Just a Friendly Reminder

Proposal etiquette brought to you by Steve Harvey

Last week, I was watching The Steve Harvey Show at the gym (stop judging me; I know I should have been watching Queen Latifah instead) and a segment came on called “Ask Steve and Receive.” Ask Steve and Receive is a feel-good wish fulfillment part of the show, so I was really excited when a woman named Karli came on and asked about proposing to her boyfriend of nine years. For a brief, shining moment, I thought we might actually see a woman proposing to a man on television. Daytime television, no less! Here’s how it went down instead:

For those of you without video access at work, I’ll just give you Steve Harvey’s response:

Nine years? You’re gonna ask him yourself? Come here. (Karli goes down to the stage.) Look, it might be a new age. I’m all for women’s lib. I’m all for women getting equal pay. I’m all for women getting… I’m for women, period. I really, really am. But some stuff, you just don’t need to tamper with. We are hunters by nature. That’s our nature. He’s been hunting you for nine years. The only reason you’re not married yet is because you haven’t demanded a wedding day. And since you haven’t demanded a wedding day, let me tell you something, this is your lucky day. Because this is Ask Steve and Receive. Pull back curtains to reveal boyfriend, dressed in a suit, carrying a ring box. All is right with the world.

And then my head exploded and I nearly threw my water bottle at the TV. It’s not that I wasn’t happy for Karli (also it sounds like they got a free engagement ring out of the deal, and I don’t judge about free things). But could we at least not shame the girl on national TV? PLEASE?

So just in case you were watching Steve Harvey last week (when you really should have been watching Queen Latifah. She had Matthew McConaughey on her show to talk about his work with at-risk youth in Texas), here’s a friendly reminder from your pals at APW, as we head into (almost) engagement season:

Of course you can propose to your boyfriend! You’ve both agreed that you want to get married? Well then go for it. We know lots and lots of women who have proposed to their partners and lived to tell the tale. If you want, you can buy your guy an engagement ring (or your girl for that matter). But it’s also totally fine if you don’t have an engagement ring at all. And for what it’s worth, nobody should make you feel bad about wanting to know when you’ll get engaged. Because sometimes waiting sucks. On the flip side, it’s fine if you’re not ready to be engaged yet or if you just don’t give a shit if you get engaged right now (even if you’ve been together forever and that’s what society says you should do next). Also, if you know someone who is currently in the pre-engaged state, here’s the appropriate way to treat them.

Lastly, some smart words from Manya, who wrote the book on the pre-engaged state:

  • It’s okay to want—really, really, badly—to marry Your Person, and to not know what to do with yourself if they aren’t quite there yet.
  • It’s also okay to enjoy and dream about beautiful things—buying and arranging stuff is a fundamental expression of humanity, culture, and self. Choosing treasured artifacts to surround and adorn us during significant life rituals is profoundly human (dude, I bet half the stuff in the National Museum in Cairo was somebody’s wedding shit).
  • And finally, most importantly: You are not crazy. What you are is crazy in love. And there’s nothing shameful about that.

So listen up, Steve Harvey. Next time someone asks you if it’s okay for women to propose to men, that’s your answer.

Related: You should watch this amazing video I just dug up in the APW archives. If you’re looking for a subtle way to tell your partner you’d like to get engaged, well, this ain’t it.

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