Today I had the grave misfortune of witnessing something no one should ever have to see. Just to observe it made me feel so unclean that I wanted to peel my skin off and soak it in bleach. I'm talking about this:
(apologies for me being shit at HTML and not being able to embed it at the correct size)
If you can't watch it, I don't blame you. This was my face when I saw it:
The story goes like this - some poor, innocent woman is on her way home on a London Overground train. She is minding her own business, and then some twat starts singing. He is joined by several more twats. OH NOES! IT'S A FLASHCHOIR, HOW EMBARRASSING. Poor, innocent woman carries on sitting around in a bemused fashion while they do their little piece. The relief in the carriage is palpable when they look like they're about to stop... surprisingly no one has pulled the emergency brake and done a barrel roll out of the nearest window... THEY'VE STOPPED! Finally! Oh wait, what's this? Oh god... oh... no. NO. It's poor innocent woman's boyfriend, wielding a ring. He proposes, she cries, a nation vomits.
It's things like this that make me certain that there's no god. Any benevolent deity would have smited this bloke into next week before the idea had even crossed his mind.
I understand that this couple are happy, in their own special little way, and that's great for them. I'm genuinely pleased that two people who like that atrocious song have found each other and have decided to publicly declare that they don't want to knob other people. Honestly, I am. But it worries me.
The thing about proposals of this ilk, is that apart from being so toe-curlingly mortifying that kittens spontaneously combust whenever they are mentioned, they are pretty fucking creepy and demeaning.
This schmaltzy crap annoys the fuck out of me. All I can think when I watch it is "but what if she wanted to say no?"
The pressure faced by people who are subject to this kind of overblown public gesture is immense, and worrying. Check out this video, where the woman says no:
Even from a few seconds in, strangers are shouting at her to "SAY YES!". When she eventually runs away, everyone starts calling her 'brutal'. Which, you know, I consider a bit fucking harsh. The suggested videos all tell the same story too, with titles such as "Poor guy gets rejected".
It's like people want these women to just say yes just to please them. The woman has no decision - the man she ostensibly loves has gone to all this effort and spent all this money to make a big, ridiculous, over-the-top gesture. Who is she to say no after that?
I don't even believe that it is done for the benefit of the proposee. It's done, as with other big romantic gestures, so the guy looks like a hero. Look how much work he did! Isn't he awesome?!
Romance shouldn't be about one flash gimmick designed to make people who don't know you think you're cool. It shouldn't cost the earth and require all your efforts. It shouldn't be a cliche from a film, it should be something personal between the people involved. One of the nicest things my boyfriend has ever done for me was to get a pizza delivered to my house when I was too hungover to move. That, my friends, is real love.