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April 16, 2013 9:55 AM   Subscribe

On Sunday, reddit user TeaGuru enlisted the help of r/nyc and dozen of strangers to propose to his girlfriend, Laura, in Central Park.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't just watch the video, it doesn't really make much sense without the context of the first two links.
posted by kmz at 10:01 AM on April 16, 2013


Ah. Without the video of people giving her roses (which has been done before, with proper video), you're right, the video link is really pretty much "huh? Where's the rest?"
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:02 AM on April 16, 2013


I think these stunt proposals are a bad idea. For one thing, how is she going to take it when you just go to dinner and give her a gift for an anniversary? After the proposal precedent, won't she be like, where are the Zeppelins? Why are there no sled dogs involved in this anniversary?
posted by thelonius at 10:04 AM on April 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


Wait, there's no Zeppelins and sled dogs involved in your anniversaries? Geeze.
posted by kmz at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to call these stunt proposals "relationship inflation".
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:06 AM on April 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


Yeah some people are really, REALLY full of themselves and their little relationships. I'd like to see a stunt divorce for cryin' out loud. You know, the couple goes down a huge carnival slide and near the end the slide parts and one of them is thrown into a speed-dating meet-up and the other is tossed into a vegetable-pickling class. Or the couple can stage a no-holds-barred grudge-match tag-team battle complete with in-laws, pets, folding chairs, and breakable tables. That would at least be entertaining. Besides, everyone knows that although it seems fun on the surface, 90% of these participants go home and talk shit about the couple and how lame their self-congratulatory bullshit was.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:10 AM on April 16, 2013 [29 favorites]


You know, the couple goes down a huge carnival slide and near the end the slide parts and one of them is thrown into a speed-dating meet-up and the other is tossed into a vegetable-pickling class.

haha. yes, awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 10:12 AM on April 16, 2013


Congratulations on referring to your new (not chubby) fiance as "chubby" on your proposal blog. Great work!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:15 AM on April 16, 2013


Besides, everyone knows that although it seems fun on the surface, 90% of these participants go home and talk shit about the couple and how lame their self-congratulatory bullshit was.

Geez. I was kinda happy for them too, but then I came to Metafilter to get my head straightened, I guess.

Congratulations on referring to your new (not chubby) fiance as "chubby" on your proposal blog. Great work!

Okay nevermind, woah.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 10:16 AM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


ReeMonster, I think that's an average episode of Jerry Springer.

I think this whole thing is almost as cute as their dog.
posted by Solomon at 10:20 AM on April 16, 2013


Congratulations on referring to your new (not chubby) fiance as "chubby" on your proposal blog.

He's saying that about himself. Being from Reddit, he left off the /hamburger.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is so awkward looking ;_;
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:23 AM on April 16, 2013


Congratulations on referring to your new (not chubby) fiance as "chubby" on your proposal blog. Great work!

In the second link with the pictures? He was referring to himself ("I'm so Fing bald" "and a little chubby" "but shes a hottie so I'm ok") and was probably just preempting anyone else from informing him that he's bald and chubby.

edit: beaten!
posted by autoclavicle at 10:26 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lot's of great NYers

Yeah, no. You guys with your heartwarming nonsense are obviously not "NYers". You just live here for now.

We don't need any more of your kind with your adorable dogs and life partners around here. Go back to witchita or wherever it is people like you come from.

Now slowly back away while I mutter and shake my fist.

Sigh, I'm so lonely.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:31 AM on April 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I feel sorry for them but I'm not sure why. Maybe it's her Mary Jane shoes, maybe it's because it looks like an ordinary afternoon, maybe because it's that bag with the roses illustrated on it, maybe because the dog looks like it has to poop, maybe because her boyfriend used reddit. Maybe because she's wearing that coat that makes me think it's cold outside. Maybe because her boyfriend is dressed all rumply.

Most likely because there are so many people around. I'd feel shy. It's not romantic enough. Maybe I'm just hungry and need a nap.

posted by discopolo at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, the couple goes down a huge carnival slide and near the end the slide parts and one of them is thrown into a speed-dating meet-up and the other is tossed into a vegetable-pickling class.

As long as I get to do the vegetable-pickling class, then I'm in
posted by bitteroldman at 10:45 AM on April 16, 2013


I took part in a Central Park proposal years ago (I sang, another friend of the guy was playing guitar, people nearby were excitedly gawking as he waited for her in a tuxedo under a big tree). It was a lot of fun. I asked the groom-to-be if she was going to be surprised and he said, no, he was too nervous and he already told her everything that was going to happen. This looks pretty fun, too. I like seeing all the kids handing out roses along the way, and the crowd slowly gathering as she keeps walking.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


no but seriously, this was a lot of fun!
posted by bitteroldman at 10:52 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see a stunt divorce for cryin' out loud.

