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Students react to a man’s proposal tragedy in Tanzania last month

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Marriage proposals should be a special event for making intimate commitments and creating lasting memories for couples, said students responding to a proposal tragedy which happened in Tanzania on Sept. 19. A man, Steven Weber Jr., never surfaced after proposing underwater on vacation to his girlfriend, Kenesha Antoine. Students who are engaged to be married said planned proposals can be fun and creative, but should remain safe to prevent accidents.

According to the Associated Press, in a video posted by Antoine, Weber, 40, was swimming outside a submerged cabin underwater room where his girlfriend was waiting to see him. He was holding a handwritten proposal note. “I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you,” said the note encased in a plastic bag.

Weber then flipped the note over to the other side, which asked, “Will you please be my wife?” He pulled out a jewelry box from his swim trunks. He opened it to reveal a ring before swimming out of view of the video.

After finding out Weber never surfaced, Antoine wrote a post on Facebook that says, “You never emerged from those depths, so you never got to hear my answer, “Yes! Yes! A million times, yes, I will marry you!!” says Antoine.

Zoie Brooks, a senior from Georgia majoring in marine biology, said she was proposed to in a similar way. Her husband proposed to her while they were snorkeling. She said Weber’s proposal gone wrong was a tragedy, and she couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for his girlfriend to go through that horrible situation.

Brooks said, “A proposal is supposed to be a fun, special, meaningful moment in your life. [It is understandable that Weber] wanted to be creative so that when they look back they can remember all those good, happy and exciting feelings.”

However, Brooks added people should know their limits and make risk assessments before proposing in a potentially dangerous way. “Don’t let [others] pressure you to do things. Make it special for only you two.”

Agreeing with Brooks, Kriscelle Bolivar, a freshman from the Philippines majoring in TESOL, who just got engaged in Fall Semester 2019, said the influence of social media pushes people to do things above their abilities.

Bolivar said the most important thing for an engagement is the commitment between two people and not about others. “It is sad to see people forget their capacities just to be on-trend or amaze others. I have seen some extravagant proposals. People spent lots of money to be unique to not only impress their girl, but also other friends.”

Bolivar said she would prefer a traditional proposal because she could feel the sincerity from him and be able to hug him right away. “The traditional version is simple, more meaningful, and safer. A traditional engagement doesn't mean you are not going to be happy,” she said, compared to extravagant proposals. “It is all about commitments, intention and pure love.”

Brooks shared how her engagement connected her and her spouse because of their love of the ocean. “He and I are both experienced divers. We got to know each other and dated through diving and being surrounded in the ocean. [His decision to propose while snorkeling] is really meaningful for us because this is the uniting factor between us.”

Brooks shared her engagement experience with joy. She said her husband proposed to her when their friends were filming them in the water. After he pulled out the ring, she nodded her head up and down, meaning the answer was a “yes.” When they slowly floated back on the surface her husband dropped the ring so he had to dive down again. She said she loved the creativity from her husband.

Brooks added people should not let this tragic accident hold anyone back from doing something creative and fun. “Just be smart with your limits. Have fun and make the engagement special for you two.”