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August 26, 2007 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Best marriage proposal ever.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (100 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Direct YouTube link.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:40 PM on August 26, 2007


It's a good thing she said yes.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:44 PM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's really sweet.

Awwwww.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:47 PM on August 26, 2007


The video omits the woman's own installation across the hall, "SORRY BUT I'M JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU."
posted by brain_drain at 8:48 PM on August 26, 2007 [23 favorites]


Blech.
posted by mrnutty at 8:48 PM on August 26, 2007


Ant Don Tow (It's an anagram)
posted by william_boot at 8:52 PM on August 26, 2007


Do not want?
posted by sourwookie at 8:56 PM on August 26, 2007


I'm sorry, I must be a huge douche, but every time I see something like this I think it was done very much with a cool YouTube video and rad blog post first and foremost in mind.
posted by tristeza at 8:57 PM on August 26, 2007 [17 favorites]


Do not want?

Bingo!
posted by william_boot at 8:58 PM on August 26, 2007


I guess you'd have to be really confident in the expected answer.

P.S. Don't try this with Miss South Carolina.
posted by maxwelton at 9:00 PM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


Suppose it beats getting proposed to with a dripping EPT test in your hand.
posted by hermitosis at 9:04 PM on August 26, 2007 [13 favorites]


It's cute that two people who hate foam core so much could find each other.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:06 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


And I thought I was bitter! Jeez, guys.........
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:09 PM on August 26, 2007


Nthing the ugh. To hell with your sky-writing, Superbowl announcing, radio-show call-in, billboard-renting public spectacle proposals. Way to give your best beloved all of the privacy, space, and room for frank contemplation that s/he needs without any kind of, say, overwhelming pressure. Hollywood is responsible for this plague upon our culture. That and the de Beers empire, probably.

I dig Sigur Ros. I'm down for free wine at gallery openings. I like wacky sculptural art that resolves itself into something unexpected from the right perspective. This, however... *shudder*
posted by mumkin at 9:10 PM on August 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


Ok, BEST EVER? It was okay, but...
posted by k8t at 9:12 PM on August 26, 2007


I think we're beginning to get to the age where if it is not on Flickr/YouTube/Facebook/MySpace, it did not happen. Excuse me while I go smash all the cameras in my house.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:16 PM on August 26, 2007 [6 favorites]


Don't forget the one under your desk.
posted by hermitosis at 9:18 PM on August 26, 2007 [9 favorites]


Damn you hermitosis!!! That's the last time I invite you over.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:19 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Awww I thought it was sweet.
posted by gomichild at 9:22 PM on August 26, 2007


I smiled... I thought this was great. :)
posted by bullitt 5 at 9:22 PM on August 26, 2007


Okay, I really did think it was sweet, I loved imagining what it felt like to see the shapes come together, and really her face said it all.

But so many of our private moments are already so public, I really hate this trend. I will go to your wedding if I must; I won't be there when you propose, when you conceive, or when you sign your divorce papers. Please, everyone. Please go away.
posted by hermitosis at 9:29 PM on August 26, 2007 [16 favorites]


The entire time I was watching this I was expecting there to be a "big reveal" by having the "installation" cast a shadow that had the proposal. I think that could've been cooler and more dramatic.
posted by chimaera at 9:30 PM on August 26, 2007


loses points for not having her name in it. He proposed to at least half the attendees that way.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:36 PM on August 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


He proposed to at least half the attendees that way.

The other ones who said yes made for some awkward moments.
posted by danb at 9:39 PM on August 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


I must make sure to ban my fiancee from the Internet so that she will never see this and think how lame my proposal was in comparison.
posted by zardoz at 9:39 PM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]



I must make sure to ban my fiancee from the Internet so that she will never see this and think how lame my proposal was in comparison.


If your proposal didn't include a couple of dozen audience members I think you're safe. I would have sunk into the floor.
posted by frobozz at 9:43 PM on August 26, 2007


I would have sunk into the floor.

that's what happens when you don't strip the wax every so often
posted by pyramid termite at 9:47 PM on August 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


But so many of our private moments are already so public, I really hate this trend. I will go to your wedding if I must; I won't be there when you propose, when you conceive, or when you sign your divorce papers. Please, everyone. Please go away.

YES. This is how I feel. I feel way too involved. I don't need to see pictures of the ring, all the wedding proofs, links to the registries, pictures of the honeymoon, scanned copies of the sonogram, pictures from the birth, a blog written "by the baby". Or maybe it's like reality TV- I'll watch and judge and be entertained, but I'd never ever EVER be involved myself. Although I'm not sure anyone who posts regularly on Metafilter (read: ME) gets to call the kettle black when it comes to putting your life out there on the web.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think they should retire the Wedding March and play Sigur Ros while the bride comes down the aisle, instead.
posted by empath at 10:00 PM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess you'd have to be really confident in the expected answer.

You'd think. But... (sometimes) you'd be wrong.
posted by dobbs at 10:02 PM on August 26, 2007


it's awesome to see my fellow jaded hipsters united in their disgust for this junk.

did anyone else notice he forgot a question mark too?
posted by knowles at 10:02 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually the best marriage proposal ever was mine because she said yes. That being said, this was a good one.

Hey, you know, this is obviously something both of them were into. She liked it, he liked it and it looks like their friends were in to it. I wouldn't have done it this way, but that's because I'm a different person and so is my wife. I'm glad they have similar interests and tastes and that this made them both happy.

