Can you tell me the best way to propose to a woman?
C.F., Madison, Wis.
Honestly, quickly, privately. First rule, no spectacle: no offers of matrimony during halftime at Giants Stadium, and no pretend-spontaneous proposals on the Today show or anything hosted by Howie Mandel. It is best to avoid putting a woman in a position in which she finds herself too embarrassed, or overcome by television studio lights, to say no. Second rule, spit it out. You will be acting strangely, and possibly sweating uncontrollably, in the hours before you propose. This behavior could, over time, alienate her, so it is best to propose well before dessert. Third rule, verbosity is not a sin. Outline for her, at great length if necessary, her various extraordinary attributes, and why you cannot live without them. Fourth rule, do not be too honest. As you hand her the ring, do not say, for example, “You win” or “Okay, I give up.”