Poll

What should a person do if proposed to in public and the answer is "No"?

Refuse Immediately in Public
108 (52.7%)
Accept in Public and Refuse at the earliest opportunity in private
50 (24.4%)
Other (Please Explain)
47 (22.9%)

Total Members Voted: 205

Author Topic: Public Marriage Proposals  (Read 21071 times)

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Texas Mom

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Public Marriage Proposals
« on: January 10, 2013, 01:24:18 AM »
When DD was home, we had a discussion about public marriage proposals.

One of the duties of the department (sports team) in which she works is to facilitate and set up such events for guests. 

Most of the time, the person says, "yes," but occasionally there is a refusal.

She wondered what the people at "Etiquette Hell" would recommend & ask me to post!

twiggy

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 02:09:01 AM »
That's tough. I know that I, personally, would NOT want to be surprised by a public proposal. I think there's a big pressure to say yes because

-you're suddenly, and unexpectedly, the center of attention
  there you are, enjoying a sports game, when you see your face on the jumbo tron.
-there's audience encouragement
  Think of how much catcalling and whooping there is during a "kiss camera" where people who look like couples are put up on the jumbo tron and encouraged to kiss. When they do, there is chering. If they don't, there is jeering.
-you don't want to create a scene/make people feel uncomfortable
  when the answer is yes, the audience gets the warm fuzzys of seeing a tender moment. If the answer is no, it's just awkward.
-a fear that the proposee will be heckled for refusing
  Along the same school of thought that you should always accept a date because the poor person mustered up the courage to ask you. The poor guy/girl went to all the trouble to arrange this awesome proposal and that heartless Female Dog/Bacon Fed Knave ripped their poor heart out.

If you're going to say no, I think you should say no right away. Logistically, imagine the proposer had told friends/family to watch the game and they all think there's a wedding to plan?
More importantly, it's cruel to dash false hope. Here the proposer is thinking that there's a wedding to plan and a future with the love of his/her life, while the reluctant proposee is trying to figure out how to unaccept.

Yes, there may be some awkwardness, and some backlash from the public at the unexpected response, but that's on the proposer, not the proposee. The proposer is the one who is causing the situation. Imagine you're at a party when a guest admires your jacket. Guest then demands the jacket, and makes a scene. You can sense that Host wishes you would just give Guest the jacket to keep the peace. You aren't wrong to not give Guest your jacket, and the scene/discomfort isn't your fault.
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

sweetonsno

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 02:39:24 AM »
I'm with Twiggy. I'd be pretty upset if a man ever tried to propose to me in an elaborate grand gesture that involved a large audience. I think it's unfair to the "proposee"." He or she will feel tons of pressure and is always going to look like the bad guy. (How could you say no to someone who obviously loves you so much that they'd go to all of this trouble and who is so confident that they're willing to take such a risk?)

I'd say no for all of the reasons Twiggy listed. Additionally, I don't like the idea of lying to someone.

Amava

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 02:49:27 AM »
What is she asking for help with, exactly?

Does she want to know whether it is a good idea for the department to facilitate such events?
Or does she want to know what she, as a facilitator, can do as "damage control" in case a proposal is rejected?
Or is she looking for advice she can give the prospective proposers when they come to her and ask her to facilitate their proposal? Or is she wondering whether it is "her place" to advise and warn them for things that can go awry? I think the latter would all depend on the policy of the department in these matters...

Sharnita

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 05:57:43 AM »
I think you should do whatever you prrsonally feel like doing.

Some people have made it clear that "when it happens" they will accept. They migjt also be clrarly comfortable in the spotlight. Not eberynody would love it but some might

weeblewobble

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 07:54:21 AM »
When someone arranges this sort of public exhibition, they run the risk of looking like a fool.  I think the best course of action would be to smile, but tell the guy that you need to speak to him privately.

Emmy

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 08:00:42 AM »
I agree with twiggy's reasons of why it is a bad idea.  The only time a public proposal would be a good idea was if the both members of the couple had discussed and agreed to getting engaged in the future and the person to receive the proposal brought up they would like a public proposal.  If the proposer has any doubts he/she is putting him/herself and their SO in an awful position.