I say that ranks a "yay."
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:09 PM on August 26, 2007


hermitosis writes "But so many of our private moments are already so public, I really hate this trend. I will go to your wedding if I must; I won't be there when you propose, when you conceive, or when you sign your divorce papers. Please, everyone. Please go away."

Amen, brother. This should be a manifesto for the 21st century.

empath writes "I think they should retire the Wedding March and play Sigur Ros while the bride comes down the aisle, instead."

I kinda agree with this, too. But then again, I never got Wagner.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:11 PM on August 26, 2007


Man, that's wetter than a fishes tampon.

I'm sorry, but I just wanted that to end.

Couldn't they have just gone hot air ballooning or scuba diving or something.
posted by mattoxic at 10:16 PM on August 26, 2007


It's good to see two people entering the sacred sacrament of marriage in this degenerate, friends with benefits, booty call ridden, one night stand, break up over the pettiest of issues, American society. +1000 for being creative about it too.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:22 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


You'd think. But... (sometimes) you'd be wrong .

If my memory is correct, that "marriage proposal" gone bad was staged by the people who owned the arena as some sort of p.r. gimmick. The only thing worse than public marriage proposals are fake human interactions used to generate publicity for a corporation.
posted by Falconetti at 10:25 PM on August 26, 2007


I think they should retire the Wedding March and play Sigur Ros while the bride comes down the aisle, instead.

First I thought this would be cool, then I realized that putting on a Sigur Ros CD at your wedding would be pretty lame, and putting on the vinyl would be only slightly less lame.

Then I realized that getting Sigur Ros to play live at your wedding would fucking kick ass.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:31 PM on August 26, 2007


This video is really, really weird if you speak Icelandic. If you want to replace the bridal march with Sigur Rós might I suggest Olsen Olsen off Ágætis Byrjun. There are no lyrics, it's a killer, uplifting song and the title is what you shout in Icelandic when you win at the Icelandic version of crazy eights (called Olsen Olsen).
posted by Kattullus at 10:36 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


So they're actually speaking Icelandic in that one and not their made up Icelandic-sounding stuff? I never know. What are they saying?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:42 PM on August 26, 2007


This is the best one I ever heard about.

( and why are the Arquettes so damn hot? Rosanna has been my major crush for years but damn, even her transvestite little brother is kinda hot;)

Silent Romance

One day in July 2002, Patricia Arquette and her boyfriend, actor Thomas Jane, sat down to watch a silent black and white Charlie Chaplin film at a theatre in LA. During a party scene in the middle of the film, Patricia was amazed to see a waiter appear onscreen who looked remarkably like Thomas Jane. She was even more amazed when the waiter turned to the screen and began holding up a series of cards: "Patricia... will... you... marry... me?"

[Thomas had hired extras and had a friend to film the sequence with a turn-of-the-century camera. Arquette said yes.]


Arquette, Patricia (1968- ) American actress [noted for her roles in such films as Tiptoes (2003), Little Nicky (2000), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Lost Highway (1997), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Ed Wood (1994), True Romance (1993), Ethan Frome (1993), Wildflower (1991, TV), The Indian Runner (1991), and A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 (1987)]

[Sources: San Francisco Examiner, August 1, 2002]
posted by vronsky at 10:43 PM on August 26, 2007 [6 favorites]


Public proposals are, have been, and will always be tacky.

Secondarily, but of equal importance, that music is really better suited to a deathbed, life-flashing-before-eyes scene than a proposal.

And while I'm being a negative douche about the whole thing (in some cultures this is called "honesty"), I should like to point out how depressing it is that so many young artists ape clever ad agency work rather than the other way around. I felt like I was watching an overly long petroleum/inkjet printer/carbonated beverage spot rather than someone's Unique, Life-Blossoming Moment of Specialness.

I do wish them happiness. Really, I do. But if they should get divorced--heaven forbid--then I think it really is only fitting for them to YouTube their mediation and settlement, complete with "cool" music and titles.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:47 PM on August 26, 2007 [5 favorites]


I just got the anagram. Am stupid.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:49 PM on August 26, 2007


It's good to see two people entering the sacred sacrament of marriage in this degenerate, friends with benefits, booty call ridden, one night stand, break up over the pettiest of issues, American society. +1000 for being creative about it too.

Hey now. Some of us married our one night stands, who came through with totally adorable and creative proposals.
posted by padraigin at 10:50 PM on August 26, 2007


I should like to point out how depressing it is that so many young artists ape clever ad agency work rather than the other way around. I felt like I was watching an overly long petroleum/inkjet printer/carbonated beverage spot rather than someone's Unique, Life-Blossoming Moment of Specialness.

You need to throw your TV away right now.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:51 PM on August 26, 2007


If my memory is correct, that "marriage proposal" gone bad was staged...

Yep.
posted by the other side at 10:55 PM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


TheOnlyCoolTim: So they're actually speaking Icelandic in that one and not their made up Icelandic-sounding stuff? I never know. What are they saying?

It's only Olsen Olsen and () that are exclusively in hopelandish (and one song of Takk, I think, but I can't remember which one). I'm not hundred percent sure on the lyrics, but pretty sure.

Þú ert refur
Þú, þú hefur á loft
[can't make out what he's singing]
Þú líður
Ófriður
Aleinn
Aleinn
Aleinn
Aleinn

You are a fox
You, you lift into the air
[can't make out what he's singing]
You pass
A war
Alone
Alone
Alone
Alone

The rest of the lyrics, which aren't in the video, are about a guy drowning at sea. The name of the song, Sæglópur, means sea-fool. It was the repetition of alone that made me crack up watching the video. The use of Starálfur in The Life Aquatic was equally incongruous. When I saw the movie in Iceland there was a lot of giggling during the scene where they used that song.
posted by Kattullus at 11:05 PM on August 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't know. This is wonderful - I loved watching her face at the 'reveal' - but...

