Katie Said Yes!
February 29, 2012 2:39 PM   Subscribe

When Len Kendall decided to propose to his girlfriend Katie Holland, he turned to Buzzfeed for an assist. His proposal quickly went viral.

Of course, Katie said yes. All together now: Awwwww!
posted by SisterHavana (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, great. I suppose now we can expect a whole host of baby viruses.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:43 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


> “The internet's kind of like the new baseball stadium,” he said.

The one time I saw someone propose at a baseball game (PROPOSAL CAM!!!) my wife said "I don't know if she's crying because she's happy or because she's mortified."
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:01 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. If she had said no, things would have gone very wrong.
posted by Garm at 3:06 PM on February 29, 2012


I've often wondered if those stunt proposers later use stunts to serve the divorce papers, too? Never seen anybody served on the Jumbotron, but maybe gorillagrams or singing Elvi? Maybe after jumping out of a plane, on the way down, she pulls her chute and the top of chute is painted with, "I'm sleeping with your brother."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:12 PM on February 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I think stunt proposals are mostly awful (at least when they are incredibly public). You're taking what should be an intimate moment and making a public spectacle out of it. Never mind the emotional hostage-taking aspect of it.
posted by asnider at 3:21 PM on February 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


"Mommy, how did Daddy propose to you?"
"On a website called Reddit, using a pidgin language created to convey the stupidity of cats, in internet in-joke format."
"Mommy, do I have to grow up to be a fucking manchild, too?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:24 PM on February 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


His proposal quickly went viral

And now we're all engaged!
posted by grog at 3:24 PM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, the Trib calls her a "long-time girlfriend", but Kendall still went to these lengths to 'convince' her to say yes?

These things do not compute.
posted by gsh at 3:25 PM on February 29, 2012


I think some people are missing the fact that she works her job is managing social media for McDonald's. Seems like this sort of proposal might be right up her alley.
posted by hootenatty at 3:43 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think we'd all be better off if the Department Of Homeland Security spent their time seizing web-sites that encourage stunts like this.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:44 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


ABC's Media Watch on a similar stunt by Cunard this past Valentines Day.
posted by dumbland at 3:46 PM on February 29, 2012


Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I think stunt proposals are mostly awful (at least when they are incredibly public). You're taking what should be an intimate moment and making a public spectacle out of it. Never mind the emotional hostage-taking aspect of it.

This exactly.

But also, I'm really curious about marriage proposals in general. It seems somewhat absurd to me that anyone would turn such a serious matter into a "surprise." Like, I don't understand any of the getting down on one knee and popping the question stuff. It always seemed to me like if I got to the point in a relationship where marriage was being considered, it would take the form of a discussion between myself and my significant other. "Maybe we should think about getting married?" "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." "Okay then let's start planning for it." Etc. All I can figure is that it's the influence of tv/movies causing folks to want a "special moment" in the form of a sudden proposal. But again it just seems bizarre to me that such a big decision would be approached that way rather than through a lot of boring thoughtful dialogue. What am I missing?
posted by palidor at 3:49 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


But again it just seems bizarre to me that such a big decision would be approached that way rather than through a lot of boring thoughtful dialogue. What am I missing?

I think you're missing the part before the "surprise" proposal where the couple talks about marriage privately (although keep your eye on Facebook, making a big show of that step that could be the next internet meme). The proposal being a surprise doesn't preclude talking about the idea of marriage beforehand.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:57 PM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also the part where she picks out the ring and tells him he better not give it to her in a fucking ballpark.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:05 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


asnider (and palidor):

I proposed to my wife in my newspaper column, which was read by about a quarter of a million people, so it probably qualifies as a stunt proposal. A couple of thoughts there:

1. I wouldn't have made such a proposal unless I was absolutely sure it was going to be successful.

2. I was absolutely sure because of lots of boring, thoughtful dialogue, etc. Which I suspect most do as a matter of course well before the proposal. I suspect in about 95% of proposals everything's already been settled, it's just a matter of formality, and that's a matter of personal taste.

