Will You?

bendedkneeSummer.  ‘Tis the fairytale season of “I Do’s” as white veils and doves trumpet skyward.  Before the declaration, and command to kiss though, there’s the milestone of “Will You?”, so The Kissing Expert thought it apt to reflect upon the query, given the coveted commitment that hangs in the balance.

A Little History

For many centuries, and still in cultures today, the “Will You?” was less of a request, and more of a “You Will” command as families arranged unions for economic and social alliances.  But as societies prospered, the pursuit of marriage evolved from practical to romantic, and young lovers held the future of their fate in their own hands.

On Bended Knee

When thinking of “Will You?”, most conjure up images of men taking to bended knee.  While the protocol’s genesis is a bit hard to pinpoint, there are historical practices theoretically linking the gesture with the offer.  Likened to kneeling in prayer upon entering a church, or reverently in front of a monarch, or even in surrender to an enemy, the stance signaled something spiritual.  Given the symbolism, gentlemen adopted it as a gesture of humility and commitment.  There’s also the benefit of being eye level with your intended’s hand to ensure slipping the bling on the right finger! oldfashionedbendedknee

The Ring & The Finger

While the Egyptians are believed to have established the engagement ring (with the Greeks adopting it), the Ancient Romans are attributed to engraining the tradition.  A Roman woman wore a gold band in public, and iron one at home while attending to chores (very practical!).  The diamond ring wouldn’t make the scene until 15th century Europe when aristocratic circles where influencing social status and wealth.

As for the designated finger, in western cultures, it tends to sit on the 4th of the left hand, believed to be the digit in which the vein runs from heart (aka “vena amoris”).  In other places, it might sit on the right.  Be it gold or diamonds to the left or the right, the ring remains a keepsake of an agreement to commit. diamondring

Other Early Traditions

Interestingly, a ring wasn’t always in the offer, and it wasn’t always the man who asked!  A few hundred years ago, “Will You?’s” might have been:

  • New Gloves: If a lady received a new pair from an admirer, and wore them in church the next Sunday, he knew he was in!
  • A Wooden Spoon: While some are born with a silver one in their mouths, men carved spoons of intent.  If the token made it onto the maiden’s neck (vs. into the sugar bowl), it was time to register for more cutlery!
  •  Going Sadie Hawkins on Leap Year: Before February 29th equaled Leap Year, the day represented being “left over”, so the fairer sex took charge with the “ask”, lest she stand unclaimed on the shelf.  Girl power was strong even back when!

“Will You?” Today

With many traditions of yore standing timeless, its not surprising that 40% of “Will You?’s” still occur on bended knee.  It’s also a reminder that when a woman is exalted in respect, in the best way, a man is more likely to receive an affirmative.

Years though have led to creative play that lends uniqueness to the couple and their circumstances.  Seeing a perfectly orchestrated YouTube performance to a popular song uploaded for multiple hits of approval, or “Will You?” posed on the JumboTron in a sporting arena for millions to witness, are among the contemporary “ask”.  Some might argue intimacy has slipped in a desire to raise the bar, but to endure as a story for the ages, some go full tilt…And where the ring used to close the deal, the proposal needs to be as priceless and perfect as the diamond, with social media serving as a court of opinion.willyoumarrymelights

Speaking with her cadre of ladies and gents, The Kissing Expert has heard the gamut of delightful “Will You?’s”.  From writing on the bathroom mirror in lipstick – “Will you marry me?”,  to tucking a brilliant ring into a box of Cracker Jack, they are all memorable moments.

Among some of the other special ones:

The Element of Surprise: One gal was convinced it would happen on a Parisian getaway.  Multiple trips to the Eiffel Tower peaked her anticipation, and while champagne popped, the question didn’t.  Returning home, it was a spontaneous trip to the Empire State Building where he made his promise!

 Fire Them Up: Building a sofa out of snow in a wintry tundra, one guy intentionally baited his gal in an argument as they sat on their frozen love seat, and at her apex of annoyance, slipped down on his knee.  The cork from the celebratory bottle remains a special Christmas tree ornament.willyoumarrymesnow

 Pillow Talk: Having known her husband since they were children, the proposal came sleepily following a nap.  It was a sweet ‘n simple, “We should get married…”, with which this lady told her fella to get out of bed on bended knee (even though he was buck-naked), and then call her family for permission.  She also got to pick the ring!

 A Gauntlet & Giggles: After months in a long distance relationship, one young woman drew the line in the sand, so he planned dinner at a romantic restaurant, and placed a small box on her plate while her nose sat behind a big menu.  In her excitement, she stated he must call her Dad, and in his nervousness, he said to his future father in-law, “I just asked your sister to marry me!”, to which the Dad replied, “My sister’s been dead 4 years!”ringonaplate

So whether the “Will You?” comes in a candlelit room, or on a Post-It, The Kissing Expert knows the lights in your eyes are sure to shine at the start of a new journey to be filled with many happy kisses.  And with a “Coke and Congratulations”, enjoy the moment.

Please visit Coca-Cola.com for more proposal fun!


Happy Kissing Proposals!


The Kissing Expert