My wife and I are practical people. I proposed to her in our living room after the ring we ordered together online arrived. Some folks, though, go all out to make popping the question something more akin to performance art. While I don’t really recommend public proposals at all since they add a lot of pressure on the proposed to say yes to a very big decision, there are some places in Houston that are worse than others for this stunt. If you’re out there planning a big scene, you might want to avoid…
10. Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
2800 Post Oak Boulevard
Everyone thinks the Waterwall looks romantic. It’s beautiful to look at, sure, but if you get down on one knee anywhere near the thing, you’ll be shouting your proposal at the top of your lungs over the roar while a fine mist soaks your clothes and partially blinds you. Plus, it’s always a dead giveaway. If you try to nonchalantly suggest going to the Waterwall out of the blue, any person with half a brain is going to guess the surprise.
9. The Texas Renaissance Festival
21778 FM 1774
RenFest is actually a pretty popular wedding destination, and I hear weddings there are fun if the weather cooperates and you’re not picky about mud. There’s a difference, though, in a place being good to get married and a place being good to ask someone to marry you. Whatever “make me the happiest person on Earth” speech you’ve prepared is very likely going to be intercut with someone screaming, “COLD BEER! GET YOUR COLD BEER HERE” as well as a few ill-timed, ribald jokes. If you’re absolutely set on doing it at RenFest, though, the best spot is in the Magic Garden near Sherwood away from all the vendors.
8. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
3 NRG Park
There’s no delicate way to put this. Proposing at the Rodeo will mean the memory of that moment will always smell of cow farts and the deep frying of things no sane person would deep-fry. Unless you’re a rider who just went eight seconds on a bull and want to celebrate living another day by getting hitched, proposing here is a terrible plan.
7. The Creepy Tunnel Under the Houston Arboretum
I’ve recently rediscovered how much I like the Arboretum for taking the kid and our new dog on long walks in the woods. Seems like a nice, quiet place full of natural beauty to declare your love as well. Oh, except for the tunnel straight out of a horror movie, that is. Dragging a significant other in there promising you have something neat to show her or him is a good way to get a face full of Mace. Oh, and the inside is full of childlike drawings because that doesn’t make it any freakier.
6. Numbers Night Club
Plenty of couples I know have met dancing at Numbers, but don’t ask someone to marry you there. The only spot you can even hear each other is outside with the last of the clove-smoking tribes, and it has a distinctly un-romantic element to it. Even if you do think you can outshout the sound system on the dance floor, I don’t recommend getting down on one knee there. You’re likely to get stuck to something and be unable to rise again without help.
5. A Texans Game
1 Reliant Parkway
Remember what I said about public proposals putting too much pressure on the proposed to say yes? That goes triple when you’re talking about doing so on the largest Jumbotron in the NFL. Oh, sure, people do it, but it really is kind of manipulative to have to answer a question like this in front of 10,000 people and however many might be watching at home.
4. The Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Drive
I have it on good authority that the Houston Zoo is a fantastic place to have a wedding reception. However, all the problems associated with the Rodeo get multiplied when you're trying to propose at the Zoo. The crowds aren’t so bad, though getting a parking space can ruin any mood on the weekends. The pungent odor of exotic bowel movements is always hanging in the air, and monkey calls can be heard across the grounds, which isn’t going to help you get through a proposal without laughing.
3. Millie Bush Dog Park
16576 Westheimer Parkway
Lots of couples bond over their pets, and Millie Bush is arguably the most picturesque of all the Houston dog parks. Lovely spot for a proposal except for two things. The first is that kneeling down is an invitation to be swarmed by dogs that think you just want all the hugs and kisses. I’ve been knocked ass-over-teakettle just bending down to tie my shoes. The second is the wind, which blows at a fearsome rate out that way. Good luck hearing an answer over it.
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2. The Texas Killing Fields
I-45 bordering the Calder Oil Field
Just south of Houston is an area known as the Texas Killing Fields, in which the bodies of more than 30 murdered girls have been discovered since the 1970s. Whether it’s the work of a terribly prolific serial killer or just a convenient dumping ground for murder victims is a mystery. What you don’t have to guess at is that it’s a terrible place to ask someone to marry you. The best-case scenario is that you stumble across a body in the course of doing so. The worst is…you know, I’m just going to let you imagine that. It is, however, still a better spot than…
1. The Middle of the Freakin’ Highway
By now you’ve probably heard of the charming man who managed to shut down the entire Gulf Freeway on a Sunday afternoon so he could propose to his girlfriend. It was a terrible idea that got the man charged with obstruction of a roadway and that caused several people to exit their cars to film the incident. Luckily, none of those people decided to turn the interruption of traffic into a road rage tragedy, but try this out on 290, and I promise you someone is going to snap. So be smart, and maybe stick to a nice restaurant when you want to ask someone to marry you. Leave the stunts at home.