If you haven’t read Siblings or Dating, go back and do that. I’ll wait. If you have, distract yourself with this while we wait for everyone to catch up (doesn’t it kill you that she hits that note at 2:06 completely wrong? Paul would know if it’s flat or sharp, I have no ear for music. I just know it sounds terrible.)
Everyone back? Great.
Shortly after the dating rumors started swirling around the workplace, helped considerably by Paul’s coy attitude whenever anyone asked him about me, we went out to lunch (fuel to the fire, I know). As we sat in the restaurant, we heard a voice over the loudspeaker squawking “Barb, walnut salad for Barb! Don’t you want your salad, Barb?! Barb, your salad is getting cold, ha ha, hurry up Barb!”. I have never worked in such a setting, so I guess I don’t know what working there does to your psyche, but it’s not like not having been in someone’s shoes has ever stopped me from judging before.
|Also don’t like muddy boots on my table, or douchebags.|
As we stared at each other, wondering WHY ON EARTH this was happening as a harassed Barb as hustled through the crowd to take what she had thought was a healthy and inoffensive lunch order, red faced and mumbling apologies that she just couldn’t get there fast enough to shut this woman up, an idea was born.
Paul looked at me, wide eyed, and said “If I proposed to you in public, would you say yes?”. Time stopped, my eyes filled with tears, and I managed to whisper a soft “Yes, of course” as I trembled with mirth. I immediately envisioned this unpleasant woman shouting “Anya, future husband for Anya! Don’t you want your man, Anya? Anya, he’s not going to wait around forever, haha, hurry up!” and Paul standing at the counter with a ring stuck in one of their free dessert samples.
|More foolish than it is adorable.|
Like all plots hatched between us, it got out of hand quickly. Soon we were calling to mind the very worst public proposals we’d seen on the internet, and making them worse.
“What if I had them call out your name at Panera and like put it in your soup?”
“And then I could start choking on it, or swallow it whole and watch you freak out, or throw it away! And you’d have to start fishing through the trash for this big-ass fake diamond. You could demand that the employees help you, or come back the next day in a panic because you didn’t want to ruin the surprise!”
“Let’s just name every disgusting food related thing that people do and then take it a step farther, like I could try to force the people at Qdoba to put it in your burrito while they’re making it.”
“I should only accept like eighty percent of the time, so you’ll never really know when you’re going to get rejected so you get realistically nervous. And we’ll involve as many strangers as possible so they’ll have to try to console you.”
|If I really wanted to commit, it would come to this.|
We started coming up with scenarios that featured song and dance, near death experiences, the mall, reality television, local news, rollercoasters, puppies, allergies, dramatic rejections, two way proposals, sister wives, you can see how this got out of hand. Every terrible thing that has been done, we want to do worse (but really more like better). “The key to our internet fame!” we crowed on our walk back to the office, musing on the many truly awful and saccharine videos peppering the internet. Fuck heartfelt, this will be hilarious! People will laugh, they’ll cry, they’ll feel bad for you or me or both of us!
Reflecting on the downright glee we felt about making what amounts to a parody of all the public engagements we’ve seen makes me wonder about what it means for our damaged psyches. We try not to make lone ventures down the path of self discovery too often, fraught as it is with dangerous and unflattering visions. That is an adventure reserved for daily joint excursions into the land of “Oh, man, we’re pretty fucked, aren’t we? Shall we blame nature or nurture today?” (sorry I’ve been on a travel metaphor kick lately). But what does it say about us that this rash of public proposal videos that we assume other people take to heart, is basically the next version of planking in our minds?
|Camels are fucking crazy, you doubly stupid planker. I hope something terrible happened in the immediate aftermath of this photo.|
Aside: I fucking HATE planking! The only thing worse than humans planking is babies “planking” which is just their parents taking a picture of them laying in a weirdly stiff position, which could arguably be a cause for a visit to the doctor, rather than a photo shoot. I even googled “animals planking” to see if I could find a tolerable example, and guess what? They don’t do it! Because they’re not fucking stupid. All of those animals that people label as planking are just sleeping. And worst of all is people planking on animals. Ugh.
Best case scenario it says we’re intensely private people about the moments in our lives where we would be making a lifelong commitment to another, and so it’s hard to believe in the sincerity of those whose priority seems to be on creating a scenario that will attract the most YouTube views or go viral rather than on creating a deeply personal and intimate and safe moment for the person they love most to make (or not make) a commitment to them. So deep and thoughtful.
More likely we’re just vicious fun suckers who not only have serious doubts about the viability of marriage and trust in this day and age, but also have a strong aversion to people who think they are some kind of special snowflake for forcing their friends into forcing their future fiancee into the spotlight of internet fame so that how cute/thoughtful everyone else thinks it is can substitute for the feelings of the person in the situation who actually matters, thus cutting like eighty percent of the time and effort they have to put into *thinking* about it and basically clocking the hours it takes to *organize* as a measure of its worth. That sounds about right.