Tag Archives: Marriage

OK, You Hate Public Marriage Proposals: Now Please Have a Seat

He Zi Proposal

Diver He Zi (R) accepts Qin Kai’s offer to continue ruining her life in public. CBC

On August 14, 2016, Olympic diver He Zi won the silver medal in the women’s 3M springboard. Right after the medal ceremony, fellow diver and boyfriend of six years, Qin Kai, proposed to her. She said yes.

One would think that all of the above facts would be cause for universal celebration, but in these early days of the 21st century it has become quite apparent that WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

In some quarters, the fact that Qin chose the moment representing the ultimate recognition of He’s struggle and culmination of her athletic efforts over the last four years to ask for her hand in marriage was disrespectful, egocentric, and controlling. It was yet another example of a man trampling the efforts of woman so as to fix the public gaze firmly on him and announce her ultimate subjugation. “Check out the look on her face,” they say. “She clearly wasn’t into it!”  “She only said yes out of embarrassment!”

Get the fuck out of here. Now.

OK. That response was a bit subtle, so here are a few more thoughts on this particular topic.

A. It’s disturbing that folks are so willing to jump to conclusions about He Zi’s feelings or the nature of their relationship dynamics based on a second or two of facial expressions (or a manipulatively chosen still). If you listen to her talk about it here, she explains that what you’re witnessing is the face of a genuinely surprised woman, nervous about making the right decision. Holy shit, she’s human!

In a subsequent interview, when asked whether she’d like to talk about her medal win or engagement first, she immediately replied, “I feel that my happiness now will make up for the loss of the gold medal.” In the same conversation, questioned about their future in diving, she stated, “We have been through a lot in the past few years…we must have a good rest first.” Qin, as sickeningly overbearing as ever, only replied, “My answer must be the same as hers.” Later, he goes on to say, “I will follow whatever her choice is,” while she, clearly intimidated by her fiancé’s dominating presence, remarked demurely, “He must abide by my decisions.”

Somebody please rescue her from this abusive relationship ASAP.

B. There’s a sizable group of women who enjoy public proposals. Take a look at the reaction of He’s fellow medal winners when this egregious act of sexism went down:

Cagnotto_Tingmao_Proposal Reaction

Tania Cagnotto (L) and Shi Tingmao show unrestrained delight at their competitor’s humiliation. AFP/Getty

Damned traitors.

People like ostentatious displays of commitment. Although one leading proposal service company (yes, these fuckers exist) has seen a flattening of demand for public proposals, they still represent half of their business…meaning it’s a HUGE chunk of their revenue and that it used to be MOST of it. And by the way, a public proposal is any invitation to marriage that occurs in a public venue. It need not be on the Jumbotron at Yankee Stadium; the middle of a Red Lobster in Des Moines, Iowa counts, too.

I’d also point to the preponderance of Facebook posts with multii-angled pics of diamond rings on freshly manicured hands as another proxy for evidence of many women’s comfort with public displays of the intention to marry. Seriously, they give shots of drooling babies a hellified run for their money.

C. While there are certainly people who make public proposals because they’re egomaniacs, there are plenty of folks engaging in such shenanigans in order to please would-be wives and boldly declare their love. Perhaps that’s what Marjorie Enya was doing on August 8th when she headed onto a field post-match with balloons and—GASP!—a microphone to ask Isadora Cerullo, her rugby playing girlfriend, for her hand in marriage. But hey, why guess when she told us herself?

enya_cerullo_proposal

Cerullo (R) and Enya share an entirely inappropriate kiss in an Olympic setting. Reuters

Interviewed afterward, Enya said, “As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought, ‘I have to make this special’…She is the love of my life…I wanted to show people that love wins.” Yeah, it was a woman who set off the marriage proposals at the 2016 Olympic games.

Selfish bastard.

I’ll leave you with a closing thought. After articulating this POV on Facebook, one of my female friends earnestly asked, “Who hurt you?” Another queried me privately regarding the “noise about the proposal” and whether someone had rejected mine. Neither was trying to be insensitive, but just stop for a second and imagine the fallout if a man responded to a woman during a discussion about relationships in such a patronizing and dismissive manner.

