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Advice: Etiquette for gay wedding proposals

Anna Pulley, @annapulley

RedEye's sex columnist

6:19 PM CST, November 6, 2013

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I'm a gay man in a serious relationship with my boyfriend. I'm thinking of popping the question soon (fairly certain he'll say yes!), but wonder if there's etiquette for proposing when it's two men? Should I get down on a knee? Years of social norms and "The Bachelor" have left me confused. -- Groom Worries

Dear Groom,
A hearty round of congratulations to you, sir, and to our fair Land of Lincoln. Illinois is poised to become the 15th state to allow same-sex marriage, a bill narrowly making it out of the House on Tuesday and expected to be signed by Gov. Quinn shortly. The bill even got a shout out from President Obama on Twitter. USGAY!

So now gay denizens no longer have to make the trek to Iowa or Minnesota to get hitched. Which is a relief because, how embarrassing, right? Just kidding Minnesotowa, we love your hot dish and MFA writing programs.

In terms of proposing, the good news is you get to make it up. You have free rein to adopt or buck whatever traditions you feel like. If you feel compelled to kneel, then kneel. If you want to have a conversation and mutually agree upon things like ring-wearing and wedding ceremony bills and such, that's fine, too. If you want your flower girl to be a drag queen, then please invite me because I want to see that! The choice is yours, so keep calm and marry on.

What do you think about giving my ex-partner a full body massage as a surprise to rekindle "the love." I'm great at it, and when we were together, I never did it. (Because it was my job. Insert Seinfeld joke.) So, would it be cheesy, or just uber-nice and thoughtful? --Heartbroken but not Heartless

Dear Heart,
I gotta tell you, man, I've never heard of any couple reuniting due to a really excellent backrub--especially if you withheld that service throughout your relationship. Unless ... the backrub withholding is the reason you broke up in the first place. That seems unlikely to be the reason things ended, however. Would such an offering be cheesy or thoughtful? My thought is neither. It would be obvious, with a touch of manipulative.

But the circumstances you gave were kind of threadbare, so I can't predict how such a gesture would be received. I will say that if you want to rekindle "the love" or even love without quotation marks, you should have an adult conversation with your former flame about what went wrong and what, if anything, you can do to change the situation. If he/she answers in the negative, then you have to let it go and move on with your life. And maybe don't hoard all the massages going forward.

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