Monday, October 22, 2007

Indecent proposals

Continuing our conversation from yesterday on romance and the hopelessness thereof, I saw this clip online of some dude proposing to his girlfriend on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Before I explain exactly how this relates to romance, some preliminary points: I’m afraid this girl is in for what can only be described as a long-term disappointment, because her bf is definitely setting off a ping on my gaydar. And as someone who has been (wrongly) accused of being gay I know a little something about false positives on the ‘dar, and this one doesn’t feel like it.

Next point: One thing that really bothers me about this proposal is that I know about it; which is to say, that it’s in public. Here are just some quick reasons I’ve jotted down as to why I dislike public proposals:

1. Asking someone to spend the rest of her life with you is a pretty personal moment that random strangers shouldn’t be privy to. And it certainly shouldn’t be brought to me by Nabisco.

2. It feels like the dude is trying to earn brownie points with all the women in the audience. “Oh my god, that guy is SO SWEET!” Not really. More precisely, he’s gay, and you’re an idiot.

3. A public proposal is pretty selfish. It just makes it that much more difficult for the girl to say no if she doesn’t want to. Which is probably the point. But, of course, not really.

4. Lines like “From the second I laid eyes on you…” don’t really work, but they especially don’t work when you’re neither the sayer nor the sayee, but just a dude rolling your eyes at how cliché it all is.

Third point: You look at some of the comments on YouTube, and some people seem to think this proposal is really good: that it’s ruined it for the rest of us dudes, that it will be hard to top, etc. Maybe you weren’t paying attention. It’s just a regular proposal. He loved her so much he didn't even bother to write an original speech. The only “hook” is that it’s on national television, which really isn’t much of a hook. It didn’t require any real effort. He just called up the show’s producers and said, “Hey, I want to propose on your show.”

A better proposal was one I saw in the early 90s on America’s Funniest Home Videos. The girl went to pick up her bf at the airport at his airplane’s terminal gate (this was in the 90s when you could still do that), and he had brought 50 roses with him and got each person on the plane to hand her one as they disembarked. Then he showed up with the last one and did the whole bended knee routine. Even though this proposal violates my “proposal in public” rule, it reflected some innovation and original thinking.

Another example is actually one I came up with, but then those nancies from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stole it from me. The guy cooked his girlfriend dinner and they ate it in their secluded garden, and then for desert he had made her a chocolate box with the ring inside. I thought up something similar for my proposal, but now I can never use it, because it’s already been on Queer Eye. She’ll just throw the ring at me and scream, “You asshole! You just got this idea from television!” No I didn’t! I came up with it in, like, 1995! I swear! Damn you, Jay Rodriguez!

This ties into the long-awaited main point, which is this: there seems to come a point for a lot of people in engagements and romance generally when it becomes less about expressing your love and more about competition. It’s about one-upping either other dudes or yourself. “He gave her two dozen roses so I have to give her three (dozen)!” And it shouldn't be like it. This, again is why dogs are the ideal love-relationship a person can have. A dog just cares that you did something nice for it. It doesn’t care whether you did the exact same thing last year on its birthday or if the neighbor gave HIS dog a bigger bone because he REALLY knows how to appreciate HIS pets.

That’s it. That’s the main point. I think there were way too many preliminary points to get there. But I’m not going to delete them now.

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