What is it with viral proposals? Every day there’s another one splashed across my Facebook feed – a flashmob proposal, a concert proposal, a fake airplane crash proposal, a proposal where a guy serenades a woman with Bruno Mars’ “Marry You,” a proposal on “Ellen,” a proposal outside the “Today” show studio. King narcissist Kanye West recently proposed to queen narcissist Kim Kardashian on an intimate Jumbotron, surrounded by friends, family — and adoring fans.
It almost seems like it’s a game now the way that people try to one-up each other when crafting elaborate proposals. And the point of the game is look like THE MOST ROMANTIC PERSON EVER.
In real life, we all spend a lot of time every day screwing around on the Internet, brushing teeth, watching TV, and doing other stuff that’s boring to watch or talk about. But social media is for highlights, and it’s a way to create an impression of the best parts of your life, even if they don’t add up to an accurate whole. Keeping up with the Joneses (or, unfortunately, the Kardashians) has always been an American problem — and now, social media makes it much easier to keep tabs on exactly what the Joneses have. It’s no longer about having a nicer house or a better car. When you see a flashy public proposal or a billion ring pictures pop on social media, you might start to question your own relationship and whether it’s as good as the one the Joneses have.
Guess what? Your marriage isn’t any more or less valid if a million people see the proposal. If a couple gets engaged and doesn’t blare it all over social media, it still makes a sound. In an age where everything can be lived in public, there’s something beautiful and sweet about moments that still happen in private. The truest moments of love between two people don’t come when there’s an audience. They happen quietly, on the couch in front of the TV or in a hotel room in a foreign country or when you’re just curled up together talking about how your day went.
As my creative writing teacher always used to say: show, don’t tell. I don’t think she meant “show me on Instagram.” Sure, composing an original song for a proposal and hiring a group of adorable moppets to sing it to your beloved while you film the whole thing seems like a sweet gesture. But it can’t make up for real intimacy and the every day moments of romance that aren’t broadcast online.
Do you care more about the person you’re asking to spend the rest of your life with, or do you care more about strangers “liking” your Twitter post? If it takes you more than a millisecond to answer that question, you’re already on the wrong path.
[Image of public proposal via Shutterstock]