"She said yes! She said yes! She said yes!"

How a few brave and smitten souls got up the courage to declare their love and propose in public, and then lived to tell about it

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"Not so very long ago," writes Michael Kernan in what could be our Valentine's Day issue, "a guy who wanted to get married would hit his girl with a club, grab her by the hair and drag her into his cave."

Since then, fashions have changed considerably, not merely as to bopping the girl with clubs and such things as offering her old man money, but with regard to that traditionally very private and secluded moment when the guy is supposed to get down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage. The one-knee ploy still applies, apparently, but Kernan thinks he has spotted what may become a trend: people wearing their hearts very much on their sleeves, who pop the question very much in public, with flashing colored lights, in skywriting, even on TV shows.

The sentimental and ingenious declarations that Kernan reports on occur in all sorts of places (a fancy Paris restaurant; the backyard of a famous shortstop); they involve an assortment of smitten swains, among them a crossword puzzle addict and a national politician of note.

Happily, all the women said yes, perhaps proving that even in our cynical baby-booming times, "faint heart ne'er won fair lady."

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