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According to Ubie and other grandstanders, the effort put into each proposal reflects the seriousness with which they approach marriage itself. "I’ve had friends who’ve gotten engaged over a pizza," he says, clearly unimpressed.
Jeff Tolonen, 27, dolefully recalls a guy who proposed to his girlfriend "as they were vacuuming." By contrast, Jeff’s scheme took a year to plan. He bought a handheld global positioning system (GPS) for his girlfriend, Candice Dodd, 27, and got her started on the hobby of "geocaching," in which players hide small treasures—usually stashed in film canisters—and post the coordinates on a Web site for other players to follow.
For a trip to Florida, Candice downloaded the coordinates of a cache; what she didn’t know was that Jeff had hidden the treasure and posted the clues. So when she found the standard film canister, she thought it was all part of the game. The note inside it, asking for her hand in marriage, convinced her it was not. He did it, in part, he admits, "because I wanted her to have a story to tell."
Aside from the bragging rights, there may be another reason to go extreme: "The woman never says no," says Shermaine Rodrigues, the Four Seasons concierge.
For a real can’t-say-no situation, consider the celebrity-assisted and televised proposals that are becoming increasingly common. One woman was proposed to by her boyfriend from the stage at a Mariah Carey concert. Another was asked the big question when she thought she was in a look-alike contest on Rachael Ray. Then there was a proposal on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy:Laura O’Donnell, 32, walked through the lobby of her office building and saw a throng of people hiding behind bouquets of flowers. As they slowly lowered their bouquets, revealing themselves to be her friends and relatives, Joe Uva, 36, came out of the crowd and proposed. With such an audience, how could she say anything but yes?
Fortunately, according to Pepper Schwartz, it’s not the crazy, over-the-top proposal that creates the positive response. Chances are, he knows the answer long before he goes shopping for the ring. "A guy has to be nearly one hundred percent sure of what the woman wants in order to put on a performance like this," she says. In other words, the guys with the amazing scenarios that they’ve been sweating over night after sleepless night, making sure they shock and awe their girlfriends with a proposal that nobody has ever concocted before, are doing exactly what we women want.
Real Couples’ Proposal Stories:
Chris Cool’s boyfriend, John Grossman, 34, woke her up at 2:45 one morning, telling her to grab her toiletries and dress comfy. Next thing she knew, the two of them were on a plane headed for Venice. But the big surprise came the next day, when John proposed and, just as Chris, 34, was saying yes, all the church bells in the city began to chime simultaneously.