So this morning I was perusing ye olde internet and mine own eyes came across the story of a failed marriage proposal. As in, spectacularly failed. To briefly sum up the article in the Houston Chronicle:
- Guy pays $300 for 2 tickets to the Astros game, the scoreboard proposal, and a video thereof
- “Kiss Cam” focuses on guy and his sweetie
- Scoreboard says “Will you marry me?”
- Guy gets on one knee, proffers ring
- Girl dumps popcorn on guy’s head and leaves
- Guy slinks away with tail between legs
Now that, folks, is a Bad Day at the Office of Love.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel sorry for the guy to a point. However, it’s one thing to have a proposal turned down on screen in front of, oh, 30,000 people; it’s another thing to have your would-be One True Love dump a bag of popcorn on your head into the bargain. Methinks when that happens, there has to be SOME reason behind it. Like, “I know I put it in her sister’s butt, but nobody can turn down the JumboTron proposal! This’ll make it all better!”
Anywho, it got me thinking both seriously and humorously about what my bruddah Rik calls The Grand Romantic Gesture. You know what I’m talking about, people. Once the public Grand Romantic Gesture was the nearly-exclusive domain of men, while the private GRG (the tears-of-blood-soaked love poem, that sort of jazz) was more evenly distributed amongst the sexes. Nowadays even the public gesture playing field is a bit more level, and high school girls send flowers to their high school beaus.
Ok, that’s not true, middle school girls send flowers to their high school beaus. The high school girls are busy banging college guys. We all know this to be true.
But to get back to the point, for example, there used to be this commercial on TV all the damned time for diamonds. See, my wife is already rolling her eyes because she knows what’s coming. Diamond commercials piss me off to begin with. “Two months’ salary!” Yeah. Them’s two months you don’t eat, brother. (Luckily, I have a good woman. Yeah, I bought her diamonds, but she bought me wood: a guitar. A nice one. I still enjoy playing it.) Anyway, this commercial in particular featured a couple that were in their late thirties or early forties, out in some square in a city someplace. New York? Paris? London? Rome? Hell, I don’t know. The guy is giving a romantic speech about when they first met, and then he does the GRG, screaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of the crowded square: “I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!”
Then he hands her a little box with a diamond necklace, or ring, or bracelet, or anklet, or fuckin’ phallus, I don’t remember exactly. And she gives him a warm hug and whispers, “I love this man.”
Whispers it. After being given a $5k diamond.
Now, if life was fair, shouldn’t she turn around and scream out at the top of her lungs, “I LOVE THIS MAN!!!!”
Or, better yet, pay him the ultimate male-equivalent compliment and scream out, “THIS MAN HAS THE HUGEST SCHLONG I’VE EVER SEEN, AND SEX WITH HIM IS SO GOOD THAT IT’S BEYOND BELIEF!!!! IN FACT, I CAN’T STAND IT, I’M GOING TO ROCK HIS WORLD RIGHT NOW!!!!”
If you take a detached look at it, the whole thing is kind of like going fishing. You break out the old tackle box and say to yourself, “Hmm, let’s see, whatta we got here. Ooh, I can play the guitar. Maybe I should play guitar for her! Or lookee here, poetry! I could write her a poem!” You judge your quarry, you judge the prevailing conditions, and you select the lure that you think gives you the best chance of getting a strike.
Then you tie it on (maybe tying one on first, if you know what I mean) and sling it out there. And you teeeeasingly swing it by their nose, saying “come on, come on, look at this, don’t it look good to you? Take a bite, take a bite, aww shit. Let’s try again. Come on come on come on….shit. Well, let’s try the poem instead. Here we go, bite it bite it bite it….YES! Woohoo!”
Or, alternatively, you say “well, they just ain’t bitin’ today” and you go home.
But that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s not about being yourself, it’s about finding some flashy thing to capture interest. What you’ll do with ‘em once you’ve landed ‘em is not something you’ve got all planned out. Hell, sooner or later you’re going to break down and be yourself, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Fishing is great, but nobody fishes 24-7-365. Eventually you’ve gotta get beyond the lure.
Or, as so many people do, throw this one back and try to reel in another one before the one you’ve got in the boat now figures you out.
But that analogy only goes so far. The Grand Romantic Gesture involves a lot more than fishing. At least it does when it’s properly done. It involves risk. Ranking on the Romantic Gesture Scale is directly proportional to how many people, preferably who know you well, you are willing to potentially humiliate yourself before in order to win the adulation of Thine Owne True Love.
- Carving her name on your arm with a razor and showing it to her and her two BFF’s earns you a 2.
- Reading him a poem in front of a party of your friends is a 10 – a 17 if he tells his buddies to fuck off when they give him shit for it.
- Singing her a song in front of your entire high school student body is at least a 23.
- A 29 if you can actually sing.
- A 55 if you CAN’T sing a lick but still manage to pull it off convincingly.
That’s why the Grand Romantic Gesture has power. It’s a willingness to sacrifice oneself. And who doesn’t have that little romantic fantasy someplace inside that wants someone to love us so much that they’d risk the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to win our affection?
If you want to read about a perfect example of the Grand Romantic Gesture, I refer you to an old blog post of my buddy Rik, who witnessed one a year or so back and wrote a stunning account of it. Take a moment to read it; I’m sure you’ll find yourself alternately cringing and smiling.
That’s what the Grand Romantic Gesture does. It makes you think, “Damn, what a moron, but I wish I had the guts/I wish somebody would do that for me sometime.”
So go on, be a moron. And maybe somebody’ll be a moron for you.
Filed under: A Nice Guy Speaks, Life and other states of existence, War Between the Sexes | 4 Comments »