If you’re like most people — or, at least most people who participated in a recent survey — you prefer a private, low-key proposal over those public, over-the-top proposals that have been going viral over the past couple of years. “ScienceOfRelationships.com interviewed nearly 400 participants about their proposal preferences and found that 69% said they’d prefer to keep it private. Seventeen percent of respondents said they would want ‘semi-private’ proposals (just close friends and family around), while only 15% said they prefer a public event.”
So, if this survey is representative of society at large and most people dislike a public, over-the-top proposal, why do they seem so abundant?
In an essay I published on DW a couple years ago, Dennis Hong called it: “Engagement porn” and said it’s “stuff that people who aren’t happy with their own relationships drool over, and stuff that people in fulfilling relationships smirk at.” Hmm, so if that’s true, does that mean that everyone who proposes in some viral/YouTube-friendly way is unhappy in his or her relationship? Do they have something to prove, and, if they do, is it because they know deep down that their relationship isn’t all that? Maybe they’re worried that a private proposal stripped of all the pomp and circumstance will echo the emptiness of a relationship they hope will last forever.
Of course, 15% of those surveyed said they’d prefer a public proposal, and one would hope that not all those people feel unhappy in their relationships. Perhaps some feel so happy they want the whole world to celebrate with them when they and their beloved decide to take things to the next level. (And what better way to get the whole world to celebrate with you than flash mobbing Times Square?
So, what’s your preference? Private or public? Sweet and simple or grand and over-the-top? I’ve shared the story of my own proposal before and, honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. It was public in that it was in Central Park, but, since it was early February and freezing outside, it was about as private as you can get in the middle of Manhattan. And I love that Drew and I will always have a spot where we can go (and bring the kids!) and remember that special moment (we also got married in Central Park, but about a mile and a half away on the other side). So, my vote is for a private proposal, but I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone’s preference for a public proposal. Especially if the happy couple wanted to, like, share champagne with onlookers. Don’t you think that should start being a thing?