Tim Roxborogh’s travel bugs: Bad holiday marriage proposals

A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holidays.

I’ve majorly stuffed up more than a few times in my life but I’m relieved to say my marriage proposal was not one of them. The setting was Tauranga’s truly stunning French Country House on New Year’s Eve, 2016. The ring was hidden on a platter the manager had prepared while we were out feeding the horses (this always sounds like some sort of dirty metaphor when I tell the story but we were literally feeding horses), the music was a rare Bee Gees gem, Sun In My Morning and, most importantly, she said yes. And she liked the ring.

Proposal stories are usually fun and — dare I say it — especially the awkward ones. So often the most awkward marriage proposals are when people have gone on holiday to do it. Or even better, decided spur-of-the-vacation-moment, “What the hey, we’re having such a great time, let’s get married too!”

One of my favourite bad holiday marriage proposal stories involves a Kiwi couple in their early 20s who were in Phuket for a week. The bloke made the call, mid-snorkelling trip, that he was going to propose. So excited at the prospect, he opted not to wait until he was back on dry land and had, you know, chosen a ring and perhaps thought how he might like to pop the question. No, no, instead, he went with asking his gal, right then and there.

Armed with no ring but with colourful fishies and coral as the backdrop, the couple were underwater with their snorkels and masks when he tried to gesture that he was getting down on one knee. Flapping his arms to stay afloat while positioning his legs, his bride-to-be was faintly alarmed. He then started shouting, “Will you marry me?” through his snorkel, but underwater, all she heard was, “Wuh yuh muhuh muh.” Fearing her boyfriend was either having some sort of fit or had perhaps ingested some funky mushrooms at lunch, she lifted him from the water.

Snorkels out of mouths, she barked, “What’s wrong?” Finding out he was attempting a sans-ring, underwater marriage proposal, she cracked up. Through the laughter came a “yes” but perhaps the clumsy, watery and non-romantic proposal cast the relationship in a new light because those two young holidaymakers never made it down the aisle with each other. Lessons were hopefully learned by the fin-clad Romeo: just because you’re having a hoot of a holiday doesn’t mean you have to propose. And secondly, you might want to think about having a ring and making sure they can hear you.

I’ve found that handy.

The put-your-seat-back dilemma

You can’t write a weekly Travel Bugs column without making reference, from time to time, about what I’m sure is the single biggest gripe regarding fellow aeroplane passengers: people putting their seats right back.

Personally I’ve never been much of a seat-backer, I’m too nice, but I do wonder why more seat-backers don’t just ask first. It always seems so odd to me that people will go from sitting upright to virtually lying on your lap and not first sound you out about this intimate jump in the relationship.

One solution could be different sections in the Economy Class cabin for the seat-backers and the non-seat-backers. Like the old smoking sections, if everyone’s doing it,
then surely it doesn’t matter. And if there’s a discount for being in the non-seat-backers section, we could be on to a winner.

Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB’s Weekend Collective 3pm-6pm and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com.

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