A DE­CENT PRO­POSAL

AS THE DATE AP­PROACHES WHEN GAY MAR­RIAGE FI­NALLY BE­COMES LE­GAL, MATT NEWBURY EX­PLORES THE PROM­ISES AND PIT­FALLS OF POP­PING THE QUES­TION

Pride Life Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Per­fect – and not so per­fect – places to pop the ques­tion

There’s only one thing worse than hav­ing your wed­ding pro­posal re­jected and that’s be­ing pub­li­cally hu­mil­i­ated in dev­as­tat­ing fash­ion at the same time. And it doesn’t get much worse than be­ing turned down in front of all your clos­est friends at the bot­tom of the Grand Canyon…

One am­bi­tious ro­man­tic came up with an elab­o­rate and ex­pen­sive plan to pro­pose at the bot­tom of this mag­nif­i­cent canyon - one of the Seven Nat­u­ral Won­ders of the World. He’d ar­ranged for the friends to al­ready be down there and then or­gan­ised a Grand Canyon he­li­copter flight for him and his un­sus­pect­ing boyfriend as part of a Las Ve­gas hol­i­day.

When the he­li­copter landed in the val­ley, he got down on one knee in front of his star­tled part­ner and the well-wish­ers got ready to jump out from be­hind the near­est cac­tus and shout “sur­prise!” How­ever, in­stead of his part­ner ac­cept­ing the of­fer and declar­ing ev­er­last­ing love as the tears rolled down his face, he just looked com­pletely mor­ti­fied and flatly de­clined the of­fer of mar­riage.

So up­set was the guy who had planned the de­tailed sce­nario, he jumped back in the he­li­copter and left his dev­as­tated boyfriend and the rest of the party stranded in one of the largest holes on earth. Once back in Ve­gas he had the heart-break­ing task of can­celling the wed­ding ar­range­ments he had made for that evening as well. If you were look­ing for a def­i­ni­tion of “epic fail” then this very well could be it.

There are sev­eral valu­able lessons that can be taken away from this wretched tale, es­pe­cially if you are toy­ing with the idea of propos­ing to your boyfriend or girl­friend any­time in the near fu­ture. The most ob­vi­ous thing to be sure about be­fore you ask some­one to marry you is that they are likely to say “yes”. Surely mar­riage should have been some­thing you have talked about if you are in a com­mit­ted and bal­anced same-sex re­la­tion­ship, so, while a pro­posal might be a sur­prise, it shouldn’t come com­pletely out of the blue.

A per­fect ex­am­ple is the very first cou­ple to get en­gaged un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s new gay mar­riage act min­utes after the leg­is­la­tion had been ap­proved. The cou­ple were tak­ing part in a vigil out­side Par­lia­ment when the good news reached them and Ed Ford­ham spon­ta­neously dropped down on one knee in front of Rus­sell Eagling, his part­ner of 15 years. Ed said the pro­posal wasn’t planned as a stunt, but the nearby choir singing an Era­sure track couldn’t have been bet­ter planned.

Although Rus­sell says the pro­posal was a com­plete sur­prise, it wasn’t as if the cou­ple wouldn’t have talked about the prospect of mar­riage – they were after all tak­ing part in a vigil cam­paign­ing for its le­gal­i­sa­tion. Still by say­ing “yes” the cou­ple now have a place in his­tory, even hav­ing their good news men­tioned in the House of Com­mons and a con­grat­u­la­tions tweeted by Nick Clegg to his 120,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers.

While there was noth­ing wrong with the lo­ca­tion of the Grand Canyon pro­posal (mil­lions of peo­ple have got en­gaged in iconic places like the top of the Eif­fel Tower or on a gon­dola in Venice or in Las Ve­gas), the next ques­tion­able decision he made was the very pub­lic na­ture of his pro­posal. Why did all the friends need to be there? The only small mercy is that he didn’t de­cide to fly their par­ents out as well. That said, some gay peo­ple thrive on show­man­ship and want to in­cor­po­rate this into their pro­pos­als and sub­se­quent wed­dings.

While some peo­ple would pre­fer to pop the ques­tion in an in­ti­mate and ro­man­tic set­ting – per­haps a beach, or a restau­rant or the lo­ca­tion of their first date - other peo­ple would hap­pily do it on the main stage at a Pride event with a drag queen lead­ing a rous­ing cho­rus of Bey­oncé’s Put A Ring On It. Some peo­ple are even happy to ask the ques­tion on na­tional TV… well, QVC ac­tu­ally.

Pre­sen­ter Will Gow­ing’s boyfriend pro­posed to him live on UK TV last De­cem­ber. Will was dressed in an elf hat for a Christ­mas edi­tion of Ali­son Young’s beauty show when he read out what he be­lieved to be a cus­tomer mes­sage:

“Hi, Ali and Will. I found my hero prod­uct at QVC over nine years ago, since then I’ve used it ev­ery day and the re­sults keep get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter. It’s added enor­mously to my life, changed my out­look of the world and I now can’t imag­ine my life with­out it. The prod­uct I was lucky enough to find almost ten years ago was the love I share with you, Will Gow­ing. Will you marry me?”

