When someone proposes marriage, bear in mind that there is a question that needs to be answered


A colleague of mine was at a restaurant, and he spotted a young couple at the next table. The woman fawned over a classic diamond engagement ring, and when she put it on her finger, he decided that it was safe to ask them about it.

They had gotten engaged earlier that day, and the man told the story of the proposal, up to the point where he asked her to marry him.

My colleague then turned to the woman and teasingly asked, "And what did you say?"

The woman chuckled, then suddenly her eyes opened wide with the realization that she had skipped over this important technical detail. She became dead serious and very, very clearly said to the man seated across the table from her, "Yes."

My colleague paid for their dinner.

Related story: When I proposed to my wife, the first three things she said were, "What are you doing?", "What's this?", and "Oh, my God!"

If all you knew was that these three sentences were uttered in response to a marriage proposal, it would be difficult to determine with certainty whether the proposal was accepted or rejected.

Fortunately for me, it went well, but after the hugging and kissing, I had to remind her, "You haven't answered the question yet."

Comments (31)
  1. Andrei Muraru says:

    classic Schmosby

  2. Marc says:

    > I had to remind her, "You haven't answered the question yet."

    And the nitpickers corner comes full-circle.  :)

  3. Joe says:

    My wife said "You son of a ***!"

    I had to ask her "Is that a yes?"

  4. Mark VY says:

    I just realized: there is a reason that that you chose today for this particular post.

  5. Rob Yull says:

    My wife actually told me once that I didn't ask her.  I told her I did, but you were too busy freaking out that she didn't hear me.

  6. Eric Lippert says:

    You did better than I did. Instead of starting with "will you marry me?", which is traditional because it works, I went for "I've been thinking of getting married", to which the response was "TO WHO!?!"

  7. alternatively says:

    A fellow I know slightly once told his long-time girlfriend that he wanted to get married. She said, "I'll send a present."

    They've since married, though.

  8. Wayne says:

    I surprised my wife after having a large (fake on my side; I already had the ring) fight about getting married the week before. She called me a jerk repeatedly for about half an hour; I took that as a yes.

    [That's hilarious. I should start giving out stars again. -Raymond]
  9. John says:

    Reminds me of that AskReddit thread awhile back on rejections, the best one was something along the lines of she said "That better be a promise ring". Still makes me chuckle.

  10. Brendan says:

    This all assumes that one asks a question.

    I'd 'proposed' by ending a semi-related statement with "… and I think we should… " then handed her a phone of a shotgun wedding place.

    While she didn't like the idea of the venue, nor did I officially 'ask' or her officially said 'yes'… we did get married a month later.

  11. Katie says:

    My wife told me she was thinking of proposing to me but hadn't done anything yet because she wanted me to. I had to let her know not to do it because I had ordered the ring earlier that week and was just waiting for the jeweler to make it. The proposal wasn't much of a surprise after that. :-)

  12. I am alarmed at the apparent large number of people who are picking out rings without getting the intended recipient to buy off on the design.

  13. JamesNT says:

    Maurits,

    The problem is that a significant number of females have this "fantasy" that the male picking out the ring himself and surprising her is more romantic.  This, of course, places undue pressure on the male to purchase a desirable ring and since most males don't know the first thing about jewelry they just go more expensive.  Which, I think, is generally the idea/scheme.

    JamesNT  

    [I used a plain ring, with the understanding that my wife would upgrade it to a Ring to be Named Later. -Raymond]
  14. j b says:

    What I never understood is why so many people insist on engraving the "best before" date inside the ring.

  15. Kemp says:

    Maurits – we picked the ring together. I think the issue here is that the more level-headed/planned proposals have less dramatic stories attached and thus you don't hear about them.

  16. Adam V says:

    I actually proposed by showing my wife a puzzle that worked out to "will you marry me". To be honest, I don't remember her actually saying "yes", I just remember putting the ring on her finger.

  17. "My colleague paid for their dinner."

    Huh? :o

  18. Random User 81673623 says:

    Fleet Command,

    Presumably as a generous way of congratulating them. Unless it is in fact a typo.