I imagine there are people who propose without being certain of the answer, but those are in the minority; those who aren't certain but make a public spectacle are almost certainly a minority of that minority.
posted by jscalzi at 4:13 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems somewhat absurd to me that anyone would turn such a serious matter into a "surprise."

Fully agree, palidor. It's one of the remaining vestiges of women in our society being treated as chattel. This hoary tradition perpetuates the myth of women as being unequal. It is the man with the power, he decides if the woman is worthy of being asked. She needs to wait to be asked by the man, and if he doesn't, she obviously must be the one with the shortcomings.

And yes, this trope is perpetuated by the marketing weasels who control media; with their manufactured "suggestions" that 2 months salary is the appropriate amount to spend on an engagement ring, and whose machinations have now made the price of a new car the norm for weddings.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:24 PM on February 29, 2012


I love stunt proposals. I mean, I would never want one, and I would say no without hesitation to anyone that tried, but I LOVE WATCHING THEM. I think I've told this story here before, but many years ago I was given tickets to the last Bills game of the season. They were way out of playoff contention, playing some other sorry team....not exactly a sellout crowd. Some dude won a contest (radio station-run, I'd imagine) where the prize was some time on the jumbotron during a break in the action late in the game. This being Buffalo in December, the turf was barely visible due to the constant driving snow. It was bone-chillingly cold and even the few people left (that we could see) were shuffling out. So this guy's time comes up, his minute of scoreboard time. He gets down on one knee in his red and blue parka and proposes to his girlfriend, who was probably wondering why they had to stay past halftime. And this poor guy, he drops the ring in the snow.
posted by troika at 4:34 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a more interesting proposal/wedding model would be questing. That would be more in keeping with the challenging nature of marriage, instead of the whole "Ooh look at me" nature of proposals and weddings these days. I'm thinking that when the conversation starts turning to thoughts of marriage, you each draft up and exchange quest lists. And I don't mean scavenger hunt shit - I mean actual quests. Sail across the sea in a dinghy. Find burried treasure. Become the king or queen of a lost tribe. Then, while your beloved is away, you marry their brother and/or sister. This is definitely the new baseball stadium.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:42 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's some pretty f'n weak sauce compared to this guy.


Saying that, I'm not really into either idea. It doesn't say, "Love". You know?
posted by alex_skazat at 4:45 PM on February 29, 2012


Love is never having to say you're trending.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:46 PM on February 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


The proposal being a surprise doesn't preclude talking about the idea of marriage beforehand.

And yet, I still hate the idea of this, well, social expectation of surprise proposals. I've lost count of the number of times my wife and I have been asked "so, how did vidur propose to you?" Well, we discussed it for several months through our then long-distance relationship, that's how. Then the other couple would launch into their own goddamn fairytale proposal story and try to belittle us for not being romantic enough. And I think to myself if our inter-continental relationship surviving thousands of kilometers of distance for more than 3 years isn't testimony enough to the strength of our relationship. But I don't say anything out loud because I don't consider this to be a game. These conversations bother my wife far more than me. She has sometimes asked me - apparently jokingly but who's she kidding - to propose to her now with a surprise. I hate that this nonsensical social expectation affects her so much.

This same exact thing happens about 95% of the time when we meet a new couple. Some of them have since divorced, actually. Schadenfreude? Guilty as charged.
posted by vidur at 5:03 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every relationship is different. Presumably, he knows her well enough that he knew this was the sort of thing she'd enjoy. I don't really get this one, but if its something both he and she enjoyed and it meant something to them, well, damn, good on them.

If you don't like stunt proposals, don't be involved in a stunt proposal, you know?

