I just spent 27 minutes watching two complete strangers get engaged. On Youtube. I’m not kidding. 27 minutes.
Apparently, so have six million other people. If you’ve got half an hour to spare, knock yourself out.
If you don’t, here’s what you need to know – a young man proposed to a young woman. She cried. He cried. They hugged. They kissed. She said yes. Tale as old as time.
Except, can I go back to the 27 minutes and 6 million views?
This video has gone viral because it’s a proposal unlike any other proposal. And, brace yourselves for some killjoy: I don’t mean that in a good way. I don’t know if I could have dreamt up a more over-the-top proposal.
The guy manages to incorporate a radio interview, three homemade music videos, a homemade movie trailer and a flash mob into his proposal. And, of course, he filmed every last minute (and I mean every last minute) – professional video crews, Skype, hidden cameras and all. He then puts his work-of-art (I mean love?) on Youtube, so his creative genius and big romantic gesture can be seen by the whole wide world.
Seriously. What is happening? Am I the only one who thought this was a little . . . weird? And when did it become acceptable to turn an intimate, personal, incredibly important moment into a big, public, theatrical performance, one in which the more melodramatic and showy, the better.
Kayne West rented out a stadium and hired the Chicago Symphony to propose to Kim Kardashian. What’s an average bloke to do? Are theatrics like this becoming what’s expected?
Take this comment from the Youtube proposal video: “To my future fiancé, I am so sorry but nothing you ever come up with will compare to this.”
Or this one: “This made me cry! I wish to be proposed to like that someday.”
Or this one: “I hope I can find someone like him . . . funny, creative, and romantic!”
Gentlemen, you can thank guys like this when your future fiancé thinks your old-fashioned “dinner and roses proposal” doesn’t cut it.
The problem with trying to turn a marriage proposal into a wannabe Oscar performance is twofold: first, it turns a monumental moment into essentially a creativity competition, the root of which is vanity. (Did anyone notice how the video focuses almost exclusively on the guy making it? It’s not about her, or even them – it’s about him.)
But more importantly, it turns the focus away from the purpose of the proposal – marriage. Because guess what? The way a man proposes has nothing to do at all with love, commitment, loyalty, or longevity. I hate to bring up America’s 50% divorce rate, but in light of videos like this, I feel somewhat compelled. We can dream up brilliant, creative, unique ways to propose, but all the flash mobs and music videos in the world can’t save a marriage when it’s past this butterflies, pie-in-the-sky phase. If anything, all the hype and hoopla of an over-the-top proposal can distract from the serious, down-to-earth business of making sure that you are marrying the right person.
I like a good love story like everyone else. And there’s nothing wrong with putting time and thought into making a proposal feel special. But this “look at me I’m so creative and I love you so much but I want to see how many Youtube hits our engagement video got” craziness has got to stop.
My dad proposed to my mom quietly, privately, and simply over dinner. And they’re still together. And that’s a story you’ll never see on Youtube. So perhaps if people stopped associating anything like love or marriage with videos like this, that newly engaged couple might be up against better odds.