Recently, a fellow named Sid Ceaser, who is no relation to the Sid Caesar of early TV, proposed to Sara Prindiville in the following fashion: He ordered custom-designed Muppets that resembled him and Sara and created a brief film in which one Muppet proposed to the other. He then took Sara to see a movie and paid the theater owner to insert his short movie among the trailers. Fortunately, Sara is not one of those women who go to the bathroom “one last time” during the previews, and she said yes to the puppeteered proposal.
It used to be a guy could propose marriage simply by having a waiter at a restaurant put the ring into his girlfriend’s mashed potatoes and keeping an ambulance on call in case she swallowed it.
But now, guys are going to great lengths to come up with elaborate proposal schemes involving puppets, stadium scoreboards, skywriting and even flash mobs. A Russian man had a film crew stage a fatal car crash, with himself as the victim, so he could come to life and propose while his girlfriend was crying over the body. (She said ya anyway.) Another guy even had his proposal inserted as answers in the Washington Post Sunday crossword, which shows you how desperate newspapers are to make a buck these days.
It has gotten to the point where there are now proposal planners. These are people who, according to a New York Times* article…
“…promise to help plot a scenario for the key moment and assist in its execution, with just the right helicopter, hot-air balloon or gondola, and along with it the proper locale and musical accompaniment.”
It seems to me that there are a number of things inherently wrong with this:
- How heartfelt can it be if someone else has to plan it for you?
- How is a man of average means supposed to impress a girl these days? I mean, the ring itself has probably put him into debt for years, and now he also has to pay the UCLA Trojans Marching Band to spell out “Will you marry me, Rebecc?” during halftime. (His girlfriend’s name, obviously, is Rebecca, but the band charges by the letter, and he was out of cash.)
- It’s traumatic enough proposing to someone and offering to spend your life with her without risking a mortifying public rejection in front of thousands of people just because she has chosen this moment to reveal that she’s a USC fan.
- It is clear that the escalating complexity of these proposals has nothing to do with romance but is intended solely to produce videos that can then go viral on the web because human beings now believe that even the most intimate moments of their lives should be shared with as many people as possible.
The biggest problem with this trend, however, is one that will eventually come back to haunt the women involved. It is a proven fact** that men have a finite lifetime capacity for romantic gestures, and planning something this big is likely to use up much of it. So while it might be nice to have your boyfriend parachute into the outdoor*** cafe where you’re having lunch with your friends, hand you a dozen roses, and propose to you while a mariachi band, which has appeared out of nowhere even though it’s a French cafe, plays Cielito Lindo, you may regret saying “yes” when, 10 years from now, the gentleman in question gives you an extension cord for Valentine’s Day.
Further, as shown in the chart below, because the romantic part of the brain is the same part used to remember arcane sports statistics, justify the ownership of assault weapons, and retain advanced scientific formulas,**** different types of men have different lifetime romantic capacities to begin with. So if your soulmate proposes by building a small particle accelerator and having the electrons spell out “Will you marry me?”, you may want to think twice about it.
See you soon.
*A quality newspaper that would never include a personalized crossword puzzle for a fee.
**That I am totally making up.
****Still making this up.