Turning a Moment into a Spectacle

I’ve written several relationships in my stories, including three proposals of marriage, one each in Burden, Bonded, and With Honor.  (There is a fourth in Butterflies, but it is “off stage” if you will – we know it happens but don’t witness it directly.)  These have all been heartfelt, personal moments, usually with only the involved parties present.  One included a third person, but that’s the extent of it.   I liked writing these moments; I feel what my characters feel, and a powerful, emotional scene is one of the driving forces of my writing.

Recently it seems to have become a trend to make proposals into big spectacles.  It’s not enough for it to be an emotional moment between the couple, oh, no.  Now not only do friends and family need to bear witness, the rest of the world needs to see it, too.  I had to help arrange a big spectacle proposal at work, my sister’s roommate’s fiance flew all the way to Mexico to propose at a family reunion, and there are scores of elaborate proposals on the internet.  The Downtown Disney flash mob is one of my favorites, and this guy seemed to take the performance concept a bit too far.

Where did this trend come from?  It’s definitely been building for years – guys have hired sky writers, proposed at sporting events, and done any number of huge, embarrassing gestures for a while now.  Perhaps the advent of YouTube and other web video outlets has simply upped the ante.  Who knows.  Either way, it seems a bit much to me.  Isn’t love and joy the emotion you should go for with a proposal, rather than surprise and embarrassment?  And of course there is the ever-present question: what if she says no?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the big performance proposal spectacles just as much as the next girl.  In fact, my friends sharing them on Facebook inspired this post!  But as for my writing, the heartfelt personal moment still seems the best choice.