From romantic movies to jewelry store ads, it's clear that we, as a society, are pretty set on the idea that a man has to ask a woman to marry him. But when it comes to relationships, traditional gender roles are becoming blurred, and more and more guys are finding themselves on the receiving end of a proposal. (This 2018 Pinterest report found that searches for "women propose to men ideas" were up 336 percent!)
It's a beautiful thing! Whatever your partner's gender is, nothing compares to the rush of having someone love you so much, they ask you to spend your life with them. To prove it to you, we asked three men what it felt like to be proposed to, and how people reacted to it. (Plus, one of their fiancées told us why she decided to pop the question.)
1. She Beat Him to It
“We met while I was backpacking in Europe. I was in France and we were introduced through mutual friends. It didn't take us very long before we knew we wanted to spend our lives together and we talked about it a lot. I went to Paris for the holidays. It had been four months since I'd seen her and I was planning on us going out to dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date and I was gonna propose there on the second day.
"I get to Paris on the first day and at our Airbnb she came out with this cute little white mug with painted blue waves on it. I could tell it was kind of unique but my first thought was just that it was a unique mug that was in the Airbnb. Then I took a sip from it and at the bottom I see something drawn in it. I looked at it another second and I saw that it was two little penguins, which were a call back to something in our relationship, and written above the penguins she hand-painted into the mu:, 'Will you marry me?' I looked up to her in shock and disbelief, like, is this real? I was just blown away and happy with it and overjoyed. It just made me so happy.
"Most of the time when I tell girls about it they're like, wow she's so cool, what a badass. Honestly, the funniest reactions are from the guys because I get so many guys who are much more traditional, alpha-male, masculine, types of guys who I tell and they're concerned for me. They say things like, 'How did you feel about that? I haven't met any other guys who've been proposed to by a girl.'” —Aaron, 23
2. He Woke Up and Got a Ring Put on It
“I got proposed to when I was 21. I was taking a short nap before we were heading out to an anniversary dinner and when I woke up, my fiancé was down on one knee with a Tiffany’s ring box opened in his hand. As I groggily woke up, I felt the ring being placed on my finger already. It was an exciting experience, even though we aren’t together anymore. I didn’t know it was coming but I felt excited and I couldn’t wait to tell my close friends/cousins. I couldn’t tell my parents as, at the time, they didn’t know I was gay.
"Since I’m gay, it wasn’t a foreign concept to be proposed to as a man, but it sure brought on (along with the excitement) the stress of, ‘How am I going to tell my parents? Will they come to the wedding?’ Some of these questions still cross my mind as I’m not married yet, but thankfully, at least my parents know now.” —Umair, 32
3. She Enlisted Their Daughters to Help With the Surprise
“She asked me if I wanted to take a walk down the beach and then turned me around when I started in the wrong direction. As we rounded a tree, I saw my brother posed with his camera and the girls standing there. I thought they were doing some kind of photo shoot and turned to take a picture of the scenery. So, once I ventured into reality, the girls both read letters that they had written about how important I was to them, and what I had meant to them so far. Afterwards, Jamie proposed, and of course I accepted!
"Jamie had talked it over with the girls, and when they were excited about it, she brought the idea to my parents. They picked out a ring and started laying plans. They kept everything quiet, even sneaking things like rose petals into the suitcases. It wasn't just breaking with societal norms, it was also making it all happen they way it did. The tree we stood by was chosen because I had pointed out because of how amazing it was.
"While the proposal was beautiful, everything that has happened since then has been even more amazing. I've seen so many women brought to tears as Jamie tells them the story. We've heard so much from parents that have shared the story with their daughters. I can clearly see that we're ready for more change and the fact that my family took such a big step is truly beautiful.” —Chris, 43
Why Jamie Proposed To Chris:
“I have two girls and wanted to show them that it’s OK to go after the things you want, even if it’s the man you love and it’s not traditional to propose. So, the three of us planned a proposal in Hawaii on the beach. We ask permission from his parents and picked out the ring together. It was beautiful and he was definitely surprised and absolutely loved that we did it. I have no regrets!” - Jamie, 42