YouTube/Tom London
YouTube/Tom London

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Gillian Douse, 34, and her boyfriend, Bernie (no last name was provided), recently celebrated his birthday at an Italian eatery. The couple shared a love of magic, so Douse contacted magician Tom London to help plan the proposal. While the couple was eating, London approached and asked if he could perform a magic trick.

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London borrowed a ring that Bernie already wore on his ring finger and made it vanish. Then, he pointed to Douse’s pocket to suggest that the ring was inside, and Douse pulled out a white box, which she slowly opened to reveal a silver band. “Will you marry me?” Douse asked. Bernie looked shocked but said yes. The video has since been uploaded to YouTube, where its been viewed several thousand times.

Although Yahoo Shine could not reach the couple for comment, according to London, they couldn’t be happier. “Gillian was nervous about proposing, but she wasn’t worried about breaking traditional roles at all,” he tells Yahoo Shine.

And she's not alone. More and more women are taking control of the proposal process, staging elaborate, public marriage proposals to their partners. In a video posted to YouTube in August, a woman named Vicky proposed to Jon, her boyfriend of eight years (no last names were provided), by organizing a "faux wedding." She hired a videographer, blindfolded her boyfriend, and led him into a church where his family was waiting. Jon walked down the aisle while Vicky waited at the end (however, before she could finish her speech, he one-upped her by proposing himself!). In March, a 33-year-old San Diego woman named Michelle Walker publicly proposed to her boyfriend, Andrew Harvey, 29, on stage during a music festival (he said yes); and in 2012, with the help of CBS's hidden cameras, Texas native Katy Robles not only purchased an engagement ring for her boyfriend Ryder Hohman, but she dropped to one knee in front of a public fountain, and asked for his hand in marriage. Celebrities have gotten in on the trend, too. On Thursday, actress Kristen Bell married her boyfriend of six years, actor Dax Sheppard, after tweeting a proposal to him in June: @daxsheppard1 will you marry me?”

“Women are advancing in all areas of life — at work, in school — and for many, that ambition spills into their personal lives,” Paul Hokemeyer, a New York City-based marriage and family therapist, tells Yahoo Shine. "It's a modern-day extension of what women have been doing for ages — negotiating the terms of their relationship." And doing it in public makes sense: Proposing takes courage and, in our social media-saturated world, bolder women are likelier to share their experience with the world.

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Popping the question is only the beginning. According to a survey of 1,700 women created by the wedding website, The Knot, while 74 percent of men select and pay for engagement rings, 18 percent of women chip in for their rock, and 2 percent pick up the entire tab. “Many earn higher salaries than their partners, so they feel it's fair to contribute,” Jennie Ma, fashion and beauty editor for The tells Yahoo Shine. “Also, couples often cohabitate and combine their finances before marriage, so women figure they’re, in a sense, paying for their own ring, either way.” And finally, the poll showed that “teamwork” is often cited as important relationship criterion. Paying for an engagement ring together may be one way of expressing that.

How do men feel about being romanced? Not so great, say the results of a recent study conducted by the University of California, Santa Cruz. Researchers found that two-thirds of those surveyed would “definitely” want the man to propose (one man pointed to feeling emasculated as a reason for not wanting to be on the receiving end of the proposal). Only 2.8 percent of women would “kind of” want to pop the question, citing the risk of rejection or appearing aggressive, as a turnoff, and 14 percent simply said that proposing would be “scary.”

Hokemeyer's advice to women? “Make sure they’re operating from a place of happiness and security before taking that step.”

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