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 21630 times)

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lowspark

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2013, 11:17:31 AM »
This reminds me of the movie, Working Girl. Alec Baldwin proposes to Melanie Griffith at their friends' engagement party with everyone watching... about a week after she had caught him in bed with another woman.

She answers, "Maybe"
And he says something like, "Maybe? That's your answer?"
And she says, "You want a different answer, ask a different girl"

I'm with those who say that I would not answer yes just to save the proposer embarrassment. If my answer was no, then I'd say no.

However! Two points:
1. If my answer was really a flat out No, I would probably not be going out with this gentleman in the first place. More likely my answer would be "maybe" or "I'm not ready for that yet" or something along those lines.
2. Anyone who knows me and certainly anyone who thinks they know me well enough to propose marriage, would know that I hate those kinds of public attention situations and I hate surprises. So if they thought that it would be a good idea to propose at a baseball game or some such, the answer would almost certainly not be Yes.

Sophia

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 11:21:50 AM »
My personal theory is that when the answer is a NO, the asker suspects that might be the answer.  But, hopes that the public nature might force a YES. 

Kariachi

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 12:27:05 PM »
My father and I actually discussed this a few months ago, and we came to the agreement that even if the answer would have been yes, a public proposal is a total deal-breaker. We just find it manipulative behavior, like this person thinks we wouldn't say yes if public pressure wasn't on, and we aren't having with any of it. If she thinks we won't say yes without pressure, what about her don't we know that she thinks we do?

Yeah, we can be kinda cynical and suspicious.

My response to something like that would probably be to balk and ask if she'd lost her beloved mind.
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Texas Mom

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 12:39:00 PM »
What is she asking for help with, exactly? 

She's seen things go both ways & wondered  about the viewpoints of the Etiquette Hell community about the matter.  She's looking for a different point of view, and the diversity of this community is a great place to find opinions that run the spectrum.

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Does she want to know whether it is a good idea for the department to facilitate such events?

The facilitation = $ for the team owners; it's not her place to decide whether it's a good idea.

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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?


She talks to them when they book about the humiliation factor in the event of a refusal.


Thanks everyone who's posted so far.  Additional votes and opinions are welcome.


Firecat

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 01:36:05 PM »
I'd have hated it if my DH had staged a big public proposal. But, in situations where the couple has discussed marriage and it's clear to both that it's a "when," not an "if," I think it depends on the couple involved.

As a member of the audience, I probably wouldn't think more than "Good for them" in the event of a "yes," and "ouch" in the event of a "no." And then I'd go on with my day.

LadyL

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 02:15:47 PM »
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.

I have never heard such a strong opinion about this before - interesting! If you don't mind me being nosy, how do you feel about more subtle proposals that happen in public - i.e. near a fountain where the couple had their first kiss or something - if it is just a quiet "get down on one knee and ask" affair? Do you feel it should be done with the equivalent privacy as sex? What about it moves it from "personal" to "intimate" for you?

Personally, we didn't have so much a proposal as it was literally a discussion at the kitchen table about our future where we agreed that getting married was a good thing to do before buying property together and/or having kids.

WillyNilly

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 02:21:12 PM »
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.

I have never heard such a strong opinion about this before - interesting! If you don't mind me being nosy, how do you feel about more subtle proposals that happen in public - i.e. near a fountain where the couple had their first kiss or something - if it is just a quiet "get down on one knee and ask" affair? Do you feel it should be done with the equivalent privacy as sex? What about it moves it from "personal" to "intimate" for you?

Personally, we didn't have so much a proposal as it was literally a discussion at the kitchen table about our future where we agreed that getting married was a good thing to do before buying property together and/or having kids.

If it happens in a public place, but privately, that's fine by me - I probably would not notice, or if I did, I would turn my head, just as I would if a couple were making out extensively and groping one another.  But at a sporting event, party or other way in which I was captive audience?  I would be very upset to be held captive to such a display.  It really would be extremely uncomfortable and give me a heeby-jeeby feeling and would sour my mood for the rest of the event.

onyonryngs

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 02:27:47 PM »
I don't think I'd feel captive as an audience member at a sporting event.  One can always get up to grab a drink, use the restroom, etc.  They're always doing goofy stuff at events like that so whether it's the tshirt cannon or a proposal, I don't think the audience needs to stay seated for the entire event.   However, I would not be comfortable with one of the very public proposals if it were my own.  I would also hope that if the couple knows each other well enough, the one proposing could figure out if it's an appropriate location.  Mine was private, which is how I liked it.

ilrag

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2013, 02:48:07 PM »
I too think public proposals are icky for lack of a better word.

