The Classic Proposal: Use photos, crayons, and a scrapbook to create a charming story of your relationship, culminating in, "Will you marry me?"
The New Take: Use photos, videos, and your MacBook to create a charming story of your relationship, culminating in, "Will you marry me?"
Good idea? Sure. Instead of using technology to cheapen the experience or broadcast it to cyberspace, you're using it to be creative and personalize. You're making a keepsake that she will cherish. It works. The key: Do this at home or on a romantic beach...not over YouTube.
The Classic Proposal: Get on one knee, look into her eyes, and ask her to be your wife.
The New Take: Your cartoon Wii Mii looks into her Wii Mii's eyes and asks her to be his wife (to do this, change your Mii's name to "Marry Me").
Good idea? Only under the following three conditions: 1) The Wii is deeply intertwined in your relationship and part of your bond; 2) You immediately follow up the Wii proposal with an actual proposal on your actual knee; and 3) You're both nerds. The trick, as always, is knowing your audience. Not all proposals work with all women. Personalize.
The Classic Proposal: Scavenger hunt clues that lead to the site of your first date.
The New Take: Foursquare check-ins that lead to the site of your first date.
Good idea? Here's why it might work: You're not actually popping the question over social media; you're leveraging social media to get her to the right spot -- a small but crucial distinction. Once you get her to the restaurant, it's time to holster the smartphone and get traditional. One more thing: We will personally track you down and punch you if you say on Foursquare: "I just became Mayor...of your heart."
The Classic Proposal: Write a sweet note; deliver it via her puppy.
The New Take: Write a sweet note; deliver it via Groupon.
Good Idea? Depends who you ask. As you're probably heard, the world's first Groupon proposal was successfully executed to a chorus of "Ahhhhhwwwwws" and became an Internet sensation, destined to join the JK Wedding Entrance Dance in the Cyber Wedding Hall of Fame. Beware. Just like with the JK Dance, the original can be cute, but knockoffs can be dreadful. Proceed with caution.
The Classic Proposal: Flying a banner through the sky saying: "WILL YOU MARRY ME?"
The New Take: Purchasing a banner ad on her favorite website saying: "WILL YOU MARRY ME?"
Good idea? Here's a hint. When it comes to the success of online ads, marketers are thrilled with a click-through of 1 percent, and they'd do cartwheels if they cracked 2 percent. This is the most important question you'll ever ask in your entire life: Do you like those odds? For every clever Groupon proposal there's a snicker-worthy dud like this.
The Classic Proposal: Popping the question on the Jumbotron.
The New Take: Popping the question over Twitter.
Good idea? Don't ambush her. Don't embarrass her...unless you are confident that she adores the spotlight and loves that sort of thing. Exceptions aside, you want this moment to be intimate, personal, and something the two of you share forever. Proposing over Twitter -- or her Facebook wall -- will guarantee you mockery for whatever comes first...the next 50 years or until you die.
Final thoughts: We've talked to women. We know what they want. And 999 times out of 1,000, she'll prefer something classic, traditional, and timeless. You can't go wrong with that. Yes, it's theoretically possible that you can pull off a "new spin" as described above, but it's a risky, risky move that should only be attempted if you know -- beyond the shadow of a doubt -- that she's the type of woman who'd like it. And if you're not sure? She's not.
Jeff Wilser is the editor of ThePlunge.com and the author of The Maxims of Manhood.