The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

May 5, 2014

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steve 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.

Go to any wedding celebration this nuptial season, whether in a ballroom or backyard or church basement, and it's a good bet you can trace the big day to a similar start, with different flourishes.

If a man is marrying a woman somewhere in America, odds are that he 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 Paska, 26, believes female proposals are OK — after all, one of his sisters proposed to her boyfriend — he wanted to declare his love and dedication the traditional way.

"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, who both live in Arlington, Virginia, 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.

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