I'm No Jane Austen: Declining An Unwanted Proposal Of Marriage

The Jane Austen Handbook

Okay, so according to The Jane Austen Handbook, I possess just over half of the skills required to be an accomplished lady and have about a fifty-fifty chance of attracting a man

Whomp, whomp.

BUT then I found a section that I knew would give me a better score: How to Decline an Unwanted Marriage Proposal. 

Although I haven't technically declined an unwanted proposal, The Manual's tips are totally applicable to the general ending of a relationship. And that, I have a lot of experience doing, doesn't everybody? 

So here we go!

You have had some hints that a particular gentleman has developed an interest in you; the problem is that you cannot stand him because his is stupid, disagreeable, abominably proud or just plain creepy (BAHAHA). While it is true that a man has the power of choice, a woman has the power of refusal. Start off gently; if he does not take the hint, work you way up to letting him have it in a raking broadside.

Side note: The Manual had me at "stupid."

1. Head him off at the pass.
As in, tell everyone you know, he knows--you both know--that you're not interested. The hope is that the information will trickle down to him and he'll leave you alone. Err...this is super passive-aggressive and therefore, not my deal. But have I done it? Yes. So I'm giving myself the point.

Points Earned: 1

2. Be an ice queen.
The Manual states that you are to behave as though you are insulted by his creepy hints. BAHA!! That's TWO times that The Manual has used the word creepy in this section. Who knew that creepy stood the test of time? 

Freezing a guy out, rolling my eyes and being a general itchy B is something that I have some familiarity with (okay, maybe more than "some"). I mean, I went to a private high school where that kind of attitude was second nature. 

So yeah, I can be an ice queen. In fact, I can ice queen all over you. After all, I learned from the best. 

Points Earned: 1

3. Play the ingénue.
Everyone knows this one means: play dumb. As in, if he asks you to marry him, pretend that you don't understand him so if he comes back later, you can pretend that you don't know what he's talking about.

I'm sorry, did you say something?

Although I understand the theory behind this one, it really just makes more work for you. Why not just say "no" right away? Why make yourself do it, twice?

I have a vague memory of ingénue-ing I was in middle school and it didn't go well. A guy named Jason wanted to "go out" with me (translation: sit next to each other at lunch) but I wasn't feeling it. In fact, I was in line at the food truck outside (we didn't have a cafeteria) when his BFF asked me. I don't remember everything but DO recall being pestered to a point that my pizza got cold, which is when I told him "yes" to make him go away. 

My thirteen-year-old brain didn't count on the uncomfortable exchange with Jason six minutes later, though, when he came over to me and wanted to hold my hand. You know, because I told him via his BFF that it was cool even though it wasn't. He was embarrassed, I was embarrassed, his friend was embarrassed--in short, a total disaster. So although I get a point here, it's not a technique that I would recommend. 

Points Earned: 1

4. Be firm.
No means no! If the guy doesn't get it then you just need to keep on telling him that it's not going to happen.

And if he still doesn't get the point, find a local radio station and dedicate Taylor Swift's latest release to him. In my past, there have been a few guys who I've broken up with, gotten back together with, only to break up again...and then get back together. My own fault, clearly, because I wasn't being firm enough. However, at the end of the day, it worked, so I'm taking this one.

Points Earned: 1

5. Distract him.
The Manual suggests that you introduce him to a girlfriend who is not as picky as you are. Wait--so I'm supposed to pawn off dudes I don't like to my friends? If he's not good enough for me, why would he be good enough for my friends? 

This one makes me think about that party Charlotte threw in Sex and the City where people brought guys they weren't interested in because "one woman's trash is another's treasure." And I guess, in theory, I understand the theory but I'm not a fan of venturing where my friends have already...err...ventured. And since I love my friends, I don't quite understand suggesting they date my ex-boyfriends. Besides, they probably didn't like him, anyway. 

Points Earned: 0

6. Insult him.
At first, I was ALL OVER this one (haha) but then it took a surprising twist. Instead of explaining how being a meanie would end a relationship (or proposal), it says that "you never know, he might take your words to heart and turn himself into quite a good catch!" 

Now, the real problem with this one is that it kind of gives you carte blanche to insult him all of the time, in hopes of changing him. And really, most times when you break up with someone, it's not because of things they can change.

Funny Breakup Ecard: We're over because I hate your pants, you get too drunk at the bar and breathe really loudly through your nose. Oh, and you suck.

I'm all for insulting a guy but insulting him to try and change him is seriously passive aggressive (not to mention, totally ineffective).  

Points Earned: 0

7. Swoon.
Truth be told, I've never done this. However, I totally appreciate the dramatic intensity of such an act. In fact, I can't imagine a better reaction to a guy proposing than having the proposee collapse. What makes a better impact than that? Haha!!

Points Earned: 0 (if only because I didn't know this was an option before now)

So, that's a total of 4/7, which is 57%. 


I really thought that I nailed this one but I'm still stuck with a "C."That said, knowing that The Manual encourages swooning during uncomfortable times has gotten me thinking...about where I can strategically hide soft things to land on. In fact, I may just have to pick a fight with The Remix so I can try it out. 

*eyes cushy dog beds that are already conveniently located on the floor*


  1. This is a really nice post. I really like your blog.


  2. LOL, I love these posts! Also, I'm at least two weeks behind on commenting. Forgive me?


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