I don't think there is a 'right' answer.  I'll admit I would likely accept because of the shock being put on the spot in such a public way and to spare the proposer public humiliation, then discuss it later in private.  I am naturally a person who can't think of a polite, yet snappy comeback to a rude comment on the spot, how would I and those like me be able to respond in an appropriate way with thousands of people looking on with no warning.  I'm not saying that is the 'right' thing to do, but I think naturally most people would panic and just say yes to get the spotlight off of them.  I'd like to think I'd just lean in for a hug and whisper in his ear 'can we talk about this later'.  I really wouldn't want to make a rejection obvious in front of so many people.

If a person looks hesitant or doesn't immediately say 'yes', I think the camera should immediately go off of the couple instead of waiting for an answer.  I would also be interested in knowing about damage control when a proposal goes awry. 

Yvaine

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 08:04:47 AM »
I agree with twiggy's reasons of why it is a bad idea.  The only time a public proposal would be a good idea was if the both members of the couple had discussed and agreed to getting engaged in the future and the person to receive the proposal brought up they would like a public proposal.  If the proposer has any doubts he/she is putting him/herself and their SO in an awful position.

This. These things can work, and be really sweet, but it has a lot to do with knowing the personality of the proposee (some people like public attention and some don't) and it's also a good idea to be pretty darn sure they're going to say yes.

MrTango

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 08:14:53 AM »
If a guy wants to propose to his girlfriend in public, I think it's on him to be sure she's going to say "yes."  She isn't under any obligation to save him from embarassment he brings upon himself by proposing without already knowing she's going to say "yes."***

For example, when I made my "public" proposal to LadyTango, she had already picked out the ring and we had told our parents already that we were planning on getting engaged.  The surprise for her was that she expected the ring to not be ready until after she went back to school following spring break.  Fortunately, the jeweller had it ready in time for me to surprise her with it after the Easter Vigil mass in the church's gathering space.

**just using male & female pronouns for simplicity's sake.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 09:37:20 AM »
I don't think immediate refusal is always the right choice for a no either...but I would not accept on national television/at a public event if I wasn't sure my answer was yes.

Saying can we discuss this in private would be my choice.  I might be so stunned that I was thinking no but really wanted to talk it through before I said yes.

If any of that makes sense. 

I have seen a video on YouTube where a gentleman asks a lady in front of a camera during a halftime basketball game and she burst into tears and runs off camera...how humiliating would that be ?   agghh

Cat-Fu

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 10:24:53 AM »
I think if a person feels a "no," then they should say no. Public humiliation is the risk you take with a public proposal.
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

CakeBeret

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 10:34:34 AM »
Personally, if I were proposed to in public and did not want to accept, I would probably choke out "Oh--no--I'm sorry" and then run away. I'm a coward like that.

I think a person should only propose in public if (a) you are certain that the proposee will not be embarrassed, (b) you are certain that the proposee will like and enjoy a public proposal, and (c) you have already discussed engagement/marriage and are certain that the proposee will say yes. Basically, you should be certain that you will not be causing the proposee any embarrassment or discomfort.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 10:36:17 AM »
I just wouldn't have the heart to refuse in public. 

But as soon as we are alone, he'd be getting a huge piece of my mind.  And even if I had considered marrying him, his public proposal would have completely changed my mind because I would realize how little he really knew about me thinking that a public proposal was acceptable.  Asking me to make a life changing decision is not a time to tell the world (or the ballpark)  "Look at me, Look at me."

WillyNilly

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 11:05:03 AM »
I think public marriage proposals are disgusting.  And I think the best and most appropriate response of anyone - saying yes or no - is to immediately walk away to somewhere private.  I see a proposal on equal intimacy terms as sex, neither should have an audience, as much for the audience's sake as anything.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:08:26 AM by WillyNilly »

Winterlight

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 11:12:52 AM »
Since anyone who was close enough to propose would be aware that I hate the thought of such an event with the power of a thousand crabby nuns, if he for some insane reason decided to do it- well, let's just say it wouldn't end well.
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Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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