Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stakes on a Plane

The world of  public marriage proposals has always bothered me. Why do you need to make such a big deal of it? Are you scared she'll say no?
I can only guess this must be the real, underlying reason for them.
Oh, we can get all dewy-eyed and romantic about it.  He wants to shout his love from the rooftops, share it with the world, we tell ourselves.
I call it ambush and I want it to stop.
I was ear witness to one at ComicCon in Calgary a few years ago. This was the big ComicCon, the event that reunited the cast of Star Trek: TNG.
He popped the question during the intermission between the buildup to the reunion and the actual taking of the stage of the actors.
She said yes. The crowd cheered.
That particular proposal was fine. It was a grand nerd on nerd moment and I am happy for them.
But I and others were trapped with nowhere to turn on a recent flight to London.
Our eager suitor was so insecure –I believe—that he had the First Officer announce from the flight deck that a gentleman has a special request of a lady.
Suddenly a plane full of strangers are right there in the big moment with you. You are about to be asked to marry and the whole plane is waiting for you to say yes.
What choice do you  have?
Saying no, even if you want to, will cause huge embarrassment to you, to  him, and to everyone who had to be along for the ride.
The suitor knows what's at stake: his happiness. He wants her and in his mind the best move is to go public.
Maybe he can't afford some of the big deals we see on YouTube or even the evening news, but he can have hundreds of people rooting for him.
And he did.
We were near London, but still over the water, I think, when he made his request. He was a few rows ahead of me. I had a glance at the ring.
She said yes.   We know because the First Officer announced it later on.
I choose to believe she wanted to, but I can't help but think she felt blindsided. She had nowhere to go and if she'd said  no there'd be pitying looks, or dark mutterings, or what have you from her fellow passengers.
Maybe I am wrong about public proposals. Maybe it isn't monumental insecurity that propels a man (or a woman) but rather the sweeping dizzying overwhelming all-encompassing love that makes the asker want everyone to know it, be a part of it. He or she may just have so much love it must be shared.
But I don't think so.
Whatever their reason, I hope they put as much effort into the marriage as they do to the proposal.


solarity said...

The ambush proposal does seem like an excellent reason to turn the proposer down. I also find the ambush ring a bit strange: I'm supposed to wear this for the rest of my life, but I don't get to choose it?

However, there's also the oblivious-of-surroundings proposal, which has a completely different feeling.

Mary Anne in Kentucky, single and never proposed-to in any circumstances

Leah J. Utas said...

I'm okay with the oblivious ones. They aren't calculated. I'd still rather not see them.

Hilary said...

First.. great post title.

I always figured that a public proposal would occur only when they couple has already discussed heading in that direction and both agree. I assume the guy thinks she will find it romantic, creative and exciting. That may have been the case when it was a very rare things. It's become mundane and intrusive now. And a plane is an especially lousy place to propose. Nobody can walk away from that scene.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks re: title.
I felt so sorry for her. She was trapped.

the Bag Lady said...

You nailed it at the end of your post with the statement about putting as much effort into the marriage as he had the proposal. Probably won't happen.....

Leah J. Utas said...

Bag Lady, thanks. It's sad that how much effort goes in to show and how little goes in to substance.