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I am a very single man!
Already, I know what your question is going to be. “What qualifies you to tell us guys how to propose?” I am qualified because I have friends who are married. My parents were married to each other. I have observed MANY proposals and I learn by observation. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, how did I figure out the steps? Easy! I talked with my married friends, mostly guys, but there were a few lady friends who offered some tips, too. I spoke with my parents. Finally, I watched MANY proposals on TV and around the city. I came away with all the tips.
Yes, when the second best lady comes along in my life, I will be more than happy to practice what I am preaching here. Let us begin.
Step One: Confidence
The first thing you need to do is put away your Cowardly Lion personality and get some guts. What are guts? Guts control your nerves so that you won’t let ANYTHING take you away from your mission. In other words, you are feeling the need to go to the next step of your life. You are relaxed and confident that things will go well. And if they don’t, you won’t worry because you know that everything will work out for the better. Do not confuse it for obnoxiousness. Nobody likes an obnoxious and overbearing individual. Don’t go around barking orders. When we get to the later steps, you will understand what I mean.
Step Two: Find a Lady
Now that you have some confidence, you need to find a lady. What is a lady? Well, for a more definitive answer to that question, you need to read my article, “Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady” for a much better description. When you see some nice lady, ask yourself a few questions like, “Do I like her” or “Would I like to bring her around my friends?” Watch her for a while. Don’t stalk her. Give her a glance from time to time. If you know her, talk WITH her, not to her or at her. Be sure to listen. That is VERY important. Remember, this may be the one that you may want to spend the rest of your life one day. Watch what you do because she may be doing the same thing to you. She may be sizing you up as well. Consider it as a double-interview. Always remember when and where you met her. This is very important. She will ask you once in a while.
Step Three: Dating
If you feel confident and you’ve listened to her, find out her interests and focus on one. Perhaps there is a movie that she would like to see. Make a coincidence and tell her that you always wanted to see that movie, too. That way, you have created a common interest. Put the ball in her court. Remember what I said in Step One. Don’t tell her that you will pick her up or something. That is giving an order. Just tell her that if she is interested in going, to let you know. That way, she does not feel any pressure to go or else. Whatever you do, do NOT call it a date yet no matter what is going on in your head. To her, it is only two friends hanging out. You are not there yet. Slow down, Tiger (not Woods.) Relax.
If both of you do not have a common interest, learn one of hers quickly. Maybe she likes to play tennis. Guess what? You just discovered that you always wanted to learn how to play tennis, but no one would teach you. BINGO! Now, you just created a need that she would want to fill. And when you do play tennis, do not try to beat the pants off her no matter how good you become. ALWAYS lose. She might put her arms around you to show you how to swing much better. Pretend that you didn’t know even if you do know. Again, do not be obnoxious.
Step Four: Familiarity
Now, you are going to try to get to know her better. It may not need another time out with each other. Instead, do some really nice things. Write her a note, for example, telling her how much you have enjoyed the tennis match. Talk about the movie. Be nice. Be pleasant. Be friendly. Again, do not be obnoxious. Remember to bring up something SHE likes. Maybe she likes roses. Well, in your second letter, you might want to stick a rose petal in the letter so that she will see that you heard AND remembered that she likes roses.
In your letter, be sure to give her your phone number. In this day of cell phones, there is another advantage. She will give you her number, too. The cell phone is your BIG indicator that things are going well. How? Simple. If she wants to call you, her number will appear on your cell phone display. SAVE IT!!! That is her way of saying that she would love to chat with you, too. On the other hand, if she calls and your display says PRIVATE NUMBER and it’s her, that means that she really does not want you to call her back. Don’t get upset or lose your confidence. Be positive. You could always use another friend.