I proposed to my wife after taking the bus to the mall to get the ring. She knew I was going to buy it, but we both pretended that she didn't because that was fun to us. I was going to propose later, but she was so excited to see the ring that I proposed to her soon after I returned while she sat on the bed. Our cat sat next to her the whole time the proposal was going down doing that cat thing where they sit like a human and aggressively clean their ass. We laugh about that all the time.

It wasn't especially romantic, but neither are we, and that was the proposal that was right for us.

posted by Joey Michaels at 5:29 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as Joey Michaels, points out everyone gets to propose however they'd like. No one method is better, they're all just different. Stop being so judgmental.
posted by oddman at 5:45 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, no. When you decide to make your private life massively public, the public gets to feel about that however they want.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:49 PM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]



If you don't like stunt proposals, don't be involved in a stunt proposal, you know?

Tell that to the poor women who have this kind of thing done to them, or the attendees at the big game who, aren't given any choice. Go watch the video which dumbland linked to above, to the very end. You can see how exgtremely uncomfortable Jess is, and how her requests that the camera operators leave her alone are mocked and belittled. Her words, "I said to him, listen ... I don't consider this a proper proposal, yet. You know, in private"

This is precisely what is wrong with this kind of grand-standing. It's emotional blackmail, and the consequences of guessing incorrectly aren't pretty. There are many videos of these things going awry, but I'm not going to link to any of them, as it's pandering to the worst kind of voyeurism.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:56 PM on February 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's a difference between "two people talk extensively about marriage and one makes an appropriate proposal" and "guy is out of touch with both desire of women to marry and the sorts of proposals she might like."

The proposal described here is the former; the failed proposals are the latter.

When you decide to make your private life massively public, the public gets to feel about that however they want.

Sure, you can feel about it however you want. And other can feel like you're acting like a dick. And you can take offense because others feel you're acting like a dick. And others can mock you for taking offense. And thus the flame war starts and never ends.

Or you can see a link about something that you know you don't like already before you even look at it and not look at it and not comment on it and avoid the never ending flame spiral.

SO MANY RIGHTS.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:36 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


To put it another way, bring up failed public grandstanding proposals in the context of this particular proposal is creating a straw man.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:37 PM on February 29, 2012


The beauty of that is, I can also choose to end that flame war by not being offended when others feel like I'm acting like a dick for daring to say in public that I think grandstanding public proposals are lame. That way, everybody gets their say, and everybody wins!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:46 PM on February 29, 2012


To put it another way, yes, I'm being a dick. Also, grandstanding public proposals are lame.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:47 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I'll just put this exchange in the "your favorite band way of living your life sucks" column then and move on.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:51 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my case I'm just saying that making an "official" marriage proposal on any scale is something I have a lot of trouble relating to, not that it's good or bad. I mean, understanding that there's that 5% of people who are just stupid and pop the question unexpectedly, resulting in spectacular failure or not; for the other 95% who discuss it in a reasonable manner and are on the same page, why even bother making a ceremony out of "officially" proposing marriage? I mean, you've already come to the understanding with your significant other that you want to get married, and the wedding itself is a ceremony. I know the answer here is "because it's sweet and fun, you dumb cynical bastard!" but I guess I just can't get past it feeling kind of arbitrary and extraneous.

Signed,

MY HEART IS ICE COLD

posted by palidor at 7:07 PM on February 29, 2012


I really do regret the thread-shitting aspects of my thoughts here, but this is something that popped into my head randomly a couple months ago, suddenly just like "wait wtf what is the point of marriage proposals for people who aren't clueless and can communicate?" and now the whole thing just seems bizarre to me sorry
posted by palidor at 7:12 PM on February 29, 2012


There are many videos of these things going awry

Are there? I looked on YouTube once, a couple years ago. I found a couple that were obviously fictional/staged but that was it. I understand your reasoning for not wanting to link to such videos and I respect that...but seriously, I've looked and didn't see any.

Point being, I think the flaw in the emotional-blackmail objection is that, as jscalzi says, it's an almost negligible minority of cases where the stunt proposal comes genuinely out-of-the-blue and hasn't been discussed to the point where the marriage is foregone and the proposal is basically a formality.

