Disclaimer: 1) This is solely my perspective 2) Doesn’t apply to all Tamils
Her 3-inch heels crush and tear at soft red rose petals strewn along a pathway illuminated by battery-powered plastic candles from Dollarama. She’s conscious that this isn’t their everyday date night but still she prepares to be surprised. He holds her hand and brings her to the center, where more rose petals carpet the ground and family and friends gather around. The photographer slides in smoothly to capture him gazing into her eyes. Maybe he gives a speech—maybe not, but then he drops to one knee, pops a big diamond ring and asks the infamous question, “Will you marry me?”– *disc scratch* - all this after their parents have settled on an auspicious date for the wedding and they’ve decided on their #weddinghashtag
Sounds a bit silly, right?
I’m not much of a romantic and so neither will this article be. This trend of proposing in the Tamil community seems, to me, to defy logic. It takes the surprise out of proposing when the families are already discussing wedding dates and plans. I mean hey, if that’s not the case and it’s a real surprise to pop the question, then it makes complete sense.
Yes, I’ve experienced the whole hoopla previously, but I wasn’t for it due to the aforementioned reason. The experience was a bit disastrous and awkward for both. Awkward because I was actually surprised this was even happening and my response was let's say… unconventional. Disastrous because it involved fear of heights for one and motion sickness for the other. When I asked what prompted him to do all this, I was told “how would it look like to others if I didn’t?” and that sunk in deep because shouldn’t it be about the two parties involved and not others? That’s when I realized, that perhaps there’s a tad bit of a problematic western trend growing within the young Tamil community where one party or sometimes even both parties might feel a bit of pressure and strain to meet these new standards.
First, let’s talk about some history. A diamond is “a girl’s best friend?” Nah. A girl’s best friend is whomever her best friend is. Try wiping those tears like a best friend with a diamond and you got yourself a blood diamond #nopunintended. Jokes aside, diamonds are universally known to symbolize love and commitment but let’s face it; that was just a million-dollar marketing technique proposed by N.W Ayer, an advertising agency, for the De Beers brothers. Unlike gold, diamonds were not dependent on the economic conditions. Hence diamonds were advertised as rare and rose in price yearly in the 19th century. However, now we’re lucky if we can even get half of the purchase price; a diamond ring drops 30-50% in resale value as soon as it’s purchased— #facts. But hey, if diamonds are what you like and want, then great; it'll always remain invaluable to you. However, if diamond rings are purchased because that’s the “norm” or that they’re rare—nah, that’s just a crafty marketing stunt. Sure, diamonds are the hardest material, but definitely not the rarest. Looking into other gemstones or different types of rings never hurt anybody and it’s the intention that counts, right? I mean, let’s not forget why we're proposing in the first place.
Second, the whole notion that the diamond ring must be worth someone’s 3 months salary—another clever marketing technique deployed for De Beers. They said, “the bigger the diamond, the bigger the love." Hence, the beginning of the 2 months salary rule in the 80's and now a whopping 3 months gross salary rule. If the proposer got the means, then #youdoyouboo but if they don't, it's impractical. The proposing party may feel pressured to buy an expensive diamond ring now because what their partner wears on their finger is now a direct representation of the proposer's wealth and obviously their love too #fakenews. Let’s at least be financially savvy (on top of being socially conscious #conflictfreediamondwarranty) when purchasing a diamond ring. Can you really put a price on love? It’s priceless #facts.
Third, kneeling to propose is a common tradition amongst westerners, but do we know why? I never noticed the proposals on bent knee within the young Tamil community until someone pointed it out to me. Even then I thought it's a "Toronto Tamil thing" but it's not and now, I can’t unsee it. Let's revisit history again—there’s no single reason as to why one kneels to propose. The reason I'm familiar with is that during the medieval times, knights in shining armours got down on their knees to honour and show respect towards the king and queen. This gesture also demonstrated obedience and loyalty. Now ladies and gents, in a time where feminism is at its peak and proudly so, is it necessary to go down on one knee to propose? Isn’t it perhaps better to have them propose at eye level to signify equality in partnership? #foodforthought
Despite my perspective on this matter it really comes down to each their own. I do believe proposals are nice and make sense when it’s a question popped before the families get involved to discuss wedding plans. However, if the families are already on it and you want to do something special for your significant other, why not get creative? If you know the answer already, you don’t have to ask “Will you marry me?” If we can hop on a trend, we can also set a trend #Tamiltrendsetters. Express your love instead, be thoughtful and keep it meaningful. Slip that ring on their finger wholeheartedly while standing upright or sitting on a couch. It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring worth 3 months’ salary. It can be whatever you both want it to be. Keep in mind that you’re both looking to celebrate your next milestone together and love for one another, so how it's celebrated is totally up to you.
Just keep it pressure-free, stress-free and most of all, keep it real.