If You're Going to Pop the Question, Do It Without the Showboating


It’s wedding season! (For single gals like me, this means drinking season.) But if the season’s general aura of sweaty love made you realize you want to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage, please take these recommendations into your consideration so you do not look like an embarrassing attention-seeking engagement whore.

The past five years have given rise to a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon: the overly public proposal. YouTube has shown us over-the-top, attention-hungry marriage leeches — ready to attach their romantic fangs into your otherwise level-headed self and suck the reason out of you until nothing remains but a dumbed-down set of teary eyes — eager to engage the whole world with their romantic antics.

I will admit that my cold heart has once (maybe twice) been capable of shedding a single tear while watching some ridiculous proposal on YouTube. But I still think that crazy public proposals are stupid. Aside from putting your beloved on the very public spot, it’s a bit arrogant to assume the world would want to pay attention to your proposal to embark on a life-building venture with a 50% success rate. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be that girl. Here’s how.

  • Get things offline: if you propose to your partner over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Bang with Friends (why not?) or YouTube, you are proposing to the world, not to the your partner. You are making it about public approval more so than your partner’s approval. It’s like you need a “yes” from your partner, you need an awwww from strangers and friends. And at this point, it feels uncreative and sleazy.
  • I get that you want to remember the proposal, but do you really need to hire Michael Bay’s production team to film in? Nothing makes me cringe more than when something epic happens — an impromptu performance by Jack White in a parking lot, the Pope’s first appearance, Donald Trump’s hair flying away — and everyone is recording it on their iPhone or Gawd forbid, iPad. You are officially missing the moment by focusing on recording it rather than experiencing it. Is your memory so poor that you need it recorded? Are you so desperate for proof that something happened? Doesn’t the engagement itself cover that? And think about your intention: Do you want execute a proposal that is so intimate and sweet that it is impossible to forget? Or would you rather record your proposal so you can validate that it happened, so you and your partner can look back at the “wonderful” days of your relationship and your friends can gawk at it with tears? Simple video is fine, but seriously, if you need Ellen Degeneres or your local camera crew to record it you, you’re going too far.
  • Do not use Google Glass in your proposal. Please, please do not use it. If you were to propose to me using Glass, I would assume that you are looking at pictures of Megan Fox.
  • Do not propose in the Dunkin’ Donuts line, or the KFC line, or any line. YOU might have had an immediate epiphany that this woman is your love while ordering a bucket of extra crispy, but that woman is probably trying to decide between chicken legs or chicken breasts. And then, you throw this crazy choice at her. Fuck, she just wants some mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid all weird surprises: one moment I’m taking a shit in the toilet, next moment you’re (I have no boyfriend so I don’t know who “you” is) bursting into the toilet with passionate love. Shit. One moment I’m walking down the streets, next moment you decide to surprise me from behind and I think I’m being attacked so I poke your eyes out.
  • Do not do it in the workplace, unless you work in a wedding store/planning company. This is embarrassing. Also, everyone at the workplace will be judging you.
  • Do not place the wedding ring in food or drink. Unless she intends to eat very little. You do not want to risk things going awry. If, god forbid, they do, your beloved will be forced to shit out his or her ring. Memorable, but probably in the wrong way.

With all that in mind, maybe you’re afraid your partner will think your proposal is not grand enough: Where is Robyn to sing at my proposal?! I thought you loved me! This person maybe sucks. If you don’t care that they suck, then hire Robyn for your wedding or something.

TL;DR: Keep it intimate and personalized. Make sure it has you and your partner’s personality smeared all over it, not the internet or KFC gravy. Remember that the only thing that you need is a “yes.” If you feel that you need an entire orchestra and glitter to receive an affirmative response, then, perhaps you need to figuratively add more music and wonder to your relationship and not just your proposal.

Photo via Ethan Miller/Getty

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