If it's OK for women to propose, why don't they?

May 03 2014, 22:20 IST
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In practice, only about 5 percent of those currently married say the woman proposed. AP In practice, only about 5 percent of those currently married say the woman proposed. AP
SummaryIf a man is marrying a woman somewhere in the United States, odds are that he was the one who proposed to her.

If a man is marrying a woman somewhere in the United States, odds are that he was the one who proposed to her.

That may seem obvious, but consider this: Three-fourths of Americans say it would be fine for the woman to do the proposing, in theory.

In practice, only about 5 percent of those currently married say the woman proposed, and the figure is no higher among couples wed within the past 10 years. Attitudes actually seem to be trending the other way, an Associated Press-WE tv poll shows.

Young adults are more likely than their elders to consider it ''unacceptable'' for a woman to do the asking. More than one-third of those under age 30 disapprove.

While Steve Paska, 26, believes female proposals are OK - after all, one of his sisters proposed to her boyfriend - he wanted to declare his love to and dedication to this girlfriend the traditional way.

Paska waited two weeks for Washington's famously fickle cherry blossoms to emerge, then spent two hours searching for the perfect spot beneath the canopy of fluff. He lured his girlfriend there on the pretext of buying a painting of the blooms. Then he surprised her by dropping to one knee and proposing.

She said ''yes'' so fast he forgot to pull out the ring.

''I think If she'd gotten down on one knee and asked me the question,'' Paska said, ''I would have called for a timeout.''

In the survey, nearly half of single women who hope to get married someday say they would consider proposing. Paska and his fiancee, Jessica Deegan, already had decided together that they wanted to marry, she said. Still, Deegan was thrilled that he made it official with a grand romantic gesture on April 10.

''It's kind of like the moment you imagine your whole life,'' she said. ''I've seen that in movies. I've read that in books. You don't want to miss out on that moment.''

That traditional moment has survived radical changes in U.S. marriages over the past half-century. People are marrying older; brides are more likely to be already supporting themselves. It's become commonplace to live together first, even to have children before marriage. Some men are proposing to men and women to women, now that one-third of U.S. states allow gay marriage.

But the boy-asks-girl proposal still reigns, updated to a public art form in Facebook and

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