I've lost count of the number of times my wife and I have been asked "so, how did vidur propose to you?"

I wish somebody had told me this before I proposed. If I'd had some better understanding of just how often I would be asked this question—for instance, that it would be part of literally every conversation I'd have with friends and family informing them of my engagement—then I would have seriously considered some kind of stunt proposal. I would have made a bigger deal out of it, for her, so she would have a story to tell and get excited about with her friends.

I say that in case there's somebody reading who could use the same heads-up. Maybe your girlfriend isn't the type to appreciate having a "story" to go with the proposal, and if that's true then so be it. But think it over. Because you're going to pop the question once, but you are going to be asked about it forever.
posted by cribcage at 7:17 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


To put it another way, bring up failed public grandstanding proposals in the context of this particular proposal is creating a straw man.

Why do you say this? My objection to this kind of behaviour is precisely because of the incredibly awkward situation this puts some unwitting recipients in. Your advice was to not participate in such things if you don't like them; and I pointed out that this often isn't the case. ( Not that this is worth sparing a breath over in the case of attendees at a ball game; although it still demolishes such a demonstrably incorrect assertion.) The second part of my statement is actually what is worth discussion, even if it is your wish to only ever encounter those with whom you agree, online.

Have you watched the linked video in this thread, linked above? The one where the Cunard Line's media-flacks basically dismissed the feelings of the recipient as irrelevant? They not only continued filming her private moment against her explicitly expressed objections; but they also then distributed their intrusive and objected-to work-product to the entire world, for corporate gain. Why is her objection in this matter valueless? What public good is advanced in placing the bottom line of a cruise-ship company over the feelings of the ordinary people targeted by this kind of marketing sniping?

Is it your argument then, that the expressed feelings of women who aren't enthralled by such juvenile idiocy aren't germane? That all such cases must be judged only on the basis of the positive outcomes?

Because that seems weird to me.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:29 PM on February 29, 2012


Sorry cribcage, I didn't see your comment there.

I actually have no genuine idea how many "failed public marriage proposals" there might be inline these days, and certifiably would never swear to the scarcity of any of them. I was referencing ones I had seen in the past, I would be unsurprised to discover that some (or all) of them had been staged.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:37 PM on February 29, 2012


My point is that bringing up an unrelated event to criticize the event being discussed is a straw man, ipso facto.

To whit:

"Here is a cute proposal I've found online."

"Oh yeah, well here is a lousy proposal of the same category. Thus, your cute proposal is bad."

Regardless of whether some proposals are inflicted on people, the evidence in the link suggests that, in this particular case, the eventual marriage had been discussed and the person doing the proposing was already aware that the person receiving the proposal was going to be into it.

I completely agree that forcing somebody into an uncomfortable position - essentially emotionally blackmailing them into saying yes to a proposal - is a shit thing to do.

I don't agree that that is what happened in this particular case, and the evidence supports me on this count.

Anyhow, surely you agree that if this is the sort of proposal that both involved parties like and it was entered into with the knowledge that they'd both like it, then for this particular couple this is a positive thing (even if you don't like this style of proposal yourself).
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:42 PM on February 29, 2012


I don't agree that that is what happened in this particular case, and the evidence supports me on this count.

I don't think that anyone is disagreeing with you about the specific case in the FPP. But the FPP has served as a catalyst for people to talk about how stunt proposal can sometimes (oftentimes?) be really, really awful.
posted by asnider at 7:49 PM on February 29, 2012


Anyhow, surely you agree that if this is the sort of proposal that both involved parties like and it was entered into with the knowledge that they'd both like it,

Absolutely, but such a position is completely different from the arguments you've advanced so far.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:49 PM on February 29, 2012


I've got a big sappy cheese loving side, and someday I hope to get married. As a dude, I've put zero thought into what I want my wedding to be like because it's been my experience that many girls interested in marriage already have some (or many) ideas of what they want.

