*Please note: This post is full of spoilers*
This Valentine’s Day, enamored men and women everywhere will exchange flowers and chocolate, eat romantic candle-lit dinners—and perhaps, at some point, the mood will be right for the gentleman to get down on one knee and pop The Question. There are a million right ways to ask your lady to marry you, from sky-writing above a football stadium to sitting on the couch eating burritos. But, for every right way, there is also a wrong way. So, this Valentine’s Day, here are my Top 5 Ways Not to Propose to Your Lady.
5. Murphy’s Law
Bernard to Miss Bianca
Disney’s The Rescuers Down Under
Unlike the others on this list, Bernard’s trouble is not with a lousy setup or a poor word choice. In fact, he planned a very pleasant, traditional proposal: a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant, a diamond ring, and a few choice words about love. But then everything that can go wrong, does. He spends the entire movie trying to propose to his lady and always getting interrupted, sometimes even by Miss Bianca herself.
Pesky plot, always getting in the way.
Miss Bianca’s (eventual) Answer: Yes
Lesson Learned: Don’t answer your cell phone at the dinner table.
4. The Compromise
Edward Cullen to Isabella Swan
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga
Girls, is the glittery vampire of your dreams refusing to have sex with you?
Vampires, is the freesia-scented girl of your dreams too lusty for her own good?
Never fear, marriage is here! With a single ceremony, vampires can temper teenage hormones, and girls can get laid by marble gods!
Bella’s Answer: Yes, with one condition
Lesson Learned: If at first you don’t succeed, bribe, bribe again.
Edward Fairfax Rochester to Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
The scene starts off with Jane and Mr. Rochester discussing his imminent marriage to the honorable Miss Blanche Ingram and how, because of it, Jane is about to move from England to Ireland. It ends with Jane and Mr. Rochester engaged.
I’m sorry, did I miss something?
Jane’s Answer: Yes
Lesson Learned: Um...I'm not sure.
2. The Cold, Hard Truth
Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are widely considered one of the most perfect romantic couples in all of fiction, but they certainly didn’t start that way, and never is that more clear than the (first) time he proposes to her. “My social class, my family reputation, and even my own better judgment abhor the thought of you. Marry me anyway.”
Charlotte Lu from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries said it best: that guy really needs to work on his game.
Lizzy’s Answer: Not in a million years!
Lesson Learned: Maybe honesty isn’t always the best policy.
1. The Mandate of Heaven
St. John Rivers to Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Wait a minute. Last time I looked, Jane was engaged to Mr. Rochester. So who’s this St. John guy?
OK...Jane’s Big Day gets interrupted with the discovery that all those weird things that’ve happened at Thornfield (the fire, the stabbing, the strange noises, the bone-chilling laughs) are the result of the crazy wife Mr. Rochester keeps hidden in the attic, which makes him almost a bigamist, which Jane can’t handle, so she runs away where she’s taken in by St. John Rivers, who is later revealed to be her cousin, a self-proclaimed “cold, hard, ambitious man” who is determined to go to India as a missionary.
St. John wants Jane to accompany him to India because he thinks her diligence and intelligence would make her a good lady-missionary, but she doesn’t really want to leave England, especially because she hasn’t heard a single word from or about Mr. Rochester since the night she sneaked out of Thornfield and she’s worried that his wild, headlong nature has led him to harm since she broke his heart, but she still is willing to consider St. John’s offer because of the whole crazy-wife-in-the-attic thing, so she sort of agrees, EXCEPT...he has a condition: he insists that she marry him first, not because they love each other—a fact he pounds in with a sledgehammer—but because God Himself has declared she must. If she refuses, he says, it isn’t him she’s refusing, but GOD.
Jane, honey, your spunk, intelligence, and moral uprightness make you my all-time favorite heroine. “I must keep in good health and not die” as your plan for avoiding hell is one of the best lines ever written. In a world inundated with girls who let their romantic others walk all over them, your ability to hold your own against Mr. Rochester even when he’s in A Mood is such a breath of fresh air. But, seriously, girl, what the heck is with these proposal scenes?
Jane’s Answer: No
Lesson Learned: “Ordained by God” isn’t a great reason for getting married.
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