Step Five: Relax
Remember, she may be sizing you up, too. Do not get nervous. She may ask you out, too. Go along with it. She may want to learn your activities as well. Learn some more of hers. If she says so, she might invite you to meet her family. Get to know them. Try to find activities they know or interests that they have and zero in on them. Try to be helpful, but not overbearing. Step One! If she has kids, get to know them, too. Like her, get into their activities. Take her son and show him how to play catch. If he is on a baseball team, take him and his Mom to his baseball game and cheer him on. If it is a daughter, play tea or whatever she likes. If she plays piano and is horrible, try to compliment her even though your ears may be bleeding. Try to show her that you like her kids and can also be a family man. Most of all, be sincere. If you don’t like her kids, you might as well give up because if you marry this lady, the children become a package deal. You can’t have the lady without her children. Get to know them and like them.
Step Six: Family Time
At this stage, make some family events. Take the lady and her children to a nice family restaurant. Let the children enjoy themselves. Again, you want to show your intended that you can be a nice family man, too. In time, also include her parents if they are still alive. You want to be as much of a family member as possible. Call her parents whatever name they tell you. If her Dad says to call him “Harry” or just call him “Dad,” you are almost there and the signs look pretty good. Way to go!
Step Seven: Be Traditional
When you are ready (and without your intended’s knowledge), try to meet with the parents or whoever is her surviving parent. This is when you are going to work to get their confidence. Talk to them in a very safe place: their home. This is the time when you are going to speak with them and ask the Dad for permission to ask his daughter to marry you. By doing this, you will automatically gain his respect because you showed him respect. By doing this and earlier steps, you have a 99.999999% chance that he will say something that you want her to say: YES!!!
Step Eight: Buy a Ring
Now, we are almost there. You need an engagement ring. At this step, you need to be very sneaky, in a very good way without letting the cat out of the bag. At this point, EVERYONE on Earth may know what is coming next, but she cannot be one of them. Her surprise will come in the next step. You have to keep this a secret from only her. There are two things to do here. First, get rid of your watch. Leave it home. That is going to be your excuse for this step. Tell her that you would like to go to a jewelry store to buy a watch. She would love to go with you. While you are in the store, give the salesman as much bull as you can to allow her attention to drift to the rings, the diamond rings. Be observant. Let her try on a few. See what she likes and make note of it. Again, be sneaky and try to get the ring size. Be creative. Then, when you have the info you need, buy a cheap watch. Remember, she thinks that you went there to buy a watch. If you don’t buy a watch, she might get suspicious. Be confident that you can pull this off.
When you are done at the store, make a thing out of your new watch. You are simply distracting her from the store. After you end your date for this day, go back to the store, let the salesman know why you were there although he probably already knew because he sees this quite often, and then buy the ring. What you spend for it is up to you.
Step Nine: Propose
Okay. This is your big step. Remember where you met? Do you know of a nice, secluded yet romantic place? Do you know of anywhere exotic? The choice is entirely up to you. Find a great place. Spend the time choosing the right words. Emphasize that she is your equal and that she is always in your heart and is your guiding force. You want her to always remember this as the best time in her life. Look over the lyrics to REAL love songs like the ones sung by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, or even Michael Buble. There are others out there. Choose wisely. When you feel the moment is right, get on your right knee, hold her left hand and gently pour out your heart to her. Whatever she says will only have one syllable: Yes or No. Good luck.
You should be very familiar with her by now. I say that because if you really listened to her as I said earlier, you should know if she likes crowds or not. If she does not like crowds, proposing to her in front of a crowd during halftime at the Superbowl could be a disaster. Would you want her to reject you over a Jumbotron where MILLIONS of people can see it? If you feel that confident, good luck. I wouldn’t do it if you ask me. Respect her position and feelings. Remember that the answer could go either way.
Step Ten: Plan Together
Assuming that the proposal went well, plan the wedding TOGETHER. Include everyone who helped you. I won’t go any further, but you should be okay. You have your best friend and partner for life. I wish you well and good luck.
On the other hand, if things did not go well, you still have a new friend. Maybe this wasn’t the time for her. Maybe somebody else will come along. Who knows? Just go back to Step One and be patient. These steps take time. Don't rush it. It could happen again. No inventor succeeded the first time, but they did not give up. You shouldn’t either.
Be well and stay strong. You can do it.