thoughts · us

The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men

A male colleague shared this piece of writing on Facebook and I was nodding my head as I read it. I especially liked this bit:

Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.

It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.

It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or soundtrack playing — that’s imagining true romance.

The man who imagines slipping his arm around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and whispering that he couldn’t love her more…. who imagines the manliness of standing bold and unashamed in the express checkout line with only maxi pads and tampons because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency.

The man who imagines the coming decades of a fluid life – her leaking milky circles through a dress at Aunt Ruth’s birthday party, her wearing thick diaper-like Depends for soggy weeks after pushing a whole human being out through her inch-wide cervix, her bleeding through sheets and gushing amniotic oceans across the bathroom floor and the unexpected beauty of her crossing her legs everytime she jumps on the trampoline with the kids.

The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.

Because get this, kids — How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.

So very very true.

I wrote this entry a while while back (in 2011) about the difference between a wedding and a marriage. And I still believe that marriage takes (a lot of) mutual understanding, communication, respect and love. Since this article is talking about proposals that go viral, I still remember very clearly how the boy proposed. I don’t think you ever forget such moments. This is my entry about it on my old blog (which has since been locked):

Secret holiday.
Macau.
Tiger Airways.
The Venetian.
Suite room.
Eating.
Shopping.
Gawdy lights.
Spot of gambling.
International Fireworks Festival.
Birthday dinner.
Souffle with candle.
Beautiful fireworks over the sea.
A quiet walk by the river.

And then this.

ring

The boy asked miss ene to marry him.
And miss ene said

Yes.

It was literally that. A quiet walk by the (fake) river at the Venetian Macau when he suddenly wiped out a nicely-wrapped Tiffany & Co box. The ribbon was still tied around it! Apparently, he thought it was too pretty to be unwrapped. I thought that it was my birthday present (it was my birthday afterall). It could be anything – a pair of earrings, necklace, bracelet, etc. I did not quite expect that he’d propose with a wrapped-up ring box, to be honest! I mean, we ladies have all been weaned on romantic proposals on tv, right? Where boy will go down on one knee, holding an open box with a sparkly ring within? Girl then gasps, tears, and both will kiss/hug with fireworks and romantic music playing in background. Optional: Big crowd standing around them clapping and cheering.

Even when I opened the box and saw the ring, it still did not quite occur to me that HE WAS PROPOSING! TO ME!! I have to add that the reason why it wasn’t a diamond solitaire (as all engagement rings go, right?) is because I hinted before that I do not like them. 

So there I was, staring at this ring that did not quite look like a proposal ring. He then uttered:

Will you marry me?

No, he did not go down on one knee. There were no flowers, no fireworks bursting in the sky, no romantic music playing in the background, no friends around to video the entire goings-on, no crowd cheering him on.

It was just us and the (fake) river.

 

I (jokingly) gave him grief about not kneeling during the proposal for many years after. And teased him constantly for proposing with a WRAPPED box. Hur hur. Which is why when  he did this 6 years later, it made me tear (slightly) because I was so very touched.

So yes. Proposals doesn’t need to be all fancy-pants. It is more important to marry a man who will be there in good times and importantly, during the bad times. And those bad times will come. There will be many. Let me share with you a secret: I used to play this scenario in my head whenever I date. I’d imagine myself in these situations (1) at the bedside of a loved one who is about to die (2) at the delivery ward about to give birth (3) at a funeral wake of a loved one (4) at the A&E department of a hospital because a loved one has been in a horrible accident.

Call me morbid but I used to reflect and think: Would this man that I’m dating be there for me during those bad times?  It was easy to sift out the wheat from the chaff whenever I did this little mental exercise.

And yes, the only one who passed that morbid scenarios test is the one I eventually married. 🙂

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