Although an ex­tremely high risk strat­egy, we are pleased to say that Will said “yes”. Of course, some gay peo­ple like to doc­u­ment their lives on video, from se­cretly film­ing them­selves com­ing out to their par­ents to elab­o­rate flash mob pro­pos­als – well, at least you can mon­i­tor their suc­cess by the num­ber of hits the clips re­ceive

and you might even pull in some ad­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue.

Such are the pop­u­lar­ity of th­ese sorts of pro­pos­als now, there are even com­pa­nies in the States like BookAFlashMob.com to pro­vide per­fectly chore­ographed dance rou­tines be­fore you ask the ques­tion. While it is easy to be cyn­i­cal about th­ese sorts of Amer­i­can-style pub­lic dis­plays of af­fec­tion, it would take a hard hearted in­deed not to watch some­thing like Carl Marucci’s Mar­riage Pro­posal in front of the An­gels in Amer­ica Foun­tain in Cen­tral Park on You Tube (tinyurl.com/n6bf8yw ) with­out be­ing even a teen­sy­weensy bit moved.

Even the Glee cast got in on the ac­tion when Blaine pro­posed to Kurt on the stair­case where they first met, unit­ing en­emy choirs New Di­rec­tions, The War­blers, The Haver­brook School for the Deaf and Vo­cal Adren­a­line for the first time in a rous­ing ren­di­tion of All You Need is Love. Cheesy yes, but im­por­tant for the young au­di­ence de­mo­graph­ics that en­joy the show.

In­ter­est­ingly if you Google “gay mar­riage pro­posal” the most popular vi­ral video ever fea­tures 13 chil­dren re­act­ing to a se­ries of same-sex pro­pos­als. It’s def­i­nitely worth watch­ing “Kids Re­act to Gay Mar­riage”, as it will give you a lot of hope for the next gen­er­a­tion.

If all of this plan­ning and or­gan­i­sa­tion to make your pro­posal ex­tra spe­cial makes you break out in a ner­vous sweat and you’ve got a bit of a bud­get, you could al­ways call on a company like The Pro­posers (the­p­ro­posers.co.uk). Yes, there re­ally are com­pa­nies who will ar­range ev­ery­thing from a trea­sure hunt with clues lead­ing to you down on one knee, to a boat trip down the Thames with peo­ple spell­ing out “Will You Marry Me?” in rainbow um­brel­las from a bridge you’re pass­ing un­der. For ev­ery per­son who wants to write their pro­posal on a bill­board, in a news­pa­per ad­vert or across the sky, there’s another per­son who be­lieves in the ro­mance and in­ti­macy of pop­ping the ques­tion. The fi­nal ques­tion the failed Grand Canyon pro­posal raises is who the pro­posal was for – be­cause it should be for the per­son you are ask­ing to marry you and not for your­self or your guests or for mil­lions of peo­ple you will never meet.

Un­less you have joined a re­li­gion that ac­cepts polygamy (and most of them don’t seem to be very gay-friendly) a mar­riage is be­tween two peo­ple and is about their love and com­mit­ment to each other. One of the most en­dear­ing pro­posal sto­ries we have heard re­cently fea­tures a les­bian cou­ple talk­ing a ro­man­tic walk along a beach in Bournemouth. They were pass­ing some beach huts and

“Some gay peo­ple thrive on show­man­ship and want to in­cor­po­rate this into their pro­pos­als and sub­se­quent wed­dings”

dis­cussing how nice it would be to one day own one of the colour­ful bathing huts.

“Let’s try the door of one and see what they look like inside” sug­gested one of the women. She then pro­ceeded to try one of the doors as her part­ner protested. When the door opened, inside vin­tage bunt­ing had been hung that spelt out “Will You Marry Me?” There was also a full pic­nic, a bot­tle of cham­pagne and two glasses. The cou­ple were plan­ning to move to the sea­side town, so the pro­posal couldn’t have been any more per­sonal or ap­pro­pri­ate.

Of course mar­riage isn’t for ev­ery­one and many gay peo­ple would wince at the thought of ever en­ter­ing into a com­mit­ted and monog­a­mous re­la­tion­ship. But it’s im­por­tant to recog­nise that we fi­nally could, should an ar­row from Cupid’s bow ever take us un­ex­pect­edly.

Good luck if you’re think­ing of get­ting down on one knee any­time soon and we do hope you don’t end up stranded down the Grand Canyon.

Although ap­par­ently it’s lovely at this time of year.

THE GRAND CANYON, A SPEC­TAC­U­LAR PLACE TO PRO­POSE - BUT NOT FOR EV­ERY­ONE

POP­PING THE QUES­TION AT THE EIF­FEL TOWER

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