As a photographer in 1980s at a small paper I covered a divorce finalized as the the unhappy (but still friendly) couple sky dived. Really.
posted by cccorlew at 11:00 AM on April 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I only looked at the photos, so I was smiling at the hordes following her in the final pics -- okay, maybe a little because I started picturing these as stills from a zombie movie just before things went so, so wrong
posted by Mchelly at 11:20 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I try to play Zeppelin at every anniversary. I also had a dog pooping nearby when I proposed to my wife.

A bulldozer too.
posted by Gronk at 11:23 AM on April 16, 2013


Yeah some people are really, REALLY full of themselves and their little relationships...
God forbid they choose to value their relationships.
...90% of these participants go home and talk shit about the couple and how lame their self-congratulatory bullshit was...
Also, this is very telling.
posted by Evernix at 11:52 AM on April 16, 2013


This is one of those things where you'd better be really sure that your significant other is going to accept, or else you're going to have to move to another country.
posted by xingcat at 12:12 PM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


God forbid they choose to value their relationships.

I don't think the amount of attention one draws to one's relationship is correlated to how much one values it. This sort of ostentatious "look at me! look at me!" display doesn't seem to even be primarily about the relationship. It's more about preening and status and narcissism. You love each other, so have a special moment together--why are all these other people involved? Why is there a video camera? These types of proposals are more about what happens afterward and the accompanying bragging rights than about the relationship or the lifetime you're about to spend together.
posted by Mavri at 12:15 PM on April 16, 2013


Yeah some people are really, REALLY full of themselves and their little relationships...

These types of proposals are more about what happens afterward and the accompanying bragging rights than about the relationship or the lifetime you're about to spend together.

Or... some people just enjoy public spectacle more than others, or have different ideas about romance. Yeesh. What do we gain from assuming the worst about people?
posted by Wretch729 at 12:20 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do we gain from assuming the worst about people?

A smug sense of superiority? Don't feed the trolls.
posted by axiom at 12:24 PM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That is one great-lookin' dog! I would like to pet that dog!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


let it be known that i am a sucker for grand gestures, but i also like the surprise part of proposals. maybe it's just a marker for the type of men i choose to date, but if i went to a park and everyone started handing me flowers, i would immediately be like oh shit proposal time.

and then i would be like, fuck, i can't believe i am wearing this ratty tshirt from 2002, and i didn't brush my hair. i just thought we were going to hang out in the park and read some books and maybe eat some cheese or something. am i being videotaped right now? IS THIS GOING TO END UP ON ELLEN?! is my grandma going to see that i am wearing a shirt with holes all over it in public?
posted by kerning at 12:27 PM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


and then i would be like, fuck, i can't believe i am wearing this ratty tshirt from 2002, and i didn't brush my hair. i just thought we were going to hang out in the park and read some books and maybe eat some cheese or something. am i being videotaped right now? IS THIS GOING TO END UP ON ELLEN?! is my grandma going to see that i am wearing a shirt with holes all over it in public

yeah this would be me.

I did like how in the pictures, the dog seemed convinced this was all for her, lady owner friend be damned. She was leading the pack with pride.
posted by sweetkid at 12:28 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


A smug sense of superiority? Don't feed the trolls.

You have no idea whether I feel superior or smug about these people. Just because my opinion is different than yours is no reason to insult me or call me a troll.
posted by Mavri at 12:33 PM on April 16, 2013


Gronk said: "I try to play Zeppelin at every anniversary. I also had a dog pooping nearby when I proposed to my wife.

A bulldozer too
"

How big was the dog?
posted by Solomon at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2013


I'd like to see a stunt divorce for cryin' out loud


"Breaking up.. clap clap... Breaking up... clap clap... Breaking up... is hard to DO!" (SLYT)
posted by cacofonie at 12:48 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You have no idea whether I feel superior or smug about these people.

You don't seem very aware of the tone of your writing.

I don't see this as very different from a wedding. Sometimes sharing a special moment can spread happiness.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:02 PM on April 16, 2013


I'd like to see a stunt divorce for cryin' out loud.

Oh, wow, I hope you mean that because guess what I have right here. A horrible thing.
posted by pineappleheart at 1:10 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think having a photographer follow you around for a day would be really weird. Especially for her when she first got there, didn't know anything was different, and suddenly someone is taking pictures (not sneakily, by the look of them) and following her through the park? Kind of weird.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:30 PM on April 16, 2013


But, it was really sweet and she seemed into it. They are really cute together.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:31 PM on April 16, 2013


my favourite part was the 'and then we ran into a scavenger hunt group where one of the items was get flowers, so we managed to get rid of all the flowers'.
posted by jacalata at 1:39 PM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


the giving away flowers part was cool. Made it less "look at our LURVE" for me and therefore nicer.
posted by sweetkid at 1:45 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


TIL Metafilter is very bitter about stunt proposals.
posted by Gin and Comics at 2:14 PM on April 16, 2013


TIL people want to read too much into why other people don't like things.
posted by sweetkid at 2:21 PM on April 16, 2013


This sort of ostentatious "look at me! look at me!" display doesn't seem to even be primarily about the relationship.