Let's say I cook dinner for someone. I want them, and only them, to know how good it is. After all, they're the only ones that can taste it. I know that it will be an incredible dinner, with 20+ courses, techniques lifted from El Bulli and the Fat Duck, an incredible layout of cash and, more than anything, effort.. I document every step of the process, knowing that few have ever gone to this length. After the person enjoys the hell out of the meal, I broadcast the documentation.

Only one person ate the food. Only one person got the full flavor. Even though I tell everyone about the meal afterwards, and I post the video everywhere I can to show off, only one person got to enjoy the meal.

Good? Bad? I'm still torn.
posted by suckerpunch at 11:30 PM on August 26, 2007


Ghey.
posted by Poolio at 11:34 PM on August 26, 2007


Here's how it went down for me & my spouse:

"So, um, I've, you know, been thinking about ... well, I'm not likely to have health insurance coverage here, so, um, as a practical matter ... plus, you know, there's stuff like jail visitation rights, or if one of us is in a coma ... um, I thought maybe we seriously think about that."

"Yeah, that does make sense." (Beat.) "Wait, did you just propose?"

"Um ... yeah."

"Oh." (Longish pause.) "I guess so."

(Who says romance is dead?)
posted by kyrademon at 11:48 PM on August 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


In a situation like that, it's too much "[I] will you [to] marry me." I'm half hoping he found "I've changed my mind" spelled out in his alphabet soup the next day with letters carefully tied to the bottom like anchored buoys.
posted by pracowity at 11:54 PM on August 26, 2007


me: "I want to propose something, I've given it a lot of thought..."

her: "Yes?"

me: "please, hear me out before you answer..."

her: "Yes?, Yes?"

me: "I think it could really work if we..."

her: "Yes? Yes? Yes!"

me: "...mounted the flat screen TV directly on the wall, instead of on that stand."

her: "Oh."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:19 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well, shit. Here's my favorite recent public marriage proposal. Fictional cats and all, but still.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:23 AM on August 27, 2007


Part of loving a woman is accepting Sting.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:24 AM on August 27, 2007


Metafilter: I better do this before I wake up all the way.
posted by SassHat at 12:39 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I don't mind going to a wedding... as long as it's not my own" (tom waits)
& a related french song "la non-demande en mariage" (non-proposal) which goes like :
"j'ai l'honneur de ne pas te demander ta main
ne gravons pas nos noms au bas d'un parchemin"

meaning you should avoid carefully to get married for love's sake.

Still pretty popular (in France).
posted by nicolin at 1:30 AM on August 27, 2007


Eh, it's sweet, but yeah. A bit presumptuous.

I'm in between on this. I'd love a sweepingly-romantic proposal (thank God my gentleman caller doesn't really understand the internet let alone read MeFi), but I'd want it in private. Going out of his way to be (uncharacteristically) creative would be sweet. Doing so in front of everyone and their aunt Edna is almost like blackmail. "Marry me or everyone is going to see you reject me after all I've done for you."
posted by katillathehun at 1:33 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I imagine he'd some good idea she'd say yes, their both older.

But such antics don't always pay off. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 2:37 AM on August 27, 2007


I'm not normally moved by such things, and now is not one of those times either.
posted by psmealey at 3:06 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


What katillathehun said. Um, if anyone were to ever propose to me. Which would be very unexpected, but cool.

Mine:
(On the telephone, long-distance)

Me: "So, um, wow. You're pregnant. Well, after all this discussion about what you want to do about it, it seems like we're pretty serious about our relationship."

Her: "Yeah."

Me: "I mean, well, I realize that I really do love you very much."

Her: "I love you very much, too."

Me: "And this whole thing about me moving to Bellingham to be close to you in Vancouver and all the problems with one of us moving to the other one's country and not being able to work..."

Her: "Uh-huh."

Me: "I think maybe we should get married. We seem to really love each other and be serious about wanting to be together, whether you decide to have an abortion or have a baby. And we could be together without any problems and live in whichever country."

Her: "Yeah."

Me: "So, what do you think? Should we just get married regardless of this pregnancy thing?"

Her: "Sure."
And we did. She decided to have an abortion, by the way. I flew up there and stayed there with her for it and then we both flew back to the US and got married. At the courthouse, with a close friend of mine and and a random person from the hallway as witnesses. We didn't have rings, which made for an unexpected and awkward moment; but my friend graciously allowed us to use his.

When I was asked by the judge if "I did", I (jokingly) made a big, theatrical sigh and said, "Well, I guess so." It was funny at the time. No, really, it was. My SO was a very unromantic and untraditional person and otherwise wouldn't have ever considered marriage except for the various circumstances. She emphatically didn't want rings. Oddly, about six months into our marriage, she changed her mind and wanted a pair of rings, so my parents bought us some inexpensive ones (we were dirt poor at the time).

I regret not having any children, but I don't regret the abortion. She certainly never did. To us, it was like contraception. We both felt (and still feel, as far as I know) that the whole "all women regret abortions or think they're awful or unspeakable" thing was offensive.