Having said that, I’ve never proposed to anyone. No personally experienced rejection motivated me to write this. Instead, this essay is an effort to expose the doublethink that allows questions such as those posed above even to exist. The Wedding Industrial Complex is built on stoking women’s desires for the fairytale ending, and that ending begins with the way in which a man asks the Princess to become his Queen. For those on the quest for that movie-worthy proposal, I say may the odds be forever in your muphuckin’ favor. Personally, I accept my feminist comrades’ invitation to join the Minimalist Proposal Movement.

Are there local chapters and shit?

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Always Will?

The Southern Hummingbird

Ever heard Tweet’s “Always Will”?  It popped up on my iPod yesterday and I couldn’t help but play it ’bout fifty-leven times.  The sparse, acoustic guitar-heavy instrumentation combined with the smooth, almost celestial background vocals and Tweet’s heartfelt delivery are guaranteed to get me every time.

Not familiar with it? Here’s the basic gist:

Tweet loves someone, and she believes that this someone loves her.  In fact, she loves this someone so much that she declares that no matter the obstacles in their way, even if the distance between them is literally cosmic in scope, she bets that she “always will.”  And she ratchets the wager up a notch by proclaiming that this someone “always will” love her just as much.  It’s quite touching.  Really.

It’s too bad that it’s probably not true.  I mean, when you really think about it, to how many people have you personally said, “I’ll always love you,” or something similar?  C’mon, be honest.  I’ll wait.  Now how many of those promises rang true like, by the time you finished first semester in b-school?

Exactly.  Even if you meant it with all your heart and soul and being at that time, chances are that by now you’d cringe if you could do a Marty McFly and stand next to yourself when you lovingly whispered that sweet nothing in the ear of your boyfriend of four month’s time on a Holiday Inn couch after Senior Prom in 199X.  Crap, you’d probably even grimace when you think about the last time you said it.  When was that?  Last Valentine’s Day?  New Year’s Eve after that last shot of Henny (or Vodka Redbull for all my white folks)?  Your wedding day?

It’s OK though.  You can’t help it.  Human beings have an unrestrainable need to feel as though they have control over their own futures.  That’s why millions of us faithfully read horoscopes, wear lucky underwear before a big game, and (gasp!) say our prayers.  They’re all just as futile as trying to end interracial dating in Minneapolis or Seattle, but that doesn’t stop us from doing it.  There’s just so much in the world that’s out of our control, whatever little bit we can do to feel that we’ve taken some power back from the Lords of Chaos does our pitiful little souls good.

So we try to will ourselves into infinite romantic love.  I mean, what human condition is a better target for our self-protective efforts than the steamy, shivers-up-the-spine, daydreamy emotion that drives everything we do in our waking moments?  Yeah, I said it.  When we’ve got it, we can dance under water and not get wet, and when we lose it, a lot of us just drown in tears.  Who wants to deal with the latter?  I don’t.  Hell-to-the-damn no!  I saw “The Secret”!  Let’s just speak our love into perpetual existence!  If only it were that simple.

Wish on a star, wish on a full moon—crap, wish me love a wishing well—but love can no more be controlled than thunderstorms, or heat waves, or tectonic plate movements, or [insert force of nature here for dramatic effect].  Even R&B, for all of its syrupy, hyper-optimistic expositions on the subject, grudgingly recognizes this as the truth.  Think “I Keep Forgettin,'” “I Miss You” (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, not Aaron Hall) and the best example: “Love Don’t Love Nobody”.  In the end, when it’s over, it’s over…and more often than not, it doesn’t take death to part you from your lover.  A nice smile or a nice fatty can work just as well, let alone the thousands of miles Tweet was singing about.

Did I convince you?  No?  I doubted that I would.  See, you believe that “real” love is eternal, despite the fact that 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce and 75% of those who don’t are mostly unhappy.  You believe that sheer will power will keep you in love indefinitely.  You believe that you needn’t worry that your love could simply vanish – FOR NO REASON AT ALL.  And why not?  It feels good, don’t it?  Keep it up.

I bet you always will.

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