during that time.

S26: Well I wanted it to be special obviously. I’d never proposed before. I don’t think she had gotten any proposals surprisingly before then. So I just wanted it to be really nice really special and memorable for the station that she works at. She’s a reporter and she’s getting moved up to anchor. And she had told me maybe a month in advance two months in advance of when I proposed that she was going to be anchoring the New Year’s Day show in the morning. And I thought this might work out this might be a good idea. So I was kicking around with the guy that she’s works with that I’m cool with the idea of doing an on TV.

S27: The idea of doing it when she’s anchor and by herself kind of at the end of the show so they can get out and hopefully things go well. But if they don’t they can kind of cut and get me out of there and save face for me I guess.

S14: But the commercial the commercial. Yeah exactly.

S27: So it was really easy we kind of winged it almost in the morning with you know the line that my cue to come in and all that stuff with the weather guy Tony. They just told me about five minutes for us so that sounds good. We can do it. And we just rolled with it.

S15: Yeah. So. So Evy let’s just pretend that Matt’s not here for a second okay. All right. As honestly as you can tell me what did you think of the proposal as honestly.

S28: Because we have talked about it. So I’ve been very honest. I had a thousand thoughts in my head. One was I’m not dressed appropriately for this like I feel like I would have rather been dressed a little more nice TV so I was just OK. But I would have preferred to look really really extra good. I didn’t know what to do because it was live TV and I was trying to be professional.

S15: So was the first thought that you had. Tell me just about that first thought when you saw him.

S28: So the first thought I had was when he said there’s some ice coming around the corner you didn’t hit me. So I was like What.

S29: And then here comes Matt I can see something in my peripheral and then I’m like Oh my God oh my you’re not doing this you are not doing this right now because I was so focused. Oh I’m having a good show.

S14: So what was it you kind of like said it real quick. It was like I’m going to kill you. Yes. What was that about.

S24: That was about going back to me getting this anchor gig and then I’m thinking man you dirty dog. You

S23: surprise surprise me I let it gets you read this you got me good because I really was that surprised.

S24: I was that surprised. We had just kind of hung out with family for the new year and I was sad. It’s like I can’t been really New Year’s with you because I have to go to work. So I was super sad really sad because I was like I really want to be with him but at the same time game face on I want to be an anchor. I want this gig.

S30: So when he did that I was like oh how could you embarrass me this man and I had had some thoughts early early on to and things that we said she was a reporter so I was thinking Oh there’s so many different opportunities and different things I can do with that depending on the story what she’s doing I can kind of get a heads up from some people and really just go anywhere I want to with it. And then when I found out that she was going to anchor on the New Year’s Day show I was like Oh even better just we’ll just do that and keep it that way. But I did have some pause because I knew how badly she wanted the job and that her mind would be all you know completely focused on the career and the profession. So that was the only thing that I was like I don’t know that that might not be great. And but not no I was just like No no we’re going to do it.

S22: Yeah. So handsome too.

S15: I can co-sign that. You did look at you guys both look good. So would you recommend that other people get proposed this way. Like would you want your girlfriends to get proposed in a similar way. No.

S25: No because I wouldn’t want them to be thrown off guard like this because like I said I had a thousand things going on in that moment where I think I think when you think about taking that next step you can’t control it always but you want to at least look the way you look.

S23: Yeah you know what I mean.

S22: I don’t hold it against him though.

S30: I do. I just. Yeah I mean I the only thing that I kind of look back on it and say well you know if I had a regret or if I had something I could change about it or whatever. The only thing was really the comments afterwards that were negative that you know were people that we didn’t know and didn’t know us but they just saw that they saw the clip. That was kind of edited and it looked like she will you know did it any affection. Yeah like there was no embrace or no kiss or whatever in the short you know the condensed version that circulated nationwide that when we showed it that way. But the full clip you could see you know how it actually was. So I just felt bad that she was taking some of this heat when I didn’t see it that way and I didn’t feel any kind of way about it.

S22: Definitely take the heat. Yeah.

S15: Yeah I think that’s all we’re like talking about. It’s kind of putting it on her.

S31: Yeah. At the end it did. It did because my my job is so public. But I mean people still come up and ask me about that. Right. Yeah.

S23: We finally get married. Yes. Yes.

S31: And I am I am happily married.

S32: So I mean I look I look back on it as a very you know major memory in my life and something that you know given the opportunity to do it again. I think I would have it might have been somewhat smoother or I would have really thought about it in detail and of just kind of being like OK yeah let’s go let’s do this. And not really rehearse every single second moment of it but. But no I I still I don’t know I liked it. I didn’t dislike it. I’m going to kill you right.

S22: But I mean that wasn’t good bad.

S31: I mean even though I would have done it different I wouldn’t recommend it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate or love the moment because I love the man behind it.

S33: So I got married around the same time that you guys did. Oh congratulations. Congrats. But I did not propose to my wife. OK.

S15: And a part of me beat myself up over it because I always assumed that as it as the man I needed to do some kind of grand gesture and kind of sweep her off her feet and I didn’t really get a chance to do it. But a part of me feels like I really should have so I was curious Matt like does any of that resonate with you like do you feel like you were drawn to this idea because it was Grant maybe a little bit.

S30: I see what you’re saying. I mean I think it really depends on the individual and what’s a part of their personality like. I mean were you. Did you feel like you’re kind of a romantic person overall or always have been or not so much or Yeah.

