I’m sorry. I know women spend their lives complaining about how unromantic some (many? most? all?) men are, and so I might be shooting myself in the foot here, but for the love of God, men of America, will you please, Please, PLEASE stop creating “viral” marriage proposal videos? I’m not saying this because I’m anti-romance, I’m saying this because I think specifically and painstakingly crafting a marriage proposal that is designed with the sole intent and purpose of being consumed by the public is the least romantic, most selfish, gross thing you can do. In short: your “viral” proposal video makes me sick.
A bunch of these proposal videos have made a splash on the web, but if you’ve only seen one, chances are it was Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. The web at large went gaga for Isaac’s stunt, but my friends and I were totally aghast at his exploitative, narcissistic act. I mean, it just seems blatantly obvious to me (and most of my gal pals) that you have to be so in love with yourself in order to do this sort of thing to a woman you’re dating. Sure, show her a movie trailer you created about your love story in a packed movie theatre then propose to her in front of everyone so she’s forced to say yes whether she wants to or not. That’s totally intimate and loving and fair!
Case in point: New York Times tech guru David Pogue created the following video using the format detailed in the last paragraph. New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog notes that Pogue “persuaded the movie theater at a summer resort to play it before a movie” he, his girlfriend and both of their families were there to see. Take a look at the proposal, and then we’ll examine Pogue’s “shocked” reaction to the video going “viral.”
Says Daily Intel, “Pogue hired a pair of Broadway actors to play himself and his girlfriend, tech PR exec Nicki Dugan,” in the fake trailer, which he called “a thinly veiled version of our love story.” Pogue says he “never intended for anyone to see it except for the audience in the theater that night,” but that line, my friends, smells like total horsepuckey. As you can see from the video above, Pogue set up a hidden camera (eww! but that’s standard practice with these proposal videos) to capture his girlfriend’s reaction to the trailer and his subsequent live proposal. If he didn’t intend to eventually edit her reaction into a video meant to be shared online, why else would he film her? Also, no person in their right mind would shoot 22 scenes in 2 days without intending to share the resulting project with the public.
What really kills me about Pogue’s video (and the Daily Intel post about it) is three-fold:
1) Pogue says the video was his kids’ idea and jokes that he’ll “be cutting them in for a percentage of the net.” I’m sorry, even making jokes about pocketing coin off a marriage proposal puts you on par with the Kardashians as far as I’m concerned.
2) A video exactly like Pogue’s (only much more sincere and charming) made by a normal, everyday guy who seems really in love with his girlfriend hit the web in May 2011. Pogue makes no mention of or nod to it in his video description. And he’s a “tech guru.” Hrmph.
3) Daily Intel says Pogue’s video has “gone viral,” but it’s only got 160,000 hits at the time of this writing, and they accumulated over the course of a week. He writes for the NYT and his fiancee does PR – between the two of them they must have at least 160,000 people in their email address books.
As far as viral videos asking her to say I do? Unless yours is as authentic and sweet and full of genuine love as the one Pogue bit his from, please don’t.