I can't speak for everyone, but when I planned something like this it was distinctly all about the relationship rather than the spectators/accomplices. In fact the first version of the plan involved accomplices spread out over the city who never would have seen each other or the proposal; it only switched to a crowded place when the across-the-city plan turned out to be unworkable.

So why do it? Because (as I think someone said here in another context) the secret to magic is putting in more effort than your audience believes possible. The audience was my fiancée, and I wanted to give her something magical -- I wanted to create an experience to make my love for her as clear and shining and solid in her mind as it is in mine.

Are there other ways to do that? Of course. Could it somehow replace love and commitment and day-to-day effort? Of course not. Neither could a fancy engagement ring. But it was intended, like the ring, to be something she could carry with her to crystallize the truth of all that other stuff. I think it has been.

If you want another example, check out the Bruno Mars - Marry You proposal -- this is several dozen people who are thrilled to be able to perform for an audience of one. I promise you the video camera has very little to do with what's going on there.

What does happen is the audience shifts the moment he goes on one knee -- because when you ask friends and strangers to help with such an important part of your life, they want to know how the story ends. And then of course it's cool to be able to surprise your parents with a video the next day, and it's fun to show to your friends, and all of a sudden you have thousands of strangers watching, and you're making the day of someone in Sweden and infuriating someone else in London. But the core is an audience of one.

The other thing I would add is, if these folks are on Reddit there's a good chance they're reading all the online comments and committing the negative ones to memory. It's how people are. So maybe only say things you want the happy couple to carry with them.
posted by jhc at 2:32 PM on April 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Took me a minute to remember how I would possibly re-find the proposal this reminded me of. Oh, right, the proposal tag. This one!
posted by knile at 3:12 PM on April 16, 2013


-- because when you ask friends and strangers to help with such an important part of your life, they want to know how the story ends.

This is the part that always bothers me. What if the story is supposed to end with him/her saying "I like you, but I'm not ready to say yes just this moment, and also not ready for a million people to be watching me while I say that"? Because that seems like a really healthy option everyone should have.

And I hate how it plays into the idea of relationship as fairy tale. That shit is unhealthy for us all.

All that said, I know plenty of people who want to have some sort of fairy tale proposal, and feel (probably justifiably) that their SO wants the same. And I wish them the best (damn it all).
posted by tychotesla at 3:17 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that's why you need to make sure ahead of time--by like, having plenty of conversations with your SO beforehand---that you're pretty sure they'll say yes. (Maybe even give them a heads-up about it if necessary.) Perhaps even be in "engaged to be engaged" status before you put on a show. Because I agree, it's pretty damn awkward to get a sudden public proposal when you're not even sure it's a good idea to get married right now. Though uh, it seemed to have worked out well for this couple in the end.

"Why don't we just sing the song, John?"

posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 PM on April 16, 2013


ReeMonster: Stunt divorce (split up) as done by two performance artists. Pretty dramatic.

In 1988, after several years of tense relations, Abramović and Ulay decided to make a spiritual journey which would end their relationship. Each of them walked the Great Wall of China, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle. As Abramović described it: “That walk became a complete personal drama. Ulay started from the Gobi Desert and I from the Yellow Sea. After each of us walked 2500 km, we met in the middle and said good-bye.”[11]
Abramović conceived this walk in a dream, and it provided what she thought was an appropriate, romantic ending to a relationship full of mysticism, energy and attraction. She later described the process: “We needed a certain form of ending, after this huge distance walking towards each other. It is very human. It is in a way more dramatic, more like a film ending … Because in the end you are really alone, whatever you do.”[11]



This was sweet but photography could have been better. I'm judging the lack of photographic effort put in to this. The social and thoughtfulness effort is lovely. And I do think that public proposals require a lot of confidence in your partner being ready and wanting to get engaged. Like "we should get married" conversations had many times over in advance.
posted by olya at 2:56 AM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came expecting the usual metafilter holier-than-though cynicism, was unsurprised but still disappointed :(
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 4:27 AM on April 17, 2013


Well, let me add the schmoop back to the thread. This proposal was way more elaborate than my husband's proposal to me, but both made me tear up. This girl was clearly expecting the proposal once she got the first few flowers, but I think she looks happy.

