Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn recently proposed to her now fiancé, New Jersey Devils star P.K. Subban. Vonn is one of a growing number of women taking their relationships into their own hands and asking their significant other to marry them.
If you’re considering proposing, here’s some things to keep in mind and why you’re in good company. Information courtesy of The Washington Post.
No shame in the game
“We talk about equality but actions speak louder than words,” Vonn said. “Men should get engagement rings too and this is what P.K. deserves.” Vonn showed a close-up of Subban’s new engagement ring on her Twitter page with this message:
Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!! On our 2 year anniversary, in a “non traditional” move, I asked P.K. to marry me and he said, Yes ! Women aren’t the only ones who should get engagement rings! #MerryChristmas #equality
Vonn is now in a rare category of women who have proposed to men. Judge Judy Sheindlin popped the question to her second husband in 1978; socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor claimed to have proposed to all nine of her husbands and Queen Victoria proposed to her cousin, Prince Albert, in 1839. Diane Von Furstenberg proposed to her current husband, Barry Diller; and Elizabeth Taylor, who was married a total of eight times to seven husbands, proposed to her second husband, British actor Michael Wilding. Pop star Pink proposed to her hubby, motocross champion Carey Hart, back in June 2005 — while he was mid-race! Kristen Bell proposed to hubby Dax Shepard on Twitter as soon as the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013.
About seven percent of couples opt for dual proposals, according to The Knot’s 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study. The wedding-planning site’s executive editor, Lauren Kay, told The Atlantic that 97 percent of grooms in heterosexual relationships report proposing to their brides.
Only about a third of all marriage proposals in the United States are actually a surprise, according to The Knot.
Floating on air
Last September, Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato came up with an out-of-this-world way to propose to her boyfriend Greg Linch—on a weightless flight out of Dulles International Airport, according to The Washington Post.
“We were on a zero-gravity flight, hurtling through the sky, our bodies suspended in air. Taking aim, I floated a small blue box over to Greg. He made a heroic dive, the kind of move you’d see in a Netflix rom-com, and caught it,” Bloudoff-Indelicato explains. When he opened it, the ring levitated upward. “It was the perfect proposal for us, combining our passion for science with our love of adventure.”
Why the disparity?
Why isn’t it more common in our society for women to propose to men? Perhaps because gender stereotypes paint men as less willing to commit, they’re traditionally the ones to drive heterosexual relationships forward — and that includes popping the question.
“Even though we’ve seen a lot of gender role change in society, the marriage proposal has remained pretty static compared to all these other domains,” says Rachael Robnett, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
“We tend to think of proposals as romantic and special occasions, but the history behind them is much more legalistic and formal,” says Katherine Parkin, a professor of history at Monmouth University in New Jersey.
“Men get down on one knee to demonstrate the chivalry of their intentions and provide a diamond ring as proof that they can care for their partner financially. Because men have historically made more money than women, it tracked that they would be the ones to propose.”
Pat Summersall popped the question to her now-husband more than 30 years ago. The 63-year-old copy shop co-owner in Harrogate, Britain, says they had only been dating for six months, but she knew what she wanted in a husband and her boyfriend was it. Still, “it was more difficult for women of my age [to propose],” she says, “because we didn’t have job equality growing up, we didn’t have financial equality.”
“I have income at my disposal, so I can afford to buy my partner a ring. Yet many of my girlfriends make decent livings, and they haven’t proposed.”
So what’s stopping today’s financially stable women from popping the question? If you’re sure your partner is the one, follow your instincts and be inspired by the strong and sassy women who have done it already!
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