3. Last summer, Kerr had to sign Nash — only the face of his franchise, the most popular Phoenix athlete ever and the heart of his locker room — to a contract extension. Kerr knew Nash couldn’t stop rehashing the past four years, thinking of all the couldas and wouldas and whatmightabeens. He knew Nash wondered if Kerr and Sarver knew what they were doing. He knew that, if this were anyone else, Disgruntled Superstar X would have demanded a trade or made it clear, “I’m playing this last year out, and if we fall short again, I’m out of here.”
But he also knew Steve Nash isn’t wired that way. He’s loyal. He’s Canadian. He’s old-school. He believes in things like, “I am the leader of this team, so as soon as I say that I might want to leave, I can’t lead anymore.” Nobody else would have stayed. Steve Nash stayed. Kerr promised him things would be better, that the window hadn’t closed, that he would, for lack of a better word, fix this. He even believed it.
The most likely ones to accept such proposals are women who are unsure of their “quality,” either on the mating market or in unmarried life. Accepting the proposal takes on one kind of risk but relieves the woman of another.
Overall it seems that women are today more certain about the utility value of their alternatives to a surprise marriage proposal and that means they turn them down. The proposals may seem like harmless “cheap talk” (propose to lots of women above your station in life and thus the custom persists, even if it rarely succeeds), but Google-savvy, credential-savvy women can evaluate men better than ever before and the lower status guys don’t get close enough to them to try a shock proposal, much less make it stick.
Is it a prediction that rapid, surprise proposals are more common in societies where male high achievers are hard to identify in advance? How important is inequality of income and volatility/uncertainty of income?
Perhaps for aesthetic reasons, I find the decline of the surprise proposal slightly sad (though in part reflective of some positive societal developments), and I am pleased to reaffirm that I do not believe in the consultative approach.