Tomorrow's episode of The Bachelorette is extra special. And not just because it looks like Jillian might cry in every scene. ABC and Touchstone have teemed up (or rather, been teemed up by their parent company, Disney) to bring us an unprecedented event: Marry Me Monday. During the commercial breaks, real people will have the opportunity to propose to their girlfriends on television! (And the rest of us will be inspired to buy a ticket to see The Proposal in theaters now!)
Yes, I know what you're thinking: how is this special? There are lots of shows devoted to the sole purpose of broadcasting real peoples' marriage proposals. (You can also spend hours perusing local-news proposals posted on youtube, like this delightfully awkward one.)
Marry Me Monday is different because the proposals take place during Bachelorette Time. And Bachelorette Time is a very special time for women. But it is also a very delicate time. So for those men out there, who are lucky enough to be part of this proposal extravaganza, I warn you: consider your timing wisely!
1. Don't do it directly after Michael, Ed or Tanner P have appeared on screen.
Michael is more adorable than you, Ed is more perfect than you, and if it's Tanner P, she'll want to put the ring on her fourth toe.
2. Don't do it too early.
Yes, your proposal is more important than a television show. But after she says yes, she's going to have to call her parents. And her parents will still be there after 10pm Eastern Standard Time. So don't force her to choose between finding out which bachelor has a girlfriend back home, and telling her parents she's engaged. It won't be pretty.
3. Don't do it at a point in the episode when Jillian is distraught.
Your future fiancée will empathize with Jillian, so much so, she may adopt her feelings of anxiousness and insecurity and project them on to you. Trust me, you don't want your "Will you marry me?" to be answered with: "Are you here for the right reasons?"
4. Don't do it after a commercial for The Proposal
In the movie, Sandra Bullock's character proposes to Ryan Reynolds' character in order to get a Green Card. Like I said, Bachelorette Time is a delicate time. Even if neither one of you is foreign; you don't want to give your girlfriend any inspiration to consider your motivations. You also don't want her to be thinking about Ryan Reynolds.
5. Propose as close to the Rose Ceremony as you can.
The energy will be running high and the suspense will be at its peak. Your fiancée can also draw out the whole blissful-freaking-out thing for a few minutes while watching who gets the roses out of the corner of her eye.
Finally, if you don't get to choose when your proposal is broadcast, I wouldn't risk letting it happen at the wrong time. Change the channel during the commercials, ask your girlfriend to make you a snack every ten minutes - do whatever it takes. Yes, you spent hours filling out that online application and being vetted by ABC and making your heartfelt video proposal. But better to play it safe than sorry.
After you've watched the show, ride the warm fuzzy feelings it has awakened in your beloved, find a nice park bench or restaurant, and propose there. Or, if you have access to a helicopter or remote tropical island, those are the best places to nail down her affection.
The Bachelorette can be a powerful treatise on the trials and tribulations of love, and you don't want that to work against you. Besides, if the show has taught us anything, it is that proposing on television does not guarantee a happy ending. For every Trista & Ryan, there is an Aaron & Helene, Andrew & Jen, Byron & Mary, Andy & Tessa, Meredith & Ian, Deanna & Jesse, Shayne & Matt, and Jason & Melissa. And you don't want to be a Jason, trust me.
PS-If there are any eligible bachelors out there are, thinking they just might want to marry me, disregard everything I just said. Even if we've never met, or if we have met and I don't like you; if you pop the question during The Bachelorette tomorrow, I will totally say yes!
Follow Tasha Gordon-Solmon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tashags