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put a ring on it

Men, please don't propose to your girlfriend if it involves stealing the limelight from her

‘It’s time we call a halt to this worrying trend of straight men proposing to their girlfriends at inopportune times.’

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.30.31 PM Rachel / Twitter Rachel / Twitter / Twitter

EARLIER THIS WEEK, a video went viral showing a man proposing to his longtime girlfriend at the New York City Marathon. Chances are you have seen it by now but if not, here is how it goes.

A young woman is running with the pack through the streets of Manhattan when she sees friends and family at the barrier cheering her on. She jogs over, beaming and weary. All of a sudden, her boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her on the sidelines. She tearfully says yes, embraces him, and then continues on with the small job of completing her marathon. No big deal! 

The video was shared widely with media organisations commenting on how the woman in question had finished the race with “a medal around her neck and a ring on her finger”.

The internet recoiled in horror. How dare this man propose to his girlfriend in the middle of her marathon? Could he not let her just have this one thing? Did he even stop to think about how this public proposal might affect her time?

Now I am sure this woman bears no ill will towards her fiancé but I do think it’s time we call a halt to this worrying trend of straight men proposing to their girlfriends at inopportune times.

That is why I have compiled a handy guide to when you should and shouldn’t propose to your girlfriend.

Should I propose to my girlfriend when she’s on stage at the Rose of Tralee?

image RTE RTE

This is like asking, ‘Should I practice fart noises with my armpit in the middle of my grandmother’s month’s mind?’ The answer is, quite obviously, no.

Your girlfriend is on stage trying her damnedest to win a year off work. She is pretending to laugh at Daithi O Sé’s jokes. She is doing everything in her power to sell this story about the time she milked a cow on a school trip. She is probably sweating profusely. Oh, and did I mention it’s all being broadcast on live television?

 Nothing about this situation screams romance. Just let your girlfriend do her thing and don’t make it any more excruciating than it needs to be. Smile and wave at the camera, by all means, but don’t even think about approaching the stage.

In fact, use this time to think of all the other magical places you could propose to her. You know, ones that aren’t a makeshift marquee in Tralee. 

Should I propose to my girlfriend at her graduation?

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So, your girlfriend is graduating from college. After years of blood, sweat, tears and minor nervous breakdowns, she finally has that all important sheet of paper. It’s a momentous occasion, one that signals the beginning of a new chapter in her life. It’s not often we get to celebrate our accomplishments, but this is one day where you are given permission to pat yourself on the back and say, ‘Hell yeah, I got it done.’

So why not put that ring back in your pocket and let her savour the moment? Why steal her thunder and make it all about you?

“But I want to make it a day she’ll never forget,” you protest. Hmm, did you know you can have more than one unforgettable day in your life? For instance, I have never forgotten the day I saw Sex and the City: The Movie and I have never forgotten the day I saw Sex and The City 2. 

There is no need to two birds, one stone this. Save the big question for another time. This is her day. 

Should I propose to my girlfriend as she is standing on the medal podium at the Olympics? 

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I cannot believe this is a thing that needs to be said but do not under any circumstances propose to your girlfriend when she is standing on the medal podium at the Olympics.

Do you ever hear of women barging up the Olympic podium to propose to her boyfriend as they accept their gold medals? No, because any woman who did that would instantly be regarded as needy and insecure. And you shouldn’t do it either because regardless of intent, it just reeks of ego and entitlement. 

In this moment, you are the Steve Buscemi to her Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. You are a supporting character, not the star. Your job is to stay in the stands and take a million Instagram-worthy photos on your phone. Your job is not to ask for her hand in marriage in front of the world’s media and turn her incredible achievement into a quirky backdrop for your proposal. 

Let her run her victory lap and bask in the glory of her success. Now is not the time for a surprise cameo.

Should I propose to my girlfriend as she runs her first New York City Marathon?

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.27.56 PM CBS CBS

God, no. 

What if she pukes? What if it affects her finishing time? You don’t train six months for your first marathon with the aim of… having your boyfriend interrupt your groove with a surprise proposal. 

If you like it then by all means put a ring on it. Maybe just wait until the end of the race. 

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