  19. Gabe says:

    I too got my wife a cheap ring with the intent of having a nicer one made later — only I didn't physically give it to her. I simply hid the box in our apartment, waiting for her to eventually stumble upon it.

    When she did find it (as I recall it took several weeks) I didn't actually have to ask.

  20. Marcel says:

    Cheap ring? I went for the ring-shaped potato chips thingies, because we both like them and I thought it would be funny. She took me regardless :-D

  21. Anonymous says:

    It was St. Valentine's Day, Fleet Command. Please don't be a Fleet Kill Joy. Tell us how you met your wife and did she say "yes" explicitly?

  22. Webdoggie says:

    My girlfriend proposed to me. I said Yes. Later, she asked if I was going to ever ask her in order to make things more traditional. I said no chance as I was not going to give her the opportunity to say NO at that point…. We are still married going on 12 years!

  23. Jones K says:

    Reminds me of asking a team of fixing a bug.

    Their convoluted and vague response forces you to ask: Does that mean you will fix the bug?

    Like asking a PR person about something dead serious. They will dance around and beat that poor bush all the way home.

    You wonder and ask: Is that a yes?

    If you are lucky the response to the first very unnecessary follow up question will be helpful.

    Second follow up question: Why didn't you say that in the first place?!

  24. alegr1 says:

    >Their convoluted and vague response forces you to ask: Does that mean you will fix the bug?

    and they suddenly become commitment-phobic

  25. Jamie says:

    My other half said "oooo a shiny ring".  It was several minutes before she realised she hadn't actually said "Yes".  

  26. Joe says:

    Don't remember my proposal, except I didn't have a ring–we bought one together later that afternoon. I do remember the divorce conversation:

    After a series of fragmented sentences from her, I said: Just say it.

    Her: I think we should get divorced.

    Me: Yes, we should.

  27. morlamweb says:

    Re: picking out rings.  I went with the direct approach.  "Hey honey, what's your ring size?"  "Go get your ring size!"  Followed by me all but making an appointment for us down at the local jewelry shop to get sized and pick out rings.  It took a few visits but we eventually settled upon a design.  I then bought the ring and patiently waited for the opportunity to pop the question.  Unfortunately, I bought it about a week before the opportunity came, and during that time, the ring was burning a hole in my pocket : )  I made sure that I had full user acceptance before dropping money on the ring.

    this being the youtube era, the actual proposal was recorded by our friends and shared with us.  In the excitement after the big moment, we both realizedthere was no answer to the question!  Fortunately, we reviewed the footage, and it was a yes.

  28. DysgraphicProgrammer says:

    I have 2 different sets of friends with the same proposal story:

    Her: Ya know, if we got married, it would really [save on taxes/help with the custody hearing]

    Him: Yeah?

    Her: Yeah.

    Him: Tuesday good for you?

    Her: How 'bout Thursday?

    Him: 'kay

  29. JamesNT says:

    @Raymond Chen

    Of course, this begs the question of whether you wife attempted to upgrade said ring to The One Ring.  :)

    Apologies!  I couldn't resist the movie reference!

    JamesNT

  30. bzakharin says:

    Wow, I actually proposed to my girlfriend the day this was posted! We're both Jewish and religious, so it had nothing to do with Valentine's Day and everything to do with Presidents' day (She lives in Cleveland. I live in New Jersey. Most of the time we have together is on 3-day weekends. Can't wait until she finishes residency). She knew it was coming because we discussed ring sizes and styles, but I was hoping to surprise her with the timing (and, I suppose, the type of ring, to a lesser extent, since we settled on several possible styles). Unfortunately, I'm a horrible liar and she's not stupid (ok, that is not unfortunate in the least), so the day I went to pick out the ring, when she asked me "so, did you do anything else today?" I said something like "maybe". So she narrowed it down to 3 days (guess which ones). Funnily enough, she kept herself up all night trying to guess which of the three it would be (it was the first one). She was more relieved than surprised. She claims to love the ring itself, though.

    But the point is… that I wanted to tell the world (for certain definitions of "the world") I'm engaged?

    [Mazel tov! (I hope I got that right.) -Raymond]
  31. bzakharin says:

    Thanks. Yes, you got it right

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