Her family situation was complicated, as her father incested her but her parents stayed married. But she still interacted with her father because she wanted a relationship with her mother and brother. Anyway, predictably, her father later freaked out about our marriage. And it was all pretty sudden and she was young. So they didn't even know about it at the time. As there were no family members of hers there when we got married, I decided not to invite any of my family (not that many would have been able to fit into a judge's chambers) out of fairness, even though all my relatives were here in Albuquerque and my parents were about five hours away. That decision I regretted because of course it didn't score any points with her family and I don't think she would have minded mine being around. She liked my family.

I sometimes regretted not having a real wedding. But my personality and her personality were(are) such that we'd never have had a traditional wedding, anyway. I can't imagine having a traditional wedding now, unless my hypothetical SO really wanted one.

And I'd never do the getting on one knee thing. I am in favor of marriage of various sorts, I think it serves a useful social and interpersonal purpose. But a lot of the trappings of traditional marriages, including proposals, either bother or offend me.

These dramatic, theatrical, and terribly public proposals, put up on YouTube no less, seem to embody almost all of what I don't like about marriage. So, even though in many ways I can be a romantic (I know, you certainly can't tell from this comment), I say pfui to this stupid video and proposal. I wish she had said NO.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:10 AM on August 27, 2007 [7 favorites]


I thought it was really sweet, very cool.

(The coolest proposal I ever heard about was the twelve fucking times I proposed to my goddamn ex.)
posted by The Monkey at 3:34 AM on August 27, 2007


As someone who proposed to his girlfriend in front of at least 150,000 people (because I proposed to her in my newspaper column, and the paid newspaper circulation was that much), my response to everyone complaining about how awful it is that people are doing public marriage proposals would have to be: suck it, you whiners.

Speaking from experience, it's fun: it was fun for me, it was fun for her, and since the newspaper was mobbed with phone calls wanting to know what she said and the circulation department reported a nice spike for single sale papers that day, it was apparently fun for a lot of other people as well. For those who didn't want to bother, there was the rest of the newspaper.

More to the point, the salient feature of a marriage proposal is that it be memorable and beautiful to the one being proposed to -- that it's the right proposal for that person. Part of that inevitably is that it springs from the personality of the person who is proposing. For some people, that means a quiet proposal, without fuss, with no one else around. For other people it means making a production.

Judging from the reaction of the woman in this particular proposal, this was the right proposal for her. So good on the guy for doing that way, and for surrounding her with friends who would share her joy in the moment. It's also not out of line to share such a unique proposal with others, including folks on YouTube. If you don't want to watch it, you don't have to.
posted by jscalzi at 3:42 AM on August 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


I cannot for the life of me remember how I proposed, but I'm fairly confident it was along the lines of "'...has anyone seen the lady with the toothache?' That one just kills me. Hey, you know, we should get married." We eloped.
posted by maxwelton at 3:48 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


For other people it means making a production.

But she knows deep down, while the moment is happening, that it's just never, ever going to get any better than that.
posted by psmealey at 3:52 AM on August 27, 2007


"suck it, you whiners."

I don't think we're whining. Your resentment of our dislike does, however, sound a bit like whining.

Mainly, though, I think our point is that you and people like you have bad taste and are an embarrassment to others for flaunting it in public. Proposing to your SO in your own newspaper column and then bragging how popular the column was? Pretty much proving my point.

I still like your books, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:53 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, I kid, I kid. But I would emphasize that it is extremely important to set expectations properly in those once in a lifetime situations.
posted by psmealey at 3:53 AM on August 27, 2007


Your resentment of our dislike does, however, sound a bit like whining.

You overestimate your ability to create resentment, I'm afraid. I don't resent it in the least. I do feel sorry for you that your own sense of hipster disdain short-circuits your capacity to feel happy when presented with the joy of others. There's a difference between those two states.

Likewise, the point of noting the circulation spike was not to aggrandize myself but to make the point that people, on average, are happy to share others' joy and indeed will seek it out.

Sharing a genuinely happy moment isn't bad taste, nor is seeking to partake of it.

As an aside, don't tell my wife that her marriage proposal was in "bad taste." She will kick your ass.

Glad you like the books!
posted by jscalzi at 4:08 AM on August 27, 2007


I think they should retire the Wedding March and play Sigur Ros while the bride comes down the aisle, instead

s/Sigur Ros/The Imperial March
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:16 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think you have to be very careful about this. It's the difference between whether you live in a public sphere or a private sphere. If and when (okay, if she's reading this, when) I propose to my girlfriend it's almost certainly going to be a private affair although you'd better believe everyone either of us knows will hear about it within 5 minutes or so.

It seems like this guy and girl were both very artsy and public and this was the perfect venue to do this in. Her facial expressions -- as she was first puzzled, then comprehended, then laughed, and the glances she shared with her boyfriend -- it's clear that this was a perfect proposal for her. And you know, give points for effort, right?

I have to say -- a newspaper column? Not so much. Same for webcomics and similar items where essentially the workup is not so extensive and you're replacing what would otherwise have been a normal piece of work.

But to each their own.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:19 AM on August 27, 2007


I have to say -- a newspaper column? Not so much. Same for webcomics and similar items where essentially the workup is not so extensive and you're replacing what would otherwise have been a normal piece of work.

Well, no. The column's subject on a weekly basis was whatever I felt like writing about, so it was, in fact, perfectly matched for the space; my editor agreed, otherwise he wouldn't have approved the topic. It's not as if I was generally writing sports columns or gardening columns.

Having said that, I don't see a problem going off-topic for particular and intensely personal things. One of the best posts at political blog Talking Points Memo was not about politics but TPM founder Josh Marshall eulogizing his father. Likewise Dave Barry with a similar column regarding his mother. One loses a lot if one gets unhappy when people occasionally color outside the lines.
posted by jscalzi at 4:32 AM on August 27, 2007


I proposed to my wife in the shower, which would have made any kind of public broadcast... awkward.