That leaves the proposal as the one thing that's under my control, as a guy, to execute in whatever fun / sappy/ cheesy way I want.* Thus, instead of looking through bridal magazines thinking about how I want a big church or small outdoors wedding, I get to watch proposal videos and think about how I'd want to propose. Yes, this is the lamest thing I've ever confessed on the internet but whatever. Will my fictional/hypothetical fiance be surprised and embarrassed? Maybe. But if she's willing to put up with me for a few decades hopefully she's indulgent to my love of ceremony and spectacle.

*Adjusting, of course, to any phobias, allergies, hobbies, weird hang-ups involving knee pads or unicycles that any girlfriend might have.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:22 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just told my woman "we’re getting married, wear something nice and don’t embarrass me".
posted by bongo_x at 8:35 PM on February 29, 2012


I've lost count of the number of times my wife and I have been asked "so, how did vidur propose to you?"

Really? No insult intended, this just would have never occurred to me. I’ve been married almost 20 years and have never been asked this.
posted by bongo_x at 8:47 PM on February 29, 2012


If my husband had done this to me, the answer would have been "FUCK NO!", and that would have been the end of that, because it would have been obvious that he didn't care about my feelings at all. I don't do spectacles.

It's pretty clear that Jessica liked this, though, so good luck to them!
posted by MissySedai at 9:30 PM on February 29, 2012


But if she's willing to put up with me for a few decades hopefully she's indulgent to my love of ceremony and spectacle.

I suppose my conflict here just comes down to not being a fan of ceremony in pretty much any form. And the fact that the marriage proposal is just a unique cultural tradition that is more about finding a fun or special or creative way to meet expectations (from one's upbringing and environment, or one's significant other, or one's peers wanting a nice sweet story).

The weird thing for me is that I'm a total sucker for happy outcomes, so I could definitely end up crying after watching someone propose and have the proposal accepted and I want them to hug and kiss and be happy forever. But then the idea of the act itself drives the hyperrational overanalytical part of my brain crazy.

In other words you may be able to melt my FROZEN ICE HEART but you can't stop the FREEZER BURN
posted by palidor at 9:34 PM on February 29, 2012


*Katie. Dammit, I have Jessica on the brain.
posted by MissySedai at 9:37 PM on February 29, 2012


It's pretty clear that Jessica liked this, though, so good luck to them!

Indeed. As much as I've been kind of derail-y and talking shit about stunt proposals, if both people involved are happy with it, then it's all good.
posted by asnider at 9:43 PM on February 29, 2012


I've lost count of the number of times my wife and I have been asked "so, how did vidur propose to you?"

Really? No insult intended, this just would have never occurred to me. I’ve been married almost 20 years and have never been asked this.

I've only been married 3 years. Perhaps it is a generational thing? Or perhaps we just meet the worst kind of show-off couples.
posted by vidur at 9:53 PM on February 29, 2012


It has been done by infographic, too.
posted by KMB at 11:33 PM on February 29, 2012


Wow, the infographic was weird, and kind of disturbing for reasons I can’t explain.

25-29? Don’t speak English well?
posted by bongo_x at 11:39 PM on February 29, 2012


We get the "How did you meet?" question, very rarely have I encountered the "How did you propose?" question.

Stunt proposals leave me personally cold, but if it's your (and your prospective partner's) thing, then go right ahead.
posted by arcticseal at 11:57 PM on February 29, 2012


Wow, the infographic was weird, and kind of disturbing for reasons I can’t explain.

It's because he hasn't cited his data sources. I find some of those stats questionable.
posted by asnider at 9:02 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


i can't tell you how angry i am that these young attractive people involved internet memes in their marriage proposal. it's like the world doesn't even care about my standards anymore!

i am apoplectic and quivering
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:35 PM on March 3, 2012


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