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The Column: Kids, take a knee on those public marriage proposals

Did you see the director who proposed to his girlfriend at the Emmy Award ceremonies?

From the stage, Glenn Weiss looked toward the audience and summoned the lucky lady, Jan Svendsen. Weiss produced a ring and took a knee. Tearfully, Svendsen accepted. The crowd went wild.

As was noted almost immediately by the beleaguered citizens of Men’s Nation, this was a touching moment — the ring belonged to Weiss’ mother, who had recently died — but worrisome, too.

“Makes it tough on the rest of us,” sighed a TV news host the next morning, meaning essentially, how are we supposed to top this?

It’s not that men, poor saps, aren’t trying.

One guy carved his proposal into a tree. Another hung a sign on his dog. Somebody took the pit out of an avocado and replaced it with a ring.

There was the man who wrote “Marry Me” at the bottom of his girlfriend’s coffee cup and the fast-food freak who stuck a diamond band into the bun of a fish filet sandwich. Skywriting, scoreboards, divers at the local aquarium — the question is being popped everywhere and by any means necessary.

Exotic, perhaps, but public proposals carry a special measure of risk.

That is, she might just say no.

An earnest fellow in Mexico learned his lesson the hard way. In a downtown setting, he asked his girlfriend to marry him. A guitar player stood by waiting to serenade the happy couple.

On bended knee, the hopeful chap offered his beloved a ring. The woman considered for a moment, covered her face, shook her head to indicate “not a chance” and ducked for cover. The rejected suitor was left alone — except for the guitar player and passers-by offering regrets.

This was a dismal scene — memorialized on YouTube — that could have been avoided if only the fellow had done his due diligence.

In a sign that the world has not gone completely crazy, polling shows that most adults do not like the idea of proposals as performance art. The VeraQuest research people found that 84 percent of Americans “prefer a private proposal ... heightened romance be damned” and, I’m betting, the same goes in Mexico.

A survey run by the David’s Bridal chain a few years ago, and reported online by the Daily Beast, noted that brides-to-be wanted no part of proposals via Facebook, Jumbotron stadium TVs or social media flash mobs.

“Brides overwhelmingly prefer more personal, low-key proposals to those that are more elaborate,” researchers said.

Most disposed to public proposals are young folks, according to VeraQuest, but who can be surprised at that?

This is the demographic that pays extra for jeans so thoroughly ruined — slit, faded, pre-soiled — that even my Depression-era mother would have used them to clean the oven and, I notice lately, orders Long Island Iced Tea as a dinner drink.

Can we take a break here? Do you know what goes into Long Island Iced Tea? If you’re past 50, I’m guessing maybe not. A standard recipe calls for vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, sour mix and a splash of Coke — less likely to stimulate the taste buds than render them helpless. Couple of those and, of course, you’d want a proposal in the middle of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

My advice to millennials: Pace yourself, kids. Life is exhausting enough.

Somehow, I knew that early on.

When I asked Eileen Rinehart to marry me during one winter college break, I flew to Omaha where her parents, Naomi and Vene, lived after moving from New Jersey. On the flight west, a stewardess — as female cabin crew members were known then — asked why I was traveling.

“Getting engaged,” I said.

She asked to see the ring. It was small, and partially financed by my father, but the stewardess swooned on cue. “So-o-o beautiful,” she said.

In Omaha, I put the ring in the freezer section of Naomi and Vene’s refrigerator and, at the proper moment, asked Eileen — who is called Wink by most everybody — if she would get me a glass of water, with ice, while she was up.

Wink opened the freezer, spotted the ring, smiled her sweet smile, and said yes. We kissed, announced ourselves as engaged the next morning and hustled back to college in a 1955 Ford.

It wasn’t the Emmys, but it was us.

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