It was the day of my Basic Training graduation, and I hadn't seen my husband in months, though we had written to each other and spoken on the phone as often as possible. The ceremony finished and we all filed outside to find our loved ones. I was in my dress uniform, and he was standing there dressed in his. My mom and his mom were there. He gave me a hug, told me congratulations, and how much he had missed me. Then he pulled a blue box out and said, "I got you a present." He handed it to me. I pulled off the white satin ribbon and lifted the lid of the box. Inside was a small black velvet box. I stood there for a minute, just staring. I thought, I don't have pierced ears. Does he want me to pierce them? What else is that small? He took the boxes from me, got down on one knee, and opened the little velvet box. I couldn't hear anything but the blood rushing in my head as the ring sparkled in the bright, hot sunlight. It was perfect, simple, me. I started to tear up, and he took my hand and slid the ring onto my finger. I stood him up and embraced him. After a few seconds of me crying into his neck, he whispered, "You could at least say yes." So I did.

To this day, he maintains that he did actually speak the words, "Will you marry me?" out loud, but I never heard them, only saw his mouth moving. His mom knew, as she was tasked with taking pictures, but my mom was just as surprised as I was.
posted by Night_owl at 9:51 AM on April 17, 2013


What if the story is supposed to end with him/her saying "I like you, but I'm not ready to say yes just this moment, and also not ready for a million people to be watching me while I say that"? Because that seems like a really healthy option everyone should have.

That's a fair point. I think I arrived at the idea of a big proposal exactly because there was no uncertainty in the question itself, and because I knew it was an experience she would appreciate. We both clearly understood what our relationship was about and what would happen next. (I later learned she was afraid I thought we were already engaged and wouldn't bother to formally propose at all.) I wanted something to get really nervous about -- to emotionally underline the gravity of a big step that felt almost too natural and easy.

Again, there are plenty of ways to do that, and each couple has their own understanding and language. It worked for us and meant what we needed it to mean. I'm happier assuming that the same is true for other couples who go this route.

I wonder if our perceptions here are warped by romantic comedies, which use dramatic proposals as a way to persuade an uncertain partner rather than to formalize something both partners already know. Because, where would be the drama in that? The romantic-comedy version of public proposals is indeed an awful idea, but I don't think it's mostly what happens in real life.
posted by jhc at 10:22 AM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if our perceptions here are warped by romantic comedies, which use dramatic proposals as a way to persuade an uncertain partner rather than to formalize something both partners already know. Because, where would be the drama in that? The romantic-comedy version of public proposals is indeed an awful idea, but I don't think it's mostly what happens in real life.

My husbands public, though not elaborate with lots of stranger participation, proposal was just that. A formalization of something we already talked about and decided. Our discussion about getting married popped up during the natural course of another conversation that started about a subject that had nothing to do with marriage. It was wonderful but my husband wanted to do something special after he chose and bought a ring. When he picked me up that day I knew it was going to happen but didn't know how.

Since then I've discovered that most of my married friends proposal happened similarly. Marriage discussion in some form had already happened and the proposal was more like the ritual formalizing what both people already had decided on.
posted by Jalliah at 12:04 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The romantic-comedy version of public proposals is indeed an awful idea, but I don't think it's mostly what happens in real life.

The funny thing is that while I'm sure that's true, the event itself exists because it gives the impression that it hasn't already been agreed upon beforehand. That is then seen, and further perpetuates the fictions that surround love. Of which Rom Coms certainly contribute a lot.

One Disney-Clan friend prepped for a few months before (privately) proposing and then got denied because the situation wasn't up to Disney standards (and then asked again and was accepted a few days later). I love those two, but yuck yuck yuck yuck. In that case they'd even talked beforehand about how it was supposed to happen, but still it ended up like that. I, unfortunately, have many more stories like that ranging from outdated gender roles to Korean Drama influenced unrequited love/stalking.

I certainly can't begrudge a couple that knows what they want, when they've talked to their partner(s) like people here seem to have done (yay!). But in the context of this world I kind of think the proper way to view public proposal videos is to start out cringing.

If I ever make a public proposal, I'll consider it my civic duty to have people hold up placards right at the start saying:

"Despite the feel of spontaneity this event is the result of a series of healthy conversations in which it was established that a public proposal was desired sometime this month and would be accepted no matter what clothes she was wearing at the time, and that we wouldn't mislead the inexperienced by making this proposal seem like it was entirely spontaneous or that we hadn't thought pretty hard about the bad impression we're making by participating in a fundamentally flawed tradition of men proposing to women. If it makes this moment more magical to you, please consider the fact that she genuinely didn't know that this would happen today. Thank You!"

It will be very romantic and magical! And I'm definitely sure nobody watching would cringe! Jeez, I should be a wedding planner: "No no, save your money, you don't need to hire a priest. It would be more prudent to save the money for your rainy day fund".
posted by tychotesla at 1:49 PM on April 17, 2013


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