It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man, in possession of good fortune and the Greatest Artistic Genius and Mind of All Time – ALL TIME – must be in want of a Kardashian. Now Miss Kardashian and Mr. West, after years of friendship, a brief courtship and a child, are embarked upon the voyage of matrimony.
While initially Kim was worried about dating Kanye on the grounds that it was weird to be stared at lovingly by something that wasn’t a camera, and Kanye was unnerved on the grounds that he was already in a lifelong romance with the most brilliant and attractive person alive – himself – they managed to struggle through these differences and come out stronger as a couple. It is not what is outside that matters. There is plastic surgery for that. What matters is what is within the resilient neoprene and silicone shell that encases your beloved. Beauty fades and love disappears, but that ego will always be there.
I am sorry. I don’t mean to be cynical. I know Kanye has deep emotions. He proposed to Kim using a traditional, understated method: Renting out a ballpark to use its Jumbotron and getting a 50-piece orchestra to play Lana Del Rey (and, naturally, one of his own songs). Great. Wonderful.
Now can we stop these extravaganzas?
This is as good a time as any to beg that we put the kibosh on the Big Public Proposal craze that has been sweeping the nation. Kim and Kanye did it. You don’t have to. Every reason that it made sense for them is a reason it does not make sense for you.
I get that, for as long as there has been romance, people have been feeling the need to make large public gestures that might be ill-received. Before the Jumbotron, there was the court minstrel who stopped everyone in the middle of the feast and dedicated his new cover of “Greensleeves” to you, and then you tried to run out of the feasting hall in embarrassment, but it turned out your father had already promised you to him, so you had to act flattered. Before that, there was the guy who showed up at your cave with a giant mammoth, a parade of all your best clan-friends and a special engraved club that he was going to use to drag you back to his cave if you gave your consent, and then you said no, and he had to drag the mammoth all the way back home and eat it alone, cold, staring at lewd cave drawings his friends had scratched on the wall to cheer him up. (I may have put too much thought into these scenarios.)
Carefully choreographed, viral YouTube proposals are a relatively recent innovation (and there are tons of them). You would think that, after almost every one inspires the comment “Wow, it would be terrifying to be put on the spot like that!” someone might stop. But the impulse seems too deeply rooted. Before, you had to be rich to make this kind of public display. Now anyone with a smartphone can do it. But that doesn’t mean you should. Generally, the splashier the display, the less it is about its intended recipient.
I understand that one man’s Completely Mortifying Public Display is another’s Powerful Romantic Gesture. But for every UpWorthy-worthy Video Where You Climb on Top of A Bus With All Your Best Friends and Propose to Your Girlfriend and, See, You Were a Romantic After All, there are a dozen or more ways that this can go horribly, painfully wrong. They are uncomfortable to watch, even when they go well, and especially when there is choreography. If you are already so certain that the other party will say yes that you are willing to involve all your friends and family in a giant, elaborate dance, then save it for the walk down the aisle.
The Kimye case is a good example of the only situation where a public Jumbotron proposal makes actual sense. Who likes being put on the spot about something deeply personal, in the face of cameras and a cheering crowd? Kim and Kanye. That’s who. Don’t do it, everyone else.