Dear Dan: I’ve talked to my girlfriends, my mom and his mom, but I need some unbiased advice. I’m a 28-year-old woman in a relationship for three-and-a-half years with a wonderful man, also 28.
I hit the jackpot: He is loving, sweet, kind, driven, active, handsome, generous, etc. We’re very committed to each other and planning our future together. We’ve lived together for 2.5 years. Life is so great! Enter the issue: We’ve been discussing marriage since January of this year. Until May, he was opposed to it. Not in the can’t-see-spending-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you way, but in the not-wanting-to-marry-anyone-in-the-near-future way.
“I don’t feel old enough yet,” he says, which makes me want to slap him, because my baby-making years are flying by. We talk about wanting the same things in life, like a family and a home, but those are things I won’t do with him unless we are married and also things I don’t want to start doing when I’m 35. We’ve talked about not wanting to be old parents and we seem to agree on everything — except he won’t pull the trigger. I just don’t get it! We did make some progress. In August, he mentioned the possibility of a proposal around the holidays, which are upon us. But when his mom asked if they should go shopping for a ring, he told her no! That blows a holiday engagement! I am ready for the next phase. He says he is too, but he won’t propose. I don’t get it! Some guidance would be great.
—Put Off Proposal Depresses A Queenslander
Dear POPDAQ: This is going to seem random, POPDAQ, but indulge me for a second. There was an article in the New York Times recently about how young men still aren’t doing their fair share of the cooking and cleaning. “Women today make up 40 percent of America’s sole or primary breadwinners for families with children under 18,” Stephen Marche wrote. “[But] men’s time investment in housework has not significantly altered in nearly 30 years.”
Reading Marche’s piece — in which he makes the case not for men to do more housework (God forbid), but for men and women to live together in filth — made me say, “So glad I’m gay.” Out loud. On an airplane. I sometimes have that reaction when I read stories about “the gender wars,” which Marche is currently writing a book about, or when I read smut-shaming bullshit about straight men and porn. But Marche’s essay elicited a different sort of so-glad- I’m-gay response. It went something like this: “I’m so glad I’m gay because my husband and I don’t have the option of defaulting to the stupid gender norms, roles, expectations, neuroses and riptides that plague so many straight couples.”
So despite the fact that we’re both men, my husband and I do not live together in filth. When a bed needs to be made or a dish needs to be washed or a floor needs to be mopped — or a spouse’s cock needs to be sucked — one of us makes, washes, mops or sucks it. When there’s something that needs doing, we do it. We don’t sit around staring at an unmade bed or a dirty dish or a grimy floor or an unsucked spousal cock and think, “I have a dick — so bed-making/dish-doing/ floor-mopping/cock-sucking isn’t my job.”
Do you see where I’m going with this, POPDAQ? There’s something at your place that needs doing — a proposal needs making — and you’re sitting around waiting for him to do it. Why? Because he has the dick.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi said that*, POPDAQ, but I don’t need to tell you, right? Because that quote was at the bottom of your e-mail. So here’s a thought: Be the change you want to see in your own fucking relationship. You want to get engaged to this guy? Propose to him.
Yes, yes: He has a penis, and traditionally the penis-havers** do the proposing in Breederville. But it’s not unheard of for someone to make a marriage proposal to a man. Just ask my husband.
[* Gandhi did not say that. He said:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”] [** Do not confuse penis-havers with penis-halvers. Something else not to do: a Google Images search on “genital bisection.”] Email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @fakedansavage.