Why Public Proposals Are a Bad Idea

If you’re thinking about proposing to your partner in public, you might want to browse the stories on Quora.com first.

If you haven’t been sucked into Quora.com yet, it’s an addictive awesome time-suck (okay, so maybe you shouldn’t check it out then!), where real people answer questions about everything from “What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done that no one knows about?” to “What would a modern-day evil genius have to do in order to take over the world?” The responses to some questions can be truly heartbreaking — like the people answering the question, “What does it feel like to have your spouse die?” But there’s also something reassuring and warm-and-fuzzy about this sort of discussion. Turns out people aren’t just spending their time online watching videos of people wiping out doing skate-board tricks. They’re also reaching out and trying to help a stranger deal with the loss of her husband.

Our favorite discussion lately is the kind that makes you squeeze your bum-hole tight with second-hand embarrassment. The question asked was, “What happened after your marriage proposal was turned down?” And the replies are fascinating. We’d never quite understood why some people insist on such public marriage proposals — those kinds of proposals, when they fail, make the best-worst stories — and the answers in this discussion cover it all: hubris, ignorance, fear, insecurity, sneakiness, crazy-stupid-love, and more. Hopefully, the proposer has been able to return to the ring, or at least sell it fast for cash. Diamonds can be sold pretty easily so hopefully, that’s a silver lining? Sure, failed public marriage proposal videos have been a YouTube sensation for a while now, but none of them provide the answer to the question you’re dying to ask: What the fuck was he/she thinking?! Quora lets those people speak for themselves.

Here are some quotes from some of the best-worst marriage proposal FAILs:

  • “I realize [proposing at her farewell dinner] was such a jerk move. I was proposing to trap Mona into staying because I didn’t feel like being alone. It wasn’t about her or wanting a family with her. The idea of a wedding sounded nice, not like a massive commitment.”
  • “We were out in a row boat with her parents and my parents. I asked her to marry me and she said no. About a minute later my mother started crying. And then one of the fucking oars fell into the water and I had to swim after it.”
  • “[After I proposed,] we broke up. To be fair, my proposal was an inexplicable, knee-jerk reaction to her concurrent attempt to dump me at the time. For me, it was truly a ‘What the hell were you thinking???’ moment. We became friends again later, and after I married the woman who really was the perfect fit for me, I sincerely and gratefully thanked my ex for saying ‘no.’ And she smiled and told me, ‘You’re welcome.'”

There are many more stories in the original discussion — some way sadder and some way more inspiring (like the marriage proposal that was rejected again and again… until it wasn’t, and now they’re happily married). Some sound like scripts for a hilarious uncomfortable-to-watch romantic comedy. And a good majority of them have this moral in common: Don’t propose in public, dude*.

* Yes, we know ladies can propose, too, but most of them appear to be smart enough to avoid the very public marriage proposal.