A Valentine’s Day Fable

Feb 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day – well, it’s all about romance, isn’t it?

Visions of romantic, candle-lit dinners. Scores of love-struck Romeos on their knees proposing marriage to their beloved. It’s a magical time.

It’s a wonderful time for chocolate-makers, florists and restaurateurs too, that’s for sure! And maybe for civil celebrants?! But is it so great, for the wannabe fiancé?

By mistake I published my Valentine’s Day blog a week early (did you read it?!). Consequently, I’ve been forced to think of something else for this week!  I’ve come up with a fable (well, a true story, actually).


I wondered how many people do choose this day to propose to their intended.

Long ago, in the mists of time, I got down on bended knee in front of my bewildered girl-friend and asked her to marry me. A little to my surprise, she accepted me, and more than 18 years have elapsed since then. But, despite the result, things hadn’t gone as I had planned.

A salutary tale

I had been working in Italy, and had arranged that my girl-friend should join me in Rome. We would spend a few days together sightseeing (she thought she’d be shopping – her first surprise!).

We had been together for a year and a half, and this would be my chance to propose to her. But what if she were to say no?

I had originally chosen the Piazza Navona on the second evening for my proposal. When we got there, it was atmospheric, but crowded and busy, and it didn’t seem right.

How would the remaining days of the holiday be, if I were rejected then? No, better put it off to the last night. Yes, that was it. Wait as long as possible.

The next day, we travelled outside Rome to the Villa d’Este, in Tivoli. The gardens are spectacular, terraced, with fabulous fountains at every turn. We had chosen a beautiful morning and, for some reason, had the place almost to ourselves. (Apart from stray cats.)

As I knew I wouldn’t be proposing for a day or two, I was relaxed, and before I knew what was happening, I had done the deed. Quite easy, actually!

The right answer was vouchsafed, and I would be walking on air for the rest of our stay and, indeed, for long afterwards.

The moral of the story

So what is the point of my confession?

I would advise anybody planning to propose to take on board what I learned.

You don’t have to pre-plan when to propose – and, if you’re nervous like me, it is better to let the moment happen. If you pre-determine the moment, you will get uptight. It may spoil your dinner, or holiday, or whatever. You may even miss the opportunity altogether.

Trust that the opportunity will arise.

By all means, propose marriage on Valentine’s Day – just, don’t do it because it’s Valentine’s Day!