It all started with YouTube.
Before I got myself betrothed, I was taken in by a certain video that went absolutely wild, or in media-speak, viral.
Which makes it sound like a new strain of ‘flu. Whatever.
After watching this clip, I wanted to see more.
More weird wedding dances down aisles, more shocked-expression engagements, more squealy-pregnancy announcements that have been recorded and uploaded.
It’s like eating a box of dirty chicken and a diet fizzy drink.
Euphoria quickly followed by self-hatred.
…But you had the diet fizzy drink. So that accounts for something. Doesn’t it?
I would get in my head that I needed a grand gesture. I needed a proposal that was indeed YouTube-worthy – or at least worthy to make an appearance with Mel and Kochie on Sunrise.
Holy shenanigans – what if it wasn’t?
I noticed that after the now-famous 2009 clip of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance, there has been a flood of similarly-choreographed videos.
A while ago now, there was a one-off TV show called Mobbed.
It was the nail in the normal-proposal coffin.
The first episode followed Justin who wanted to surprise his girlfriend, Nikki, with a proposal. Cute.
With the help of choreographers, and – literally – a cast of thousands, he was able to bring Nikki to tears right before he proposed in the middle of the flash-mob social swarm. Cute turns to terrifying.
It was a rollercoaster of a program. The poor girl was subject to every emotion possible, including the suggestion that her fella wasn’t the nicest of chaps when it came to an ‘ex-girlfriend’ (an actor for the show). At the end, face strewn with non-waterproof mascara and confusion, she had to decide, then and there, to marry on the telly.
Fight or flight?
I consider myself a well adjusted and confident lady, but I would totally flight.
Now, a new one has become ‘viral’.
This one tipped me over the edge.
Not just because the proposal reeks of a commercial for Honda CRV (the words prefacing the video tingles my bullshit radar), it creates an expectation that a proposal with less work involved to pull it off would be, well, less.
Lesser in meaning and less important.
There are even parts of wedding websites that cater to the pre-proposal and one particular site has a whole forum dedicated to the ‘not engaged (yet)’ category. Which basically feeds off young women’s paranoia at why-oh-why their man is taking their goddam time to pop the goddam question….??
Articles titled ‘Easy Ways to Document Your Wedding Proposal’ and ‘50 Romantic Ways to Propose’ with the tagline, ‘select with care — your future depends on it!’ are just as bad as a proposal production.
I’ll be honest, this video made me feel crap about my own.
Then I realised that what The Mister did was reasonably private, no one witnessed it except a handful of suits having a boozy Friday lunch.
I even wanted us to keep it quiet for 24 hours. But that didn’t work. I was telling strangers as we sauntered down Flinders Street (we were holidaying in Melbourne).
No one seemed to mind, I mean everyone seemed to be in the wedding mood, especially as that very night there was another high-profile royal wedding on everyone’s minds.
It was a serious question. After telling him to get the hell up as I thought he had fallen over between a chair and the next table, I gave him a serious, considered, almost inaudible answer of ‘OK’.
We need to just take a breath before we try to orchestrate and commodify these life events.
When we do this, it essentially says ‘look at us, look at us, look at ME, ME, ME, dammit’… and if you film it just for the sake of uploading it, while memorable and – the holy grail, goes viral – kind of suggests that a low-key proposal doesn’t mean as much.
Bollocks to that.
I was pretty horrified at one of the bridal expos I went to over the past 12 months. It specifically catered to creating the ‘grand gesture’. Someone is seriously cashing in on this agreement between two people – and we don’t even have a wedding date set.
It worries me when forum questions like ‘Do you need a grand gesture when proposing?’ is followed by responses like …
- ‘Yes of course you do. You need to be prepared to use your knee. A Tiffany box always helps too!
- I think you should always go to a lot of trouble for the woman you are about to marry’
- i think yes it should be grand but honestly thats just my opinion, if it wasnt what i expected i would be disappointed.
- I think grang gestures are lovely & romantic & proves how much he really loves you & how he far he would go to ensure you are in his life forever.
(These posts have not been altered, hence the ‘grang’ gesture comment, I haven’t been drinking today, yet this post may drive me to.)
A little bit of reverence, seriousness, restraint shouldn’t be confused with being unromantic. The same way that a grand gesture shouldn’t be confused with being romantic.
YouTube proposal videos will always claim this or that video is the ‘Most Romantic’ or the ‘Most fun’ or the ‘Best Ever’. It’s not. Yours is the best ever. Purely because he or she has never asked you before, and that’s what makes it bespoke.
The truth is, I would have said yes in the 12-items-or-less aisle at the supermarket.
But if you find yourself in that supermarket an everyone starts dancing, flash-mob-style, it would be totally OK with me if you made a run for it.