Dear Henry, I wonder if I could ask your advice? I want to propose to my girlfriend, we have been dating for 3 years and I want to take the plunge. I have had conflicting advice about what to do, but especially around doing the deed on Valentines Day.
Could you give me some advice?
Yours, John M. London, England
Uncle Henry Replies:
Why thank you for this question. I thought it appropriate to answer it this week with Valentine looming large! That reminds me to get my cards, but back to your question young man.
The difficult and somewhat dangerous field of proposals.I say dangerous because it is one of things you need to get just right, as the lady in question will be talking about it right up until the wedding and maybe for some time after it.
As with everything that we talk about here at The Perfect Gentleman, a little preparation goes a mighty long way. So, my first thought is to have a general conversation with you beloved and get a feel for what she would like. She might want flashy or she might want understated. She might like a grand gesture or she might want just the two of you. You have been with the lady for awhile so you should have a pretty good idea. It is one of those special moments so do take the time to get it right.
I have done it, that is propose, a few times in my life, not always successfully, I might add, so I thought I would speak to a good friend mine, who was considered the Most Romantic Man in Britain, he renewed his vows every year and proposed within 72 hours of meeting his good lady wife, to get some tips.
So here are my quick top tips with some help from young Mike.
There are a number of conventions that one thinks of, such as it has to be a diamond, it should cost 2-3 months salary and other such rules. Unfortunately, these things are marketing ploys. Simply put purchase a ring the lady will like and one that she will wear. If she likes diamonds, get one. If she likes sapphires get that. She has to be happy with it.
If you are buying it beforehand, make sure you have an accurate idea of her ring size. Take a ring of hers and get it sized, discretely.
Spend what you can afford, expensive is not always best.
Pick your time and place carefully. I suggest not too intricate a plan as then things can go wrong but if you are doing something spectacular that might be worthy of that ‘You Tube’ thingy then put in the preparation.
Choose a venue that she likes and is comfortable with. If you are doing it in a large public setting be ready for applause, cheers and other forms of congratulations.
Being a damn traditionalist, I would get down on one knee. It has a certain element of class to it.
Prepare for tears, so carry a spare handkerchief or two.
Classic examples are on Beaches, atop or in front of iconic buildings, at restaurants. If you want to do something a bit different look to weekends away, a place that she loves or maybe even a bridge over a river.
We all stumble over these on the day, and remember too much ‘dutch courage’ can make it go all wrong as I remember far too well with a little lady in America, but I digress.
Simple is good. My personal favourite is “Would you do me the honour of being my wife?”
If you are more eloquent you can say more, but as it’s a nervous time, simple is better!
One word for the wise, even in this day and age, it goes down very well to ask the person’s parents. I would in my early days have said father but sometimes that is just not possible and caused myself much embarrassment in trying to find him.
As for the question of Valentines Day, it could be seen as a little tacky to do it, but that depends if you like the Day or not. If it resonates with you then go for it! Make it a full on Romantic Extravaganza!
Personally, I think it has become a bit over commercialised but that’s the cynic in me talking. I know that young #1PG likes the day! Oh, and though we have generally mentioned Ladies here, the question of Gender is moot as far as old Henry is concerned.
So, young John in conclusion, Good Luck with the preparations and the night! We all hope it goes swimmingly well for you.
I had better pop out to the shops now and get my good lady a card and things,
Toodle Pip my Romantic Ones,