Propose and cons: 'Will you marry me' meets social media

As if men don't have enough to worry about, now they have to concoct proposals as a production, complete with cameramen, so that they can subsequently adorn Facebook and YouTube.

Marriage proposal
Jubilation in the public eye. Joseph Augstein/ Vimeo Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It used to be a new business pitch. Now, it's a Hollywood movie.

It used to be an intimate affair. Now, you're having to keep an eye and an ear on the fact that it'll be a visual and aural feeding of 5,000 supposed friends.

Now, it seems, if you're committed to going down on one knee, you have to be down with who is going to script the event and who is going to direct it. You might even need a few co-stars to make the production big enough.

Indeed, as the San Francisco Chronicle proposes it, some men are feeling the pressure.

The Chronicle quotes therapist Lori Mothersell (not sure where she stands on Oedipal theory) offering this somewhat concerning narrative: "We're connected in so many different ways via technology. Yet there's this immense disconnect. Now there's this pressure to present yourself that you're happy, that you're doing well. It creates anxiety."

Video: Proposal from Augstein Design on Vimeo.

This anxiety translates into attempting to be ever more original than the last wedding proposal you saw.

Yes, the one that was replete with filtered images from the past, videos from when they went skydiving and no mention of the fact that she temporarily left him for a large, struggling intellectual who turned out to be a thriving drug dealer.

It used to be that when people asked, "How did he (or she) propose?" you could, frankly, make it up. You could embellish the story about the ring buried in the dessert.

You could omit any imperfections or faux-pas. "We were in bed. We'd had too much to drink. He blurted it out, but I had to check the next morning to see whether he meant it."

Now, you have to compete with the live lip-dub proposal , the Super Mario game proposal and even the fake iPhone ad proposal .

One theory is that men are now far more comfortable expressing their feelings, so there is a deep pleasure associated with creating a memory that will last at least the whole five years of the marriage.

With some, it clearly shows -- such as the one I've embedded that features New York photographer Joseph Augstein charming landscape architect Nicole Formoso. Just look how much she weeps by the end. She must be happy.

But many will feel that unless they can create something that their Facebook friends will like, share, admire and comment on a minimum of 3,000 times, they will have already failed in the eyes of the one they love.

I myself will likely never have the chance to propose to anyone. My future wife who currently won't acknowledge me will likely not relent until the next life -- or, given her undiminished, unjust stance, perhaps even the one after that.

However, I feel sure that if suddenly my circumstances changed I would need a budget of at least $50,000 in order to hire the appropriate crew and location.

And all so that I could tweet it, share it and YouTube it.

Such are the pressures that come with being delightfully open and connected.

 

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