Three weeks ago, I got engaged to my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years. We drove to a hilltop hotel in upstate New York for the weekend, and, as the sun was setting, he got down on one knee, took a box out of his back pocket, and did the deed. Yeah, it was romantic and exciting. It was also fucking scary. And private... which is why I'm not gonna say any more about it — in public or even to my closest friends and family. In fact, the reason I bring up the proposal at all is due to a completely annoying story in today's "Thursday Styles" section of the NY Times. Apparently, there's a growing number of men hiring undercover shutterbugs to take photographs at the precise moment they propose marriage to their girlfriends. Says Leesburg, Virginia resident and groom-to-be J.D. Norman:
I wanted to do the photos so that I could share that private moment with other people while keeping the actual moment itself private to us.
Anyway, Slate has already weighed in on the article, declaring both the feminist and misogynist spins on the practice of stealth proposal photography. But the "trend" of the photographed wedding proposal isn't an issue of feminism or misogyny. It's an issue of stupid... the same way asking a woman to marry you and having it broadcast over a sports-stadium Jumbotron is stupid. Number one, most women don't want to be photographed without their permission and two, they usually like to keep these "life-altering" moments to themselves, to describe (or not) at their own discretion. Or maybe that's just the older generation!
Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University who studies the impact of new media on human interaction, said: "I watch students come to the realization that there's an internal contradiction in their lives. They both want to be famous and they want to be authentic, and yet there's something in their striving to archive their lives that's inauthentic."
One of his former students recently posted his own proposal photographs on Facebook, he noted. That site and others like MySpace "allow them to be their own publicists," he went on. "Which ties in with the marriage thing. It really is a fascinating phenomenon. It's almost like if it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen."
Uh, yeah, so did I mention I "announced" my engagement by updating my "relationship status" on Facebook???
Will You Marry Me? Say Cheese! [NY Times]