I think it's the similar vibe the the bigger ring, best party, show-offy nature pushed by certain parts of the wedding industry. If it was a frequent occurrence at any venue I patronized I'd stop going there.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2013, 02:58:38 PM »
I answered "refuse publicly," but that's because I have the vague hope that a few very public "No, I won't/can't marry you" answers displayed on Jumbotrons or the equivalent might discourage people from making such proposals when it's not some form "we've already agreed we want to get married, but it won't be official until I give you a ring."

On an individual basis, the poor surprised person who doesn't want to accept should say whatever is least stressful for her, whether it's "no" or a loud "What?!? Are you kidding?!" or silence, or "yes" and then telling the guy "no" when they're offstage. But I'm like LadyL, there was nothing like a formal proposal in my relationship, just a conversation in which it became clear to both of us that it would be a good idea to get married. (I literally don't remember whether I or my now-husband said something first.) I don't get the appeal of that sort of proposal in front of dozens to thousands of strangers, so I may be more aware of it as a form of pressure than as a romantic gesture. (My idea of romantic tends toward small things, like turning up at my girlfriend's with a gift-wrapped box of a kind of chocolate I know she likes.)
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DaDancingPsych

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2013, 03:22:25 PM »
My advice to any guy (or girl) wanting to propose in public, would be that you should have some private conversations with the other person beforehand. Actually, anyone wanting to propose in any fashion should. I think all proposals should end in a “yes”, because the couple has already had TONS of conversations and knows that they do want to get married. The surprise of the proposal is not the proposal itself, but rather when and where it happens. It’s the wise thing to do on so many levels. There is more that goes into deciding to marry than a two second thought without any discussion can answer.

If a refusal is needed, I would probably recommend a quiet comment for the need to speak privately. Hopefully, the public will back off and the couple can discuss whatever that they need to on their own time. I think saying, "Yes" and then changing the answer is cruel. Saying, "No" is better, but still hurtful. I think getting out of the spotlight is the best answer.

To the OP’s daughter, I would suggest that once they realize that they are experiencing a refusal, that they should get the cameras off the couple and get the audience engaged (no pun intended) in something else. I would probably always have the announcer scheduled up next, so that he/she can either say, “Let’s hear it for the happy couple!!!” or “Don’t forget that the free hot dog drawing will happen at intermission.” I think the politest thing that they can do is to give the couple their space and avoid jeering by moving people along to something else. Hot dogs might sound insensitive, but I would much prefer that than having to be seen on the big screen trying not to hurt someone’s feelings!!!

rashea

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2013, 03:30:26 PM »
I think I'd say "I'm happy you asked" give him a hug, and tell him no in his ear. It's about as kind a response as I can think of, without leading him on. I'm less concerned about leading the public or his friends/family on.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2013, 03:30:46 PM »
If a couple are both into the big, dramatic public proposal, that's fine for them; I would never want one myself, nor do I particularly enjoy watching them. I voted I would say no, if my answer was no. And I agree with those who said that even if my answer might not have been no before that point, surprising me in so public a manner would show the person did not really know me very well at all, and they would get downgraded to at best a "let's talk about this later."

I am of the opinion that if two people have discussed marriage and agreed to marry each other, they are now engaged and there is no need for any kind of "one moment in time" proposal event, whether public or private. I should say, this is my opinion for me. For other people, it's really no skin off my nose if they want to do it differently. Privately I think it's a bit silly that my friend and her SO discussed marriage, agreed to it, and picked out a ring--but she didn't consider herself "engaged" until he actually presented her with the ring, as an "event" that she could then tell people about. BUT, it is totally not my business and I would never tell her I thought what she did was silly, because that's just rude. Let her have what she enjoys. Same with the jumbotron people. I feel very strongly about it for myself, but I also feel very strongly about not telling other people what to do in a harmless situation.
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White Lotus

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 03:48:05 PM »
I like Rashea's solution, but I think my instinctive response, whatever answer I ultimately gave, would be a horrified look and, "Not NOW!"  My instincts say this should be a private moment.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2013, 03:55:28 PM »
Rashea's response made me think of something. 

The person doing the asking has had time to really think and consider if they want to marry the other person. 

Why should the person being asked not get the same amount of time to think it over before making a committment? 

I think that is one of the reasons I dislike Jumbotron proposals.  It's putting the person on the spot.

Or else, the couple has already agreed to marry and the public proposal is just a way to give the ring, do a "look at me, look at me" and create a story around their engagement.