Why men historically propose to women
My best friend and I have known each other, and been best friends, since first grade. Although we're more like sisters at this point, we're also very different — and, interestingly, one of the ways this played out was how we each got engaged.
My husband and I went a more traditional route, in that he was the one who popped the question. Granted, I knew it was coming. He and I had talked about it in detail, laid out our requirements for circumstances that had to be met before we'd be comfortable getting engaged, and, once those requirements were met, designed the ring together.
And, when he got down on his knee and busted out the ring, I replied with a much less traditional "[expletive] yes, I'll marry you," followed by a "stand the [expletive] up, dude, this is a marriage of equals and you don't need to kneel!" So there's one break with tradition, in that my very sweary acceptance isn't how, well, pretty much any women of yore would've responded.
My bestie, by contrast, decided she wanted to be the one to propose to her then-boyfriend (who's now her husband and is an all-around awesome dude). I was surprised when she told me her plan, only because I'd never known anyone who'd flipped the traditional gender roles like that — but about .06 seconds later, I though, 'Who says the man has to be the one proposing?' I mean, just because something has, in recent memory, always been done a certain way, that doesn't rule out doing it differently now.
And, for that matter, why don't women propose? Why has it always been done this way? What's the history behind men as the ones giving the proposal and women as the ones receiving it?