Getting down on one knee may be the traditional proposal choreography, but millennials might not say yes unless kneeling is preceded by a plié, pas de bourrée, step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch — again! And you might want to throw in 100 synchronized extras, just to be safe. Our generation tends to measure its self-worth in followers and Instagram likes (and not rocks, or stamps, or Bolshevik revolutions, or whatever older generations cared about). Naturally, elaborately choreographed marriage proposals have become our way of demonstrating our undying devotion to our partners and nine million of our closest friends.
As jazzy reinterpretations of stuffy marriage traditions have become ever more popular, millennials have become increasingly blasé. For the millennial generation, most "extreme" proposals seem less like a dream come true, and more like a pretty decent Thursday. The only way to make that private moment between you and your beloved seem special is to up the ante, with more razzle-dazzle, more chorus members, and, hopefully, more views. After all, if the previously unknown singer featured in your video gets a record deal out of it, then your proposal might actually count!
For people our age, the romance lies in the audacity of the gesture. Our generation is painfully (and often gleefully) aware that our every action is being watched, recorded, and uploaded. Snaggletoothed Karen from middle school French class will probably end up seeing your “Anything Goes”-themed flash-mob marriage proposal, and so will the NSA. The audience exists, so we go to extreme lengths to please it.
As Megan McArdle notes in the Daily Beast, our generation sees weddings as the capstone of a perfect relationship and a solidified social and professional life, rather than the matter-of-fact, family-building gesture one makes early on in life in order to stabilize an otherwise unpredictable future. Marriage is now an end, not a means, and more of a luxury than a business transaction. And what better way to show your future spouse that you've really made it than by proposing to him or her in the midst of a hundred professionals dancing to “Jellicle Cats”? If a proposal is made in a forest and no one likes it on YouTube, did it even happen at all?
All this talk of pomp may make you nervous about your proposal plans, but never fear. Here are 10 surefire ideas to make popping the question really pop.
If your future hubby interferes with Sergei Eisenstein’s original staging to save the dying Russian peasants, you know he’s not the one.
Ewoks! This is especially effective if you're proposing to a bear.
Seamlessly transition from Lincoln’s famous speech into a defense of why your love should not “perish from the Earth.” It helps if you’ve only been dating for fourscore and seven days.
Step one, see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark every night. Step two — no, forget it. Step one is already too much to ask. Maybe just go to Cinderella, like these people.
Maybe the ring is on a severed finger? Someone has probably already done this.
Play hard to get. Tell your man that instead of looking at his face, you’d rather watch the new season of Downton Abbey with a British person who has already seen it. To make things realistic, include some insults about things that actually bother you.
You want to be with your man forever, but to get a rock, he has to get off the rock.
“What year in the future would you like to visit, my love? If it’s after Summer 2014, we’ll be married!”
This one is coming up really soon! Get on it!