(Or profitable, I guess. Is anyone into matrimony porn these days?)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:32 AM on August 27, 2007


Second best, if that.

Best: "You're WHAT????!"
posted by Mike D at 5:34 AM on August 27, 2007


"(Or profitable, I guess. Is anyone into matrimony porn these days?)"

They should be. All the porn scenarios are so damn stupid that I, like everyone else, ignore them completely.

But real love (or realistic portrayals of it) coupled with pornographic imagery is a real turn-on to me, at least. I suspect this isn't true for many or perhaps even most men. But I recall some porn I saw long ago where a young woman was depicted as having sex the first time with her boyfriend, whom she was deeply in love with, and shortly after actual intercourse begins, she looks into his eyes and says, with a blissful expression on her face, "I love you"...well, to me, that was extremely erotic.

So I could imagine, say, a wedding night bit of porn to be really a big turn-on. But I guess I'm in a minority here, as I've never once seen anything like that in porn.

"I do feel sorry for you that your own sense of hipster disdain short-circuits your capacity to feel happy when presented with the joy of others."

That's not true at all. I can certainly see how you've come to that conclusion. But I generally don't share that whole hipster, often ironic, disdain of strong, often sappy, emotions and happiness.

I just think that making a public display of oneself in this context is very tacky. To me, there is something that is the secular version of sacredness in that moment when a couple decides to so deeply place their trust and future in the hands of each other. It's not that it must be private, but that it's not a public performance—there's something about it which is antithetical to performance. In contrast to, say, the wedding itself, which I do think is as much performative and socially functional as it is a commitment between two people.

But the proposal itself is, to my mind, something exclusively about the couple alone. It's not public and, above all, it's not a performance...cultural traditions of cliched, ring-bearing, and kneeling proposals notwithstanding. To me, making it a performance is sort of blasphemous. The fact that a public performance implicitly disallows a refusal by way of the risk of extreme embarrassment is, I think, a subtle but deep indicator of exactly why it is inherently not a performative act.

I hated to be insulting once I saw your attribution line and realized who you were. I love your books and like your contributions to mefi. But I strongly disagree with your comment and the behavior you describe and defend. Anyone else and I wouldn't have hesitated to write what I wrote. Once I realized that I didn't want to insult you in any way because I like you otherwise, I felt that it would be dishonest of me not to complete my comment and post it. Other people would judge differently, perhaps correctly reasoning that such personal and social considerations make perfect sense in moderating what one says. But, related in some fundamental sense to my argument here, I highly certain kind of personal integrity related to honesty. I think there's something, as a said, almost blasphemous about a public spectacle of a proposal for marriage. I can't really sugar-coat my response to it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:33 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


So much cynicism here. Maybe it's okay to take this for what it is: a happy moment in someone's life. There aren't enough of those in anyone's life - isn't that why so many people seem to respond to this sort of thing?

I bet you all don't like kitties or puppies either.
posted by Flakypastry at 7:39 AM on August 27, 2007


Anyone else and I wouldn't have hesitated to write what I wrote.

And why should you hesitate with me? Just because you like my writing doesn't mean you're not entitled to think I'm an ass when I do something you don't like. I know lots of folks whose writing I adore; doesn't mean I think they walk on water. It's okay to separate the two. And, you know, I can take it. I'd be offended, frankly, if you let me skate just because you like my writing.

But the proposal itself is, to my mind, something exclusively about the couple alone.

And to the mind of other people, it's not. C'est la vie. Making the case that it's bad taste because it's something you are not comfortable with, however, seems to be a bit much. Likewise, the suggestion that being public about a proposal robs the moment of its power or even its sacredness just because you wouldn't do it that way. That's fairly arrogant, and dismissive of what's going on in the hearts and minds of the people actively engaged in the act of the proposal.

I think you're wrapped up too much in the presentation and not paying attention to the content of the moment. Because, you know, I was there when my wife said "yes" to me. I can assure you the moment was pretty grand. That other people observed me asking her (in print, anyway), detracted not a whit from it.

Say "I wouldn't do it that way" and I'll say to you, of course not; do yours the way you want. But tell me that my (or anyone else's) wedding proposal was tacky or "blasphemous" because it doesn't meet with your standards of propriety, and my response is to invite you to kiss my ass. It was neither tacky nor blasphemous, nor was it in bad taste (nor, since you mention it, was it in the slightest coercive, as by the time I proposed it was well understood we'd be walking down the aisle at some point). It was, in fact, joyous and wonderful, and I'd do it again the very same way.

Don't piss on people's happiness just because it doesn't conform with yours. Just be happy for them, for crying out loud.
posted by jscalzi at 7:40 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Goddam, what a bunch of cynical sourpusses.
That was really sweet. Good for him!
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 AM on August 27, 2007


I wish she had said NO.

I do wonder how she would respond if she were told that.
posted by the other side at 8:34 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think there's something, as [I] said, almost blasphemous about a public spectacle of a proposal for marriage. I can't really sugar-coat my response to it.

So it's ok to share the gory details of your own proposal on a widely-read internet message board, including your partner's abortion and her incest by her father, but it's not ok for someone else to post a lighthearted video of his own marriage proposal?
posted by brain_drain at 8:50 AM on August 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


So it's ok to share the gory details of your own proposal on a widely-read internet message board, including your partner's abortion and her incest by her father, but it's not ok for someone else to post a lighthearted video of his own marriage proposal?

