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A Guide To Popping The Question

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“Will you marry me?” It’s probably the most important question you’ll ever ask in your life. It’s a leap of faith, a change of Facebook status and a risky proposition that should only be entered into with a tremendous amount of confidence, full-on Mister-Mojo-rising bravado and enough originality to make sure she says yes. There are three Man Code principles that should be applied when proposing.

1.Know your outcome. If you’re not sure she’ll say yes, you should probably consider your timing, delivery, wardrobe and grooming habits. And rethink your ongoing participation on Tinder.

2. Don’t be afraid. It’s scary asking someone to share a life of lost moments, traffic jams, fights over the remote, on-the-edge-of-oblivion bliss, laughter, anger, babies or no babies, grandparents’ house or Cabo for Christmas, missed opportunities, broken promises, unending love, commitment and kindness. Yes, it’s scary as shit. Nerves are inevitable, but don’t back out just because your stomach is flip-flopping. You can do it. Because you are THE MAN. And she deserves you. And you deserve her.

3. Make it unforgettable. There’s a dozen ways to do it. Underwater, post-coitus, pre-coitus, mid-coitus (not recommended), in the bank, at work, on the JumboTron, at the zoo, under duress, at the end of her Pappy’s shotgun, in front of her friends, in front of your parents, all alone in a place that is magical, mysterious, wonderful, beauteous and so bright-toned wonderful that you know it will last forever.

groom in blue suit seeing bride for first time

How to Propose

Now that you know the principles, it’s all about timing, delivery, venue, look and following up. It’s about owning the logistics. Who knows, if things go right, you might just be showing her your Oh Face.

Timing. Man Code indicates timing is everything. Did she have a shitty day at work? Are you drunk? Did you have to get drunk just to muster up the courage? Is someone horrible in the White House? Did you lose the ring? Barney, forget about it, bag it.

Delivery. There’s an entire chapter dedicated to proposing in the 23-volume Man Code Limited Edition Collection (perfectly bound in rare faux zebra foal leather). A high-level overview provides a few cut-and-dried Dos and Don’ts:

  • Don’t provide a “circle yes or no” option like you did when you asked out Winnie Cooper in the fifth grade.

  • Do keep it short and classy.

  • Don’t make it a joke, but do be funny.

  • Do get down on one knee.

  • Do tell her why she’s the most amazing, sensual, intoxicating woman in the world.

  • Don’t comment on how much you love her boobs, her ass or her pinkie toe.

  • Don’t “neg” her.

  • Do find a way to talk about your future, about your life, about how she makes you a better man.

  • Don’t, and we repeat, not ever, tell her that you think she could do better.

groom in black tuxedo reading letter from bride

We found this little tidbit from the Man Code chapter on delivery to be particularly illuminating: “While improvisation is encouraged in sexual congress, jazz flute and Mr. Roboto dance routines, it should be viewed with extreme caution when requesting a young lady’s hand in marriage. Marriage has been around for a long time. Your Dad got down on one knee to ask your Mom to marry him. So did your grandpa and great-grandpa. Honor the tradition.”

Location. While much of our review of the Man Code sections on marriage indicates a seriously obstreperous (almost Cheneyian) attitude to improvising when popping the question, it does seem to espouse improvisation in selecting the location. Ask her anywhere. If you love skiing, ask her on the top of the mountain. If you both love to cook, ask her after you make dinner together… in your villa in Greece. Many men choose to work toward grand gestures, like asking a potential bride for her hand in marriage at a ball game. This tactic results in a ‘yes’ 80 percent of the time, as the result of agoraphobia, peer pressure, apraxia and other social anxiety disorders. However, marriage is about you and her. Ask her somewhere private, make it romantic and make it forever.

Look. Unless you are slipping out of a champagne soirée, you probably won’t be wearing a tux when you ask the question. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look and feel good. Odds are she’s going to want some pictures afterward and you want to show your grandkids someday something you can be proud of. We do recommend, however, dressing for the occasion. If you’re decked out in a full suit and tie ensemble and she’s wearing sweats and “just rolled out of bed” hair, she won’t too happy. At least after she gets over the initial shock and excitement of you asking.

Following Up. She said yes! You’re in. But now you have to follow through. There’s a lot of options for Man Code subscribers. Throw an engagement party, elope, buy a farm, send her a note of staggering genius, go to that ball game or big party to tell everybody the good news. It’s gonna be a good life.

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