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Have I mentioned that I loathe public proposals?

Have I mentioned that I loathe public proposals? published on 1 Comment on Have I mentioned that I loathe public proposals?

Warning: Coercion, disregard for autonomy, objectification, misogyny, etc., etc., etc.

I just read about yet another one in Slate, wherein technology columnist for the New York Times David Pogue made a fake movie trailer about his relationship with his girlfriend. Then, as the Slate columnist L.V. Anderson writes,

"In case you don’t have the inclination to watch the video: He produced a five-minute movie trailer for a fake romantic comedy based on his relationship with Dugan (starring two good-looking Broadway actors in the lead roles), which he convinced a movie theater to play for Dugan (and all of their families, plus some unwitting strangers) before a feature-length film. He hid three cameras around Dugan’s seat before she sat down so that he could record her reaction. At the end of the trailer, he led her to the front of the theater, gave a short speech about how wonderful she was, and asked her to marry him."

Longer coverage [and the horrible video] here:

So, not only was it a public proposal, but it was a secretly recorded public proposal. She was under SURVEILLANCE. Even ickier, as Anderson points out,

"Pogue timed the filming of his faux trailer in such a way that Dugan had to say yes in the span of about two seconds, or else the trailer would stop making sense. (He’d humbly pre-recorded a jubilant celebration.) "

There…the subtext has become the text. Pogue [and, by extension, all of the other guys who engage in this public proposal crapola] expects his fiancee to agree. At the same time, with Pogue's proposal, as with others, the assent from the fiancee is actually irrelevant. As the rigid structure of Pogue's fake trailer demonstrates, it's all about the happy day of the one who proposes. The expectation of the fiancee's yes gives her no room to say anything else. The show must go on! Let's have a party, for the guy has just acquired a new accessory [=wife]!

Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.

1 Comment

I’m not super crazy about public proposals. Then again, I really think that before ANY proposal happens, the couple should have already had conversations about marriage and what they want out of it and whether they think it might be a thing for them in the future and etc. If you aren’t relatively certain your partner will say yes you should wait to ask because you have some more talking to do– the proposal itself should involve talking too, and even though one ought be relatively sure of the answer, it should most certainly not be taken as a given.

With those elements in place I am a little more okay with a public proposal though I still just think it has a certain element of dragging strangers into one’s own story that I’m not dotty over, and in my case I know it would make me uncomfortable to have strangers witness such a personal, important moment in my life, so someone better know their potential spouse well enough to know they’d find excitement in that kind of display. In front of friends/loved ones, I might be okay with, but not out of nowhere without us having discussed it first, and definitely not with an assumed yes hanging over my head.

But even with all that taken into account this is shitty. He designed it to give her a time limit/expected script, the whole thing is about him him him, and he’s trumpeting it all over, proud as a damned peacock about it, flaunting her taped reaction to his fans and pretending he didn’t expect them to lap it up. It’s disingenuous, manipulative to her and to his audience, and just smacks of how much he loves himself more so than whatever love he has for her. And don’t get me wrong, I am sure that he does, but the way he expresses it shows no consciousness of these kind of cultural dynamics and for a man whose job is apparently in journalism in some capacity he should understand how to construct a story if nothing else, and the story as he’s constructed it here isn’t about a woman a man loves or a couple about to take the next step of a journey, but about a man, and how much HE needs this, and what it’s going to do for HIM and HIS life. LOOK WHAT A SWELL GUY I AM, HERE’S THE PROOF IN FORM OF LADY TROPHY, FAWN, ADORING FANS! AW, YOU’RE FAWNING? WOW GOSH THANKS, I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT.

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