S15: I’m a romantic comedies are my favorite genre of comedy. Like I’m uh I’m almost like a tough guy exterior soft interior type of guy. So I love romance. I love the idea of sweeping my woman off her feet and like blowing her socks off. All this all this really appeals to me. It just it’s something I feel like I have to live with now.

S22: I don’t think it shouldn’t matter at the end of the day because I don’t think it matters how Matt proposed I think it matters that he wanted to be committed to me. For me as the biggest deal I would have said Yes had we had the phone conversation actually because we were Matt and I are approaching 40 so we could have we could have done it simple and I’d have been happy because once once we were locked in and we knew because our journey has been quite quite the journey we were we were going to do it. However it was going to happen no matter what. As long as you know he was committed to me it really didn’t matter how he proposed to be honest.

S30: Yeah I and I’m a lot like you am and I love romantic comedies but you know not very many people know that about me. Now I get somewhere but I do and I did.

S32: You kind of have thoughts of if I get married this is how I want it to be for her and how I kind of envision it abstractly.

S22: But let’s see when we first started dating he let me know on that first date I don’t want marriage and I don’t like kids. He said I tell I tell women up front straight up so that there’s no expectation of that from the very beginning. So you know if they change their minds I’m not changing. So this is this is the history we’re coming from. No marriage no kids. This same man. So he you know like I said it for me it wouldn’t matter because that’s our history. He never wanted to get married in the first place.

S31: So for him to want to I did I didn’t care how he proposed to be honest.

S14: Yeah. I wonder if you know like the idealized movies that I’ve seen always included some kind of like romantic gesture that signaled like the happiest moment in both of their lives. Like there was one specific moment that’s supposed to be the proposal that I guess will set the precedents for the rest of the relationship. That’s always what I assumed about what a proposal ought to be like before I got married.

S28: It’s interesting because that was it. Honestly our wedding day was the moment for me. The proposal is not really what I consider like his biggest power Pam boom moment for me.

S30: Yeah. So I mean proposal aside there’s all these chances in your life too. You know I like I don’t want to say make up for that if you feel like it was you know short of what you had in your head that you would expect it to be but there’s all these moments you know whether it’s a random Wednesday or it’s a Valentine’s Day or a birthday or whatever. You can always still like do something big and that’s impactful to your partner or significant other in memory that they’ll always take with them and you’re always mean a lot to them.

S28: I think it’s knowing your partner to be one of the things that I could not deny why I loved him and why I fell in love with him is because Matt knew how to love me the way nobody else did. And his gestures and his actions towards me they were thoughtful and they fit my love language so to speak they fit the way that I receive love. So it’s not even that’s why I said it’s not even the proposal that wins me over as much as everything else that he’s done that’s been so thoughtful just and loving me the way he does. He just knows how to love me like no one else. Ever has. You really got to go on every.

S5: Day. I know. I know. How could I say no to this guy. I’m leaving these conversations with two thoughts on the one hand and glad I did not propose to my wife on TV.

S7: But on the other I kind of still wish I had done something bigger. So I have one more person ask about this.

S34: Guy. Hey.

S35: So I’ve given it a lot of thought. I keep wondering if I may be missed out on getting to propose to you you know because of the way that we did it was a little unorthodox and different. So. I’m wondering how you would react if I were to invite you to some concert. Find a reason to get you on stage in front of like 1000 people drop down to one knee and proposed to you I don’t think I would say no since I already know.

S36: What if we were like a phone like this thing.

S37: What if we were just dating still and you were like going to see your favorite concert let’s say beyond say and Beyonce pulled you up on stage and then I ran in after you and then took the mike out of Beyonce’s hand and said hey meet up in front of all of these people I want to ask you a question are you going to let me put a ring on it.

S38: No.

S39: That would make up for disrespecting the answer. And then for you to kind of put me on the spot like that would make me feel like I had no choice at all. And I kind of feel like this empowered but you’re open to me proposing to you even though we’re married yeah.

S36: But yeah I mean the one. OK. OK. Can I ask you just one more question.

S40: Yeah.

S41: Mehta will you marry me.

S42: Oh could God.

S43: Oh.

S44: Think about it. I know it’s gonna be on a concert but at least it’s a podcast.

S41: Whatever. Yes. Will it.

S3: And that’s the show. And the end of season one. But don’t sweat it. We’ll be back in four weeks for season two. What do we have in store you ask. More of what you love with an added twist. Tune in November 13th and find out. In the meantime we need your ideas on what to talk about next. So if you’re dealing with some issues related to masculinity or maybe your friend is leave a message at 8 or 5 6 2 6 8 7 0 7 that’s 8 0 5 men up 0 7. Or e-mail us at men up at Slate dot com. All ideas are welcome. So just hit us up and if the thought of no new episodes of men up is just too much to bear. Don’t worry I got you. We’ll be having our very first live show on November 8th at the green space in Manhattan New York and Slate Plus listeners get a discount. So for more information on that go to Slate dot com slash live. Hope to see you there. And if you’d like this episode consider supporting the kid and leave. Review an app a podcast or whatever you like to listen. But more importantly subscribe. We’ll be back November 13th. And trust me you don’t want to miss it. Man up is hosted and written by me a minus night. It’s produced by Cameron Drews our executive producers are Jeffrey Bloomer and lo and Lou Gabriel Roth is the editorial director of Slate podcasts and Jude Thomas is a senior managing producer of Slate podcasts. We’ll be back November 13th with more man up.