Ha ha!
posted by katillathehun at 9:03 AM on August 27, 2007


"So it's ok to share the gory details of your own proposal on a widely-read internet message board, including your partner's abortion and her incest by her father, but it's not ok for someone else to post a lighthearted video of his own marriage proposal?"

Yes, for a number of reasons. First, my proposal wasn't made in the same spirit as those we're talking about here. Mine was practical and anti-romantic, which was why I described it, as others have done.

Second, neither my ex-wife nor myself believe that there's shame in either the abortion nor the incest or that either are implicitly something one should keep private. Quite the contrary, for social reasons, because both are conventionally seen as shameful for the woman and victim, respectively, and being open about both of them provides an example to others to not be ashamed of either. She talked about her incest on the radio. The abortion was something that we always talked about with people matter-of-factly.

Third, regardless of what I think about whether abortion and incest are private, my argument was not essentially that all things which are conventionally private should be kept private and that the failure to do so in the case of a marriage proposal is the core of my complaint.

My argument is that there are both personal and social components to a marriage. The social components are, in some cases, expressed as public performances—the performative nature of them is very important to their function. However, I do not believe that the proposal is an example of a publicly performative aspect of marriage, nor is it even essentially social. It is one of the things that inherently private, something expressed and experienced between the partners outside the context of social interaction or public performance. There's not, as far as I know, a prior tradition of public performances of proposals of marriage until recently.

Not that tradition should be normative—obviously I don't think that or my thoughts on abortion and incest would be quite the opposite of what they are.

But I think that it's functionally best for the proposal to remain an essentially private act that is witnessed by none except the couple involved. As I say, the potential shaming and/or embarrassment of a "no" points strongly in the direction of why it is best that proposals remain private.

I understand how and why you believe you've discovered irony and/or hypocrisy in my decrying the bad taste of a public spectacle of proposal while I broadcast my ex-wife's abortion and incest. But, like jscalzi doesn't accept my argument that there's something "wrong" with a public, performance-heavy proposal of marriage, I don't think there's something "wrong" with being open about the experience of abortion of incest.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:07 AM on August 27, 2007


I proposed to my ex on top of a pyramid, built on top of a mountain. It is the only such thing exists on this planet of ours, and I sought it out as an ideal location.

We traveled to the village of Tepoztlán, in Morelos, Mexico - renowned as the spiritual navel of the nation - a wonderful place to visit. It is the legendary birthplace of Ce Acatl - better known as Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl. That's right. Quetzalcoatl. I wasn't interested in any of these things, however - I was there because someone had built a pyramid on top of a mountain. Some fantastic culture had hauled giant stones up a mountain and stacked them upon one another, to build a temple to a god. Which god, you might ask? None other than Ometochtli, God of Beer. Also, God of Fertility (natch). I wanted to bring her to the heart of a nation nestled in a numinous valley, climb to the summit of a great mountain, to the peak of a mighty, monkey-infested pyramid built as a monument to the god of beer and sex and THAT is where I would seek her hand in marriage. It was almost too perfect, this monumental structure was a beautiful metaphor for the struggle we had faced in our relationship. Our parents disapproved strongly. She was ten years older than I was. It was scandalous. We were determined to make it work.

It went splendidly. I had obtained the ring. A beautiful diamond. She went along with the journey... we spent a lovely day in Tepoztlán, shopping. After lunch, I hired a cabbie to take us as close to the mountain as possible, where we began our climb. We climbed through a lush rainforest, up rocky crags, for many hours. Finally the deluge became to much and we took shelter in a small cave. My cellphone rang! Apparently I had climbed to such a height that it had obtained a signal. It was my brother, in Tel Aviv. He was stuck in a sandstorm. "Did you do it yet?" "No!" I whispered frantically. "I haven't gotten to the top of the mountain yet!" "I'm stuck in a sandstorm in Tel Aviv - the plane can't take off - call me when you do it!" Finally, the rainstorm abated and we climbed on. After several more hours we finally crested the back of the mountain, climbing out of the storm and onto the summit. The clouds and mist broke, revealing the pyramid, the valley below, the strange, magical monkeys which inhabit the summit, and a small Mexican man selling tequila which he presumably carries up the mountain each morning.
We politely declined the tequila, pet the monkeys, and began climbing the pyramid.
When we reached the top, I saw him. A massive carving set upon an altar - Ometochtli. I bowed reverently (but, you know, secretly because I didn't want her to see me doing it and think I was some kind of beer-worshiping freak.)
We found a ledge, and sat. I turned to her. I remember exactly how she looked in that moment. Her perfect face framed by her curly blond hair, her sun-darkened skin...
I explained that though our relationship had set us upon a seemingly insurmountable mountain path, we had defeated every obstacle. I explained that I loved her, and that I would spend every day working to give her the world.
I proposed. She accepted. We embraced.

And it is then, I believe, that Ometochtli cursed the living shit out of me.

Even the monkeys knew. I recall their steely gaze as we left the summit.

On the climb down, she was struck with horrible altitude sickness. I nearly carried her down the mountain.

We met friends at the bottom, we rejoiced, she vomited profusely. We opened champagne - the special, magical "just engaged" champagne, and in our attempt to save the cork it flew up onto the roof. An attendant waiter tried to retrieve it and fell off a ladder injuring himself. She couldn't stomach the champagne, anyway.
From that moment forward, everything in my relationship and my life began to crumble. My dad died. My friend took his own life and I lost my job. I began suffering from debilitating migraines. I totalled my car - and finally, as though to steal back the very gift which I had placed before him, Ometochtli had his revenge. My wife left me - she had fallen in love with a man from Belgium.

