Why I proposed to my feminist boyfriend
One afternoon in the summer of 2016, Rory (my now fiancee) and I were having a conversation about how silly it was that women had to wait around for men to propose marriage, especially when it’s a decision that effects both of your lives in such a huge way. I consider myself a feminist, meaning that I believe women and men should be treated equally in everything. I am lucky that Rory feels the same way.
Rory and I had spoken before about how we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together , and then that afternoon, snuggled up on our couch at home, Rory said that if I wanted to ask him to marry me, I should. I didn't realise it at the time, but it was his way of showing me that I was his equal. That we are a team.
My first reaction was incredulity, 'But really? You wouldn't mind? Can I really?!' and then delight. Rory went out for a run, and I rang my mum. I told her that I was going to ask Rory to marry me. I wasn’t sure how she would react, this obviously isn’t the predictable proposal route, but she was behind me 100%. So the decision was made.
Three weeks later we were spending a weekend in Mayo with both our families. It was the perfect oppourtunity. I told my sister, my mum and no one else.
Three weeks went by fast. The night before I sat down with a glass of wine to write down what I wanted to say to Rory. One bottle and a lot of tears later, I had a four page long proposal.
To propose I brought Rory to a Grainne Mhaol castle in Mayo. She was the pirate queen of Ireland; a strong, powerful woman, so I thought it was appropriate.
I asked Rory to pull over and as I got out of the car, all pale and serious, he thought I was going to break up with him, or be sick. I was close to the latter.
I didn’t get down on one knee, but I read him my pages, through watery eyes, and gave him a Haribo ring, in a Chupi (an Irish jewellery designer I love) box, which he very nearly ate. He said yes, and we hugged and cried and laughed and drove straight to our families to tell them to news.
Rory made a quick detour to ask my Dad for his permission. While my Dad is not at all old-fashioned, Rory felt it was important, out of respect, that he had that conversation. And, thankfully, (of course) he said yes.
Our friend's and family's reactions were awesome. I’ve never smiled and drank so much champagne in my life. No one felt it was strange that I had asked, I suppose this is probably because they know Rory and my personalities.
It’s pretty hard to describe how that weekend made me feel, but lucky is the overriding sense. I know it sounds terribly cheesy but I feel lucky to have someone in my life like Rory; someone who gets me and respects me like he does; and lucky to be surrounded by friends and family. Not going to lie, I was pretty nervous too. So much more than I thought I would be. I feel for all those lads out there!
About a month after I proposed, Rory proposed back, and gave me his grandmother’s beautiful antique engagement ring. It was a perfect, quiet moment, and I couldn’t have picked out a more perfect ring. It has so much history, and it is part of his family, just like I will be soon!
95% of the reactions to my proposal have been positive. But there have been reactions that have frustrated me, and some that have made me sad. Occasionally it makes older people uncomfortable, and then it usually becomes a part of our proposal story that they gloss over. This is perhaps because they don't know how to react in this unfamiliar situation. Or maybe a woman acting in a role in which they are used to seeing a man is troublesome for them. This I can understand.
The other group that occasionally have an adverse reaction are, surprisingly, my female peers. 'I could never do that, I would never be sure that he really wanted to be my husband' and 'Oh wow, you are so brave' are two of the more worrisome reactions.
There are a few reasons that I knew I could ask Rory to marry me. The first is that I knew that we were in that place in our relationship. It was really a decision we had made together, and I think most proposals work this way. The second is that Rory and I truly are equals in our relationship. We are both driving the boat. The third (and probably most controversial) reason is that Rory is comfortable in his masculinity, and doesn't feel the need to verify this by playing into accepted norms. And this, ladies and gentlemen, makes him the most manly man I know.
I’m so glad that I was the one to propose. I really hope that more women feel empowered to take control and do the exact same thing.