My brother is getting married this Saturday.

Tania is the flower girl (unfortunately, she came down with chicken pox on Monday).

Jason is the ring bearer (he had his tonsils removed exactly two weeks ago).

One thing I have never understood is why women act so surprised when they are proposed to. After all, if you are in a relationship, you must have some idea of where it is going. No?

When I asked my borther's girlfriend if she was surprised, she said "Very much so. It was totally unexpected."

I remember finding this odd 20+ years ago when watching America's Funniest Videos. Periodically, they would show clips of women who had been proposed to. I always thought their reactions were silly. After all, it is not like they won the lottery. They were in a relationship that presumably had a direction and purpose and, presumably, marriage was the expected outcome.

For the curious (and showing once again how different I am from others), Sofia is the only girlfriend I ever had and I made it clear to her at the outset that my intent was marriage. (Now, if only I could apply such focus and intent to the rest of my life.)


I think you're absolutely right....except maybe if they've only been going out a short while..then they could be surprised. Usually a couple recognizes the depth of their feeling. I do wonder though when people, as you did, say they knew very early on that they wanted to marry someone. I'd sure want to know a lot more about a person than you glean from a short time if I were to marry them. The more experiences you share in all different kinds of situations, the more you know how you get along in everyday life. I met my husband at 22 in 4th year university, having only had one other boyfriend for a year, and I knew him for 4 1/2 years before we married. After a surprising and hurtful break-up, I wanted to be sure or at least sure that it was an awfully good risk. It's always a risk...people and things in general can change.
Barbara said…
Richard -- You are unique. Most men are not nearly so straightforward with their intentions. Although I do find it surprising that women don't suspect a proposal is coming. Can Tania walk down the aisle and scatter her petals with the chicken pox?
Cavalock said…
Congrats to your brother! hope you all have a great time at the wedding!
b said…
Did you know your brother was getting married in advance or did they just spring it on you?! Regardless, congratulations and best wishes to them.

Yeah, I agree with you on this one. I don't think a proposal should be shocking or unexpected necessarily. But I do believe that a lot of that reaction is purely excitement that has been building up for a girl's entire life. So, even if she does/should see it coming, there is often some kind of crazy emotional release there.
KayMac said…
i really enjoyed this post! enjoyed your perspective...i think if i ever get proposed to again i will just look the man in the eye and say..."now, i KNOW you know my answer." or something like that.

Hope your kids are well and congrats to your brother and new sis in law.
RennyBA said…
May they live happlily ever after - greetings from Norway!

Btw: What you are focused on, you get more of you know:-)
Barbara: I hope she doesn't spread petals with the chicken pox! I think she should spread healthy ones!! HA! Couldn't resist!

Richard: Have a great time and hope the kids are well!
ingrid said…
I have a theory about the surprise...for some women anyway, I think that many women have dated men with a complete aversion to marriage. As a result, they have hardened themselves against expectation, and chosen to accept things as they are and the commitment for what it is. After several breakups resulting from making "too much of a big deal" over the marriage thing, they become genuinely ok with it, despite the fact that the little girl who wanted a wedding is still inside...
Barbara said…
MOI -- Ah, the placement of a phrase! Those would be some pretty sick petals...
Richard said…
MOI: you can't know everything about a person, but you can sure know a lot about them before deciding to "go steady" (I think is the quaint term). For me there is a big distinction between being friends with someone and being in a romantic relationship with someone. It probably has something to do with my tendency towards hyper-literalism.

barbara: I did misrepresent a bit, most of my male friends who are married, have had only one girlfriend as well, however, in their case, and most peoples' in general, the objective seems to be to get to the relationship stage, without thinking out the end game.

By the time of the wedding, her chicken pox was clearing up. The vesicles were drying and there were no new ones. A bit of foundation to help cover the red spots helped too (although, I have promised her to airbrush out all red spots form the photos - this is going to take time).

cavalock: we all had a great time. The only wedding I have been to that was better was my own (but, maybe I am a biased observer).

breal: I knew about a year in advance. People often have interesting emotional responses. I often find them odd because I keep expecting people to be more rational. Sometimes, I think people live fragile lives on the edge of insanity. Certainly, when I was going through my despondent period, I could sense I was very close to a precipice and wondered if most people lived the entire lives that way.

kaymac: my perspectives are never typical, but, you know what, they seem so-o-o-o normal to me.

rennyba: thank you.

ingrid: I have been missing you this long while. There is no question that there are many kinds of people and many reasons why things don't always work out.

A friend of mine was very dead set against marriage (his rationale was that 50% ended in divorce and he didn't want to be a statistic) - eventually, his girlfriend of 9 years left him. In another case, a friend of mine had been dating for 5 years, while he was not averse to marriage, it just did not occur to him during his relationship (eventually they did marry).

I think it is terrible for the child inside to be locked away. I often think peoples' inner child is far too often hurt and disappointed.
b said…
Do you think that people act so emotional because they are at a precipice in their lives or constantly choosing to live at said precipice/on the edge of insanity? I think that many people just want to feel alive and for me, rationality often stifles that sense of being alive. However, there is seemingly greater stability in rational behavior.
Richard said…
No, I think they act irrationally because they are on the brink of toppling over.

Under normal circumstances, people should behave ... erm ... normally - in a calm, well reasoned manner.

However, when they are "on the edge", they become irrational, small corrections suddenly become wild swings.

A good example for many people is threading a needle. A fairly hard task, but most people should have the eye/hand coordination to do it. The problem is that people start overcompensating and find it increasingly difficult to thread the needle. I am sure there is a term for this - which I can't remember at the moment.

Another example is walking a narrow beam - like a fence. If it is only one foot off the ground, most people can do it without losing balance. Take it up to 12 feet, even if the beam is wider, most people will find it harder to walk. We can posit that the consequences of failure are greater and we become more conscious of what we are doing. However, it does not alter the fact that we end up overcompensating and wildly sway to avoid falling.
There are so many levels of friendships, but the Romantic relationship combines basic friendship and just knowing a person very well, and the chemistry thing which attracts you and gives rise to the desire to spend the rest of your lives together intimately. At my sister's wedding, the man who gave the toast to the bride said, "Today, she is marrying her best friend." I thought that was so poignant.
Richard said…
MOI: Which is what I thought when I married Sofia.

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