I wept. My defeat was utter and complete.

This was several years ago. Today I am single and well adjusted. I will never again offer anything to any Aztec gods - indeed, if I am ever again blessed with an opportunity to rewed, I will propose to her in an open field of flowers, or in the heart of an ancient forest, or in the middle of the street - but I will never again attempt to twist a dead culture to create a metaphor for my simple life.

And in the outer darkness, Ometochtli, I believe, is satisfied.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:14 AM on August 27, 2007 [64 favorites]


I want to have Baby_Balrog's comment's babies.

My sister has a close friend who had a similar story (without the doomed ending, though). Her boyfriend was determined to propose to her in some remote snow-cave he had (the day before) built and prepared with candles and some photos somewhere in Alaska. They had trouble when they were snowshoing there, they got there late, they were both freezing, she was amazed and surprised and accepted his proposal. But then they had more trouble going back to the road and she got hypothermic and confused and they argued and almost got lost. A friend found them and helped them get to the road and the car and she threw up repeatedly. It was awful. But, apparently, still wonderful, too, if you ignore all the awful parts.

As far as I know, they are happily married.

But it's my opinion that your story and theirs is a reminder that you're recklessly asking for fate to mock you when you opt for the grandiose romantic proposal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:32 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


However, I do not believe that the proposal is an example of a publicly performative aspect of marriage, nor is it even essentially social. It is one of the things that inherently private, something expressed and experienced between the partners outside the context of social interaction or public performance.

*Ring Ring!*
Hello? What's that?
Oh, it's cultural relativism. For you.

Seriously, I don't understand how people can be saying, "Proposals are exclusively a private affair!" with such certainty as if there's some kind of abstract or biological imperative going on here. For some people, I imagine the idea of proposing alone rather than in the presence of family and friends would seem downright weird. In some cultures, it might be unthinkable.

I agree that public performance is pushing it, and that many of the more outrageous proposals are pushing the envelope when it comes to, shall we say, acceptable norms. But this one seems so sweet, she obviously dug it, she was surrounded by friends, it was wonderful. Proposals on the big screen at a football game? Pretty much only if she would have it no other way.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:42 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


10 years ago, she picked me up when I flew back to visit her at school in DC. We were in the parking lot of the airport.

Me: "So where are we headed?"

Her: (Rolling eyes) "My parents' house. They want to question you about your 'intentions' towards me."

Me: "Should we just tell them we're going to get married?"

Her: "Yeah, I guess that works."

Me: "I guess we should stop and get a ring."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:44 AM on August 27, 2007


EB, your first reason is the only one that actually defends your actions here. Your other reasons move the discussion onto a more-or-less spurious debate on the privacy of abortion and incest. In particular, the line in your conclusion where you mention "broadcast[ing] my ex-wife's abortion and incest" rather than the more accurate "broadcast[ing] my proposal" stands out as an attempt to refute a point that is entirely different from the one brain_drain was making.

I'm inclined to agree with you that public proposals are generally tacky, but I don't think you helped yourself here by broadcasting the details of your own proposal, and the fact that it was practical and unromantic at best mitigates the hypocrisy, rather than absolving you of it.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 9:47 AM on August 27, 2007


Aloysius Bear, brain_drain included the abortion and incest in his criticism. And my argument against public proposals is that they shouldn't be performances and for practical purposes they should be private (because it's actually a negotiation that is substantially skewed when done in public). Given that, even if my own proposal had been romantic and grandiose, it is irrelevant that I describe it publicly after the fact. My argument hinges on its nature as it happens. Not that it remain private for eternity.

As it happens, there's also the fact that my own proposal was not really the sort of thing we're discussing, nor was the marriage. It was entirely pragmatic. We did love each other, and it was that realization that allowed the proposal and marriage, but we absolutely would not have gotten married without the outside, practical influences. In essence, both of us never really thought we had gotten, or were, married like many other couples did/were. For example, it wasn't implicitly me asking her if she'd agree to spend our lives together. That's what I was trying to get at.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:56 AM on August 27, 2007


brain_drain's mention of abortion and incest was entirely secondary to his main point about proposals.

Saying that your argument against public proposals is that the negotiation is skewed seems like a post-hoc rationalisation, because your original criticism was that people like jscalzi have "bad taste" and are "an embarrassment to others for flaunting it in public"†. Sure, having a public, performative proposal is different from describing a private one after the fact, but for the former to be 'blasphemous' to the 'sacrament of marriage' while the latter is defensible is a bit much.

I'm not necessarily saying that there's no possible way of refuting the accusation of hypocrisy that was levelled at you, but your first comment was a pretty poor attempt.

Also, you criticised jscalzi for his proposal in his column, yet later claimed your argument against this sort of thing was the skewing of the negotiation. Does your argument apply here? All the anonymous people who find out about the proposal aren't there for her actually telling him yes or no. I'm not sure the 'balance of power', for want of a better phrase, in the negotiation is different in this newspaper column proposal from what it's like in a normal, private proposal.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 10:18 AM on August 27, 2007


I'm not sure the 'balance of power', for want of a better phrase, in the negotiation is different in this newspaper column proposal from what it's like in a normal, private proposal.

Well, and again, "balance of power" wasn't an issue in this particular case since by the time I proposed, it was clear the answer was going to be "yes." The discussion had already been had long before; what had remained was how to propose.

