Life Support: How to propose

Essential skills for the modern world
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Act decisively

However nervous you may be, or shy of making big romantic gestures, if you're going to pop the question, don't act half-hearted. An indirect proposal is a thoroughly inadequate one. "Um, so do you think we should get married?" is not the stuff that dreams are made of, and your lover deserves more than that.

Be unique, but not too unique

Gentlemen, a few tips. Don't strip your chérie of the very thing that you profess to love her for – her individuality. If she likes to be the centre of attention, propose on the big screen at a football ground, or over the loud speakers at St Pancras station before whisking her off for a romantic weekend away. Don't let silliness take over, however: last week an American woman gulped down an engagement ring that her suitor had concealed in a cup of milkshake. If she's a private person, pick a meaningful spot, a beautiful ring, the right moment, and get going.

Brace yourself

You've asked a question, so be prepared for the answer. While most people have seriously discussed getting married with their beloved before splashing out on a diamond, it is still impossible to guarantee that they will say yes. If you think there is a reasonable chance that your kind offer will be declined, perhaps it's best to avoid dramatic public proposals.

Women, tread carefully

In 2009, the idea that a woman should sit around twiddling her thumbs while waiting patiently for her partner to propose is rather galling. However, while the launch of a new range of male engagement rings from the jewellers H Samuel suggests this tradition could be on the way out, many men feel emasculated by having their conventional role usurped. Women who are thinking of popping the question need to make sure that their man isn't averse to a little role-reversal.