Popping the question. It used to be a private, dramatic moment between two lovers. It’s true that sometimes it was done in the home on New Years Day or, like my parents, on Valentine’s Day. The guy would be nervous, sweating even, fumbling with choosing the right moment, anxious about the response of his girlfriend. It was a supremely intimate moment, definitely not an opportunity for public consumption. Later, the engagement might be announced at a family event.
These days intimacy is out the window; the more public the better. Take a selfie while you ask for the yes. Do it on the street dressed in clown costumes, at a baseball game, for people to see and applaud. The more praise the better. If your selfie goes viral, great.
Nothing is private anymore. The lure of celebrity, the notoriety of an event places stardust and bling in your life. Or, maybe not.
We are losing ourselves in the glow of other people’s regard or lack thereof. And, this fame is so fleeting! You have to keep the attention up by figuring more events that focus on you. I remember reading of some groom who throughout his marriage ceremony was fingering his cell phone and kept posting on facebook, while he was standing next to his fiancé at the altar.
Sacrificed is the dramatic experience that two people have have shared a moment of deep affection. The spotlight spoils the experience.
I officiated at a wedding where the bride and groom — already deep into their thirties — mugged for photos, played cutesey with each other at the altar. They posed at the exchange of vows with ironic smiles on their faces as if the ceremony meant nothing. To them, maybe it didn’t. Life’s a show, isn’t it?
What’s wrong with making a spectacle of yourself? It reduces every event to the same value. Suppose, I am eating at a restaurant, take a picture of my plated supper and then send it around to my friends. Great, they can see how tasty my lasagna looks. But, when I make sure my marriage proposal is posted as an image I reduce that to the level of a plate of lasagna.
The triumph of spectacle takes the place of the substance of the matter. A video, snap-chat, tweet, or other electronic notation is what some are after these days. These selfies and personal clips look like advertising to me. The more people that look at me or us the better.
Ultimately are all of our experiences for sale? Me, too?