Engaged on Groupons: Can Stunt Proposals Get More Stupid?

movie marquee proposalIt seems like one thing the information age has brought us is a constant stream of public proposals. Some are sweet, some are clever, some are a heck of a lot of work. But the one thing they have in common? They demand the attention of a bunch of strangers -- and I just think that’s weird and tacky.
The hallmarks of the stunt proposal are: it requires participation from strangers; it takes weeks to prepare; it has the potential to go viral on YouTube; it involves a Jumbotron. That last one isn’t a necessity. Then again, if your proposal involves a Jumbotron, you’re guilty of a public display of proposal even if none of the others are in play.
I’m glad everyone’s so pleased with themselves and want the world to know of their joy. But whatever happened to just announcing it in The New York Times and being done with it? 

Here are some recent examples. You tell me if I’m just a cranky old bat.


Example 1: This guy and his fiancée are really into Groupons.

I mean, really into them. He asked Groupon to send out a special edition of the flash-sale email that proposed to his fiancé. Then he sat around till 1 a.m. refusing to let her go to sleep. Wouldn’t it have been soooo much cooler if he had just waited till the next day and let her find it in her inbox? Anyway. The proposal also went out to everyone who gets Groupons in their area, so they had all these commenters wishing them well. I guess it’s cute, except it’s not. It’s weird.

Example 2: This guy is really into muppets.

So he created a movie of two muppets in love, rented out a movie theater, and packed all of his and his fiancee’s friends into a special screening where he showed it, then dropped to one knee when it was over. This thing was emailed all over the place, and I am finally going to be the one to say it out loud: It’s boring! What the … did they originally bond over littering in public? What did they do in their courtship, trudge around waving their arms? Were there no actual events he could allude to? Why didn’t he call me? I could have made this so much better. Ah well.

Example 3: The flash-mob proposal guy.

And if you’re a fan of the writer A.J. Jacobs, then you’ve heard the story (recounted in his book The Guinea Pig Diaries) about how he got the cast of Sex and the City to propose to his now-wife. Long story short: everyone was great about it except one cast member, but you’ll have to buy the book to find out who. (Oh, you can also google it.)

It’s great to do things in unconventional ways. But I never understood why a proposal is supposed to be this Big Thing in the first place. This is a lifetime commitment made between adults. Why do we turn it into a sexist fake-out, in which the guy is expected to make this huge declaration while we women wait, trembling and blushing, as if we don’t have the power to make decisions for ourselves?

Add to that: For the love of God, why does it have to involve a cast of thousands?

It’s a good idea to keep proposals intimate and personal, if for no other reason so that you don’t end up like the couple in this link.

What do you think of stunt proposals?

Image via Lori Grieg/Flickr

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