Sunday, April 19, 2015

Public Wedding Proposals

I'm watching the first episode of Wonderland.

At someone else's wedding, Kristen (Christie Whelan) catches the bouquet; then sings and proposes to Tom (Michael Dorman).

Throughout the episode, we're given clues that Kristen loves Tom much more than he loves her. So it's not a huge surprise when he hesitates with an answer and then ends up saying no.

These public proposals can look quite romantic and make for great viral YouTube opportunities. But they can go very wrong.  I wonder how often that happens.

And do people ever say yes when they really mean no, but they don't want to hurt their partner in public?  I don't like lying, but I kind of think this might be the best option.  Maybe they can say yes, but really mean, yes, I'll think about it.  Then they can decide later whether they want to go through with it or break off the engagement.  Of course they shouldn't wait too long.  It's probably best to give the belated no BEFORE any deposits are made.

I'm now reading an editorial about public proposals. It has some statistics. A survey was done of two thousand people.  Out of the people who rejected a proposal, 39% were for public proposals. Another survey questioned 500 brides. The survey found that most brides prefer low-key private proposals. 80% wouldn't appreciate a Facebook proposal, and 57% wouldn't want a flashmob one.

I like what the editorial says about confidence.

Putting someone on the spot is hard enough, but when you do that in public, you’re negating their options. No doubt, by proposing, you’ve already reached a conclusion this person will, in all likelihood, say yes. The idea of “other options” simply does not exist for you. And perhaps it says a lot that you’re so confident about your relationship that you can do it publically. But regardless of your confidence, you’re still dealing with another person. Confidence doesn’t equal truth or reality, only an assurance in your assessment of it.

Sometimes confidence about a relationship is justified. Both individuals are in love, and there's a mutual understanding that they want the relationship to continue.  Other times the confidence is misguided. The confident one is missing clues or ignoring them. In that case, we have someone lost in their own head—trying to hide from reality with an inner fairy tale. OR their partner is good at hiding their indifference and/or dislike of commitment.

But when someone with misguided confidence turns the proposal into a public show? Well, I'm picturing someone who is a bit self-absorbed—someone who desires more attention than what should be fairly allocated to all of us. We all need and deserve attention. But some people too often want to be the CENTER of attention.

The other thing about public proposals, and other public romantic gestures, is that it becomes more about flaunting our perceived sense of wonderfulness and less about loving our partner.  If a man posts a video of himself serenading his boyfriend, not only might he get kudos from his boyfriend, but friends, families, and total strangers might jump on the you're-awesome bandwagon as well.  If a man privately serenades his boyfriend; then we know all he cares about is pleasing his boyfriend.

Yeah. I think private displays of romance are the best kind.

You know....I just went back to proofread this post and found that my feelings about the subject have already changed.  When I started writing, I felt more sympathetic towards the public proposal folks. I didn't want them to be publicly humiliated But after reading the editorial and thinking it over? I'm thinking they don't deserve a lie of kindness. Maybe they deserve to be rejected in public.  Not that I wouldn't feel sorry for them, but it would be more of a pity feeling than an empathy one.

And as for Kristen in Wonderland, I definitely think she deserved what she got.  Not only did she do a public proposal, but she made herself the center of attention at someone else's wedding.  And when Tom said no, she didn't accept graciously. She bitched him out in a dramatic scene and rushed out, causing the wedding cake to fall to the ground.  On top of that, she wore a white dress to a wedding that's not her own. Who does that?