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A Guide To Popping The Question

“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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