The other day, a friend of mine asked me when Kevin and I will get engaged.

Actually, he asked if Kevin and I were “talking,” and pretended to wiggle a ring on his left finger.

Sure, we’ve been talking. And at this month of the year, it’s hard not to think about. Because now is the time of year when cute proposals hit the news.

You know, the guy who proposes at a sports game on the scoreboard. The guy who pops the question in a comic book.

We’ve all seen or heard of odd proposals. And usually the girls says, “Yes.” But what you don’t see is that later, she’s a bit bummed about the story. Remember, it’s a story you both will be asked to tell many times — even decades later. “How did he pop the question?”

And don’t forget, some women have been dreaming of this moment their entire lives. So guys, here is a how-to list to make sure your engagement story lives up to fairy tale expectations :

1. Avoid the scoreboard. First of all, guys, those can go horribly wrong. Just look at these videos on Huffington Post. (Though some appear to be commercials for a jeweler.)

A guy proposed on Valentine’s Day Sunday at a Rangers’ game and the woman just walked away. Turns out it was a hoax. But would you want the public humiliation if she says, “No”? Plus, I’m just one woman, but sharing one of the biggest moments of my life with 70,000 of my closest friendly strangers does not make good romance.

2. Set the mood. Speaking of romance, think like a chick flick for a moment. Sure, it’s not fair that producers in Hollywood have come up with all these fake movie moments against which you will be judged. But now that they’re out there, at least try for something special. Flowers, candles or twinkle lights,  music — figure out how to create a special scene and feeling. Watch a few movies and jewelry commercials if it helps.

3. As any real estate agent will tell you, Location Location Location. This will vary depending on your fiancee-to-be of course. But you can’t go wrong with a place that has some meaning to the two of you. The place you met, or where you went on your first date, had your first kiss, said, “I love you” for the first time.” You get the idea. It can even be at home, if you set the mood right (see No. 2).

4. Dress well. True, once you open the little black box she may not be coherent enough to vividly recall every detail. But proposing in your sweat pants and that T-shirt you always wear while playing X-box? She might remember how you didn’t bother to make it special by wearing something decent. I’m not asking for a tux (unless you’re doing something big – see No. 7), just step up from your daily duds.

5. Yes, get down on one knee. Back to the “she’s been dreaming of this moment forever” part. We’ve all been brainwashed to think that’s part of the deal, so just do it. According to at least one Internet source, this custom “hearkens back to the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his mistress and his master. The knight would kneel before a tournament and wait for ‘his’ lady to toss him her ribbon or colors, as an indication of her favor.”

6. Rehearse. She loves you and she will laugh with you if your nervousness causes you to stumble while getting down on one knee, or if you tripped up word or two. But having a few pre-question lines about why she’s the one will make the moment — and the story she tells later — that much more special in her mind. Think about it: why do you want her to marry you?

7. If you do something big, PLAN. Sounds obvious, right? But if you’re going for something grand scale — using other people to pull off a stunt — then all sorts of things can go wrong. Make sure you pick reliable people, double-check the equipment and go back to No. 6 and rehearse it once.

8. Finally, do some research on the ring. If you’re going to shell out that much money on this one piece of rock and metal, you might as well do it once. As Kevin said,  “I’d want to pick a ring that you wouldn’t want to replace later.” The jewelry can be resized later, but try to find out her ring size. I’ve given my best friend this information just in case anyone ever asks (hint, hint). I’ve also given a few hints here and there about the type of ring I’d like. Might sound tacky to you, but I’d feel pretty bad if I asked him to return it because I don’t wear yellow gold.

Or, drag her into a jewelry store to find out. Sure, that doesn’t leave a surprise, but that way you know she’ll like it.

Any good engagement stories to share, good or bad?

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