I’m a 28-year-old man who’s found the love of his life. I wish to propose matrimony on Valentine’s Day in a traditional, get-down-on-one-knee sort of way. I’ve got a new gray suit; I need shoes. The question is, brown or black? — Tom

Manolo says, the Manolo applauds your willingness to stick with the most traditional and romanticest form of the proposal, rather than as has become depressingly common, taking your beloved to the Capitals hockey game, and, during the second intermission, having the Slapshot the Mascot skate out with the ring on his stick, while your visage appears on the Jumbotron, 30 feet tall, pledging eternal love to your deeply embarrassed girlfriend, whom you refer to repeatedly, in glorious amplification, by your own special, little love nickname, “Sugar Butt.”

Trust the Manolo: Only the lunatic or the Hollywood producer (but the Manolo repeats himself) would think that such the spectacular public proposal was the good idea.  Better to take your lady friend to the romantically dim little place, where, if things do not go well and you are rejected, you may slink away largely unnoticed by the few diners who are present.

As for shoes with the gray suit, the Manolo’s choice is brown, which, if properly chosen, can have the deeper, more luxurious color than the black. Here is the straight-tip oxford from Alden in the walnut brown ($490, Alden Shoes, 921 F St. NW).