I have been dating my girlfriend Nadia for almost two years and I want to ask her to marry me. I have a ring already and I am considering asking her tomorrow night at dinner. Do you have any advice? Ted.
Oh Ted, I have plenty of advice for you. I do not think you should ask her to marry you on Valentine's day. If you propose, and she says "yes" you have set yourself up for a lifetime of expensive Valentine's Day gifts. She will never forget that you proposed on February 14th, and you have inflated the importance of what is really nothing more than a commercial greeting card, confectioner's holiday. You could have gotten away with flowers and a card, but now, every year, you will have to take her to dinner and buy her jewelry as well.
Even worse, if you think "no" is coming, you will feel as if you are on a canoe without a paddle, hopefully and swiftly moving with the current, only to wildly plunge over an unforseen waterfall, into turbulent rapids. After you have been tossed about, slammed against the rocks a few times, you will wash up on shore like a drowned rat. The rest of your life you will remember Valentine's Day as the forced romantic holiday that capsized your canoe.
If you must disregard my advice and are firmly convinced that she will accept your proposal, then follow my directions. Call her parents and ask their persmission. If she has stepparents you are going to have to ask them as well. You will gain serious brownie points with everyone by showing them this respect. If she already has children you should ask them as well, but wait until the last possible moment. You never know how they will respond and asking a child to keep a secret is like asking a puppy to stay away from a smelly sock. If you have children you will have to ask them as well, good luck with that.
When you ask her, if you are certain she will say "yes" the restautant proposal is a good idea because there will be applause, congratulations, "oohs, ahs" and you will save money with a free glass of champagne from the restaurant. You are obligated to get in the proposal one knee position because you will have an audience so shorts are not an option.
I wish you luck. Within 24 hours you will be on the engagement train, another topic for another day.