“AM I WRONG?” WINGMAN: THE CASE AGAINST RUINING THE SURPRISE

Whoever said that all’s fair in love and war had obviously never been on the losing end of a fight with a woman. We sulk, we take passive aggressive digs, and sometimes we flat out refuse to admit that we’re wrong.

But sometimes we aren’t wrong. Sometimes you’re wrong, boys. And the only way to determine who the exculpatory party is vs. the One Who Eff’d Up is to allow a jury of your peers to decide. Or at least, an uninvolved and impartial party, such as yours truly.

That’s why Miss Wingman created the “Am I Wrong?” feature, to give dudes a platform to plead your case when you feel wrongly blamed by a female sparring partner. And it’s my pleasure to bring you an all new edition of the blame game, courtesy of Paul in Ohio.

The set up: Paul, our friendly protagonist (or antagonist, it’s yet to be determined), has been dating his girlfriend Harriet for a little more than a year. They do not live together, mostly for “practical” reasons that involve Harriet needing to live on-site at her counseling job, and her apartment not feasibly accommodating two people. But they have had several conversations regarding their future and believe each other to be “the One.”

The argument: “About two weeks ago, I was out shopping with my girlfriend of nearly 18 months. We were walking in an area rife with jewelry stores, so I decided to see if she wanted to pop into one of them and ‘take a look around.’ Obviously I meant to check out engagement rings. She hesitated for a second, but after giving me a weird look, agreed.

We spoke to a very nice sales lady who showed my girlfriend several different shapes and cuts of diamonds. After trying on about five, she settled upon a square-looking one, which I guess you girls call a “princess” cut. We thanked the woman for her time, left the store without purchasing anything (it was just meant as an info-gathering mission on my end) and went home.

But as soon as we were home, she started acting upset. When I pressed her on it, she admitted that she was really disappointed that we’d just gone ‘engagement ring shopping.’ I told her that no, we hadn’t gone engagement ring shopping, we’d gone engagement ring browsing, and that the shopping was something I’d be doing solo one day in the future.

She said it didn’t matter, that now she knew it was coming, and that the surprise she would feel from the proposal was ruined in her mind. She’d wanted me to run my own recon mission to find out her design preferences without her knowing so that it would be a complete shock when I finally asked. I told her that she still wouldn’t know when I was doing it or how, but no matter what I said, she was still bummed out over the whole thing.

I’d only intended to get her input on what style she preferred and maybe get a ring size while I was at it, hell – I have no clue what girls like  – but she said that if I really knew her well enough, I’d know what her style was. I disagree, we could be dating 10 years and I’d still not know whether she wanted a round, princess, or a goddamn triangle for that matter. But apparently, I’ve somehow messed the whole thing up?

It’s not like we fought or yelled, it was just hearing her tell me that I’d ‘ruined’ the engagement surprise she’d been looking forward to her whole life that made me feel like a huge jerk. So, Miss Wingman, tell me – am I wrong? Am I the idiot, or is she overreacting?”

The verdict: Yikes. And also, sucks to be you, Paul. Not to mention, is that really your girlfriend’s name? Man, I didn’t know people were still naming their kids Harriet after, like, 1935. What the hell are her sisters names, Edith and Muriel? Sorry, just took me a minute to get past that… But the answer to your question, if I’m being serious, is in reality probably a little blame on both sides. And here’s why…

You were just trying to be a conscientious boyfriend, to be as considerate as possible. I get that. You did what you thought was the logical thing, so as not to have her smile through gritted teeth when you snapped open the box to a ring that was decidedly not her (and that she’d have to stare at for the next, oh, say, 40 or 50 years). If “Sex and the City” taught men nothing else, it should be to fear the “ugly ring” conversation. (Hey, don’t blame me, blame Carrie Bradshaw).

But even though you were just covering your bases, what you didn’t realize is that, for a lot of women, the idea of being proposed to is something we daydream about since we’re little. No, strike that. Not most women. All women. Even me, who hates the idea of all things girly and fairytale-esque, and who couldn’t care less about floral arrangements or picking out dresses. And why do we fantasize and wonder about our proposal? Because it’s a big frigging deal, that’s why.

The idea of asking someone to forsake all others and devote themselves to you every day until they die is kind of a tall order, don’t you think? So forgive us if, even if we aren’t interested in any JumboTron or sky diving antics being involved, we want your proposal to be as special as humanly possible. And that, in our minds, involves the element of surprise. (Not to mention some seriously heartfelt words. Don’t forget the sentiment, gentlemen).

On the other hand, while I can sympathize with your girlfriend’s disappointment – unintended though it may be – I think she needs to accept the fact that she was giving you entirely too much credit. I’ve come to learn that women have a grossly overestimated view of how much guys really know about engagement rings. I know we all assume that you’ll just hijack one of our own rings for sizing, enlist the covert help of our inner circle and embark on some stealth shopping mission armed with your own innate knowledge of clarity and carat size, but in real life? That shizz ain’t happenin’.

I’ve actually had girls tell me that their boyfriends contemplated buying them a heart-shaped ring, because, you know, all girls like hearts and shiny things. Don’t they?

Hahaha. Wait…hahahaha. No judgment intended, boys, but that just confirms how little you know about our tastes (and rightfully so). Also, if you’re dating the kind of girl who actually would like such a thing, RUN. Or else you have a lifetime of rose-colored furniture and floral bedding to look forward to.

So the takeaway from all of this is that yes, she has every right to feel a pang of disappointment from thinking the element of surprise is somewhat tainted. But no, that doesn’t give her the right to tell you that to your face and make you feel guilty. You were only being pragmatic and (you thought) considerate, you intended no harm.

Granted, you can’t undo the incident, but what you can do is make sure that, on the day that you finally do pop the question, that she knows exactly what she’s meant to your life and how much you love her. Speak from the heart and I promise you, all prior tipping of the cards will be forgiven.

As for the rest of you, until next time, keep sending me your issues, and I’ll keep giving it to you straight, honest, and completely unfiltered. Just the way I like my men, but that’s a post for another time. Good luck, fight fair, and remember to keep your head (and your dukes) up.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

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