(Many years later -- we're talking seven or so years into the marriage -- my wife let me know that she decided that she was going to marry me after our first date. I told her that it was a good thing she didn't tell me that at the time, because no matter how perfect a partner may be (and my wife is indeed perfect for me), knowing that early is a little disconcerting to the other party. I knew I wanted to marry her after three months, and I still waited another nine months to propose, just to be sure.)

There's also the little matter that my wife isn't the sort of person to be pressured into doing anything; trust me, if she didn't want to accept the proposal, it wouldn't matter if I had proposed to her while accepting a Nobel Peace Prize.

That said, I think EB's native argument that a public proposal could be psychologically coercive has some theoretical merit, but a) I suspect the number of people who intentionally or even unintentionally propose publicly to benefit from the coercive aspect is pretty damn small (most people aren't that fucked up) and b) accepting the proposal isn't the same as getting married; there's still time to back the hell away.

I would submit the vast majority of people proposing in a public fashion are merely doing it to make what is a memorable event in one's life even more memorable.
posted by jscalzi at 10:36 AM on August 27, 2007


I don't see the harm in it, but I don't see why this one zoomed around the net like it has, either.
posted by bonaldi at 10:36 AM on August 27, 2007


Mating dances and bright plumage are pretty important in nature. Why can't have them too?
posted by dazed_one at 10:52 AM on August 27, 2007


I proposed via google.

I knew she ego surfed from time to time, so used my AdWords account to display a marriage proposal.

Took about one day and she said yes!

Still made me get on my knees next time we were together though...
posted by Mutant at 10:56 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Monkey writes "(The coolest proposal I ever heard about was the twelve fucking times I proposed to my goddamn ex.)"

Glad to see your not bitter The Monkey.

Anyone know what the software was they used to generate the project. Does it tell you what to cut and where to place it or were they just using a 3d drawing program to prototype the display?
posted by Mitheral at 11:01 AM on August 27, 2007


What deathalicious said, because I couldn't have said it any better myself.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:10 AM on August 27, 2007


The editor of that video overestimates my attention span.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:26 AM on August 27, 2007


baby_balrog's comment ftw.

35 and still stumbling around single (yet dating an awesome gal), but regardless of that...

Inherent double-standard aside for a minute, shouldn't there be a small risk of her saying "no" to the proposal in order for it to be ideal? Otherwise, I might wonder, perhaps the guy could, you know, "do better". Or?

I also think that doing these in a public fashion is a way to stack your deck- the pressure to not say no is a little higher than if it were in a private location.

Whenever I get around to that point emotionally, I have no idea how it would go down in a non-cheesy fashion- but I certainly want to feel motivated to do SOMEthing like this...
posted by Lectrick at 11:29 AM on August 27, 2007


I think this was beautiful. The looks those two gave each other were the kind of looks I hope to be part of some time in the future.

That said, my taste is not for something public like this, unless Mr. Right would prefer that sort of thing. I tend to agree that a wedding is (for pretty obvious reasons) a public or semi-public ritual, while an engagement proposal is more of a private thing. My personal preference would be to propose somewhere special to both of us, but as privately as possible. I would die of mortification if someone proposed to me in a loud, splashy, public way.

Think about it: in a situation like that, you really have almost no choice but to say yes. It would be unconscionably cruel to say 'no' after someone had taken that much time (and money) preparing the event. Of course, when the answer is known ahead of time, that's a bit different.

I guess what I really want to say is this:

Public displays of love are a beautiful thing. This video was classy and thoughtful and apparently perfect for the two of them. Public displays of tackiness or overly-ostentatious wealth are just icky.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:10 PM on August 27, 2007


Marriage is inherently a public thing, it's about making a public commitment to each other, and the community recognizing it. Historically this was particularly true as marriage was mostly practical. With the rise of romantic love as the primary motivation for marriage, people seem more split on the issue.

(This is why several people I know choose NOT to get married, because they want their relationship private).

Personally, the big difference between being a committed couple and a married couple is, to some degree, public.

WRT proposals, though, I think it matters a lot on what the expectations are. If it's unexpected and you have no idea what she'll say, doing it in public puts a lot of pressure on her to say yes, which could lead to bad results. Many proposals, however, are done with a 99% certainty of the answer (such as my own --- which was private) so that isn't an issue, and I think it's the only one that matters.

No one should care if anyone thinks they are tacky. Other people's opinions of my style are unimportant to me, excepting my wife and some close friends.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:12 PM on August 27, 2007


Best comment I have read in ages Baby_B :)
posted by vronsky at 5:32 PM on August 27, 2007


A friend of mine recently proposed, and, I think, bridged the gap between public/private. He proposed in private the day before, and they kept it secret. Then, during a dinner party, they redid the whole thing. 'Twas pretty neat.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 6:47 PM on August 27, 2007


I wish I could favorite Baby_Balrog's comment twice.
posted by Many bubbles at 7:13 PM on August 27, 2007


I doubt that the ability of sharing joyful, happy moments is that natural. I don't think that this ability inherently defines a good person. Being joyful while contemplating a complete wreck is maybe more natural, because we feel safer and stronger. Thus said Lucretius, and Montaigne said also that we cannot feel anything really pure, but that any feeling is mingled with others, even opposite ones. To me, someone pretending to feel unmitigated joy when contemplating the success of someone else is about to become a Tartuffe. But this attitude has roots also, and everyone who experiences the contrary motions of his inner feelings has to be his own judge, or analyst. How to judge other people without knowing those roots ?
posted by nicolin at 2:39 AM on August 28, 2007


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