Why I Can't Think Of Anything Less Romantic Than A Public Proposal

Men: put the flash mobs, John Legend performances and grainy YouTube videos away. Popping the question in front of an audience really needs to stop

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Last weekend Chinese diver He Zi won an Olympic silver medal and was just being presented with it when her boyfriend decided it was the dream moment to pop the question, causing millions of people around the world to think: Jesus Christ mate, not now.

Maybe some women dream of commanding the attention of Waterloo station or their boyfriend dropping to one knee at Wembley with a foam board saying 'MARRY ME?', it's just I have never met a single one. And if you think about it, have you?

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In theory public proposals are a grand signifier of affection: "I love you so much I'm going to let the whole world know." In reality, you are sharing the most intimate moment of your relationship - possibly your life - with a group of random people. Someone is definitely filming it, and even they're not sure why.

One 2014 study in social media found that "when people felt more insecure about their partner's feelings, they tended to make their relationships more visible". It is no surprise that over-sharing details of your relationship might mean you're compensating for something. When you look at your strange colleague's photo collage from Paris you don't feel reassured you're witnessing true love, you hope one of them is having an affair.

Don't worry, I've only trained my entire life for this moment
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It's the same when you see grainy YouTube videos of proposals in Central Park or Duck & Waffle or on top of the Sydney Opera House, the cameraman's lofty hopes of a viral sensation mocked by a paltry 17 views. Am I the only one secretly hoping she says no so the smug git will have to stand back up again?

I realise how miserable this sounds, but in truth, I take issue with people popping the question in public because I actually believe in romance. Under the surface, there's a strange arrogance at play in these extreme acts of PDA. If you're really taking a chance on love - if the risk of rejection that makes a proposal brave is truly present - why assemble the mariachi band? When He Zin's fiancée-to-be ambled up to her in his red aertex, did he really give her the chance to give an honest answer?

Just look at this video, supposedly the "Most romantic proposal of all time", where the woman is burying her head in her hands and laughing in the desperate manner of someone who gets pulled onto stage at a Christmas pantomime. Nearly seven minutes of searing awkwardness: the most special moment of her life, apparently.

If you are thinking about dropping to the knee any time soon, be reassured that you don't need to overcomplicate things. Life is not about replicating a rom-com. We live in a time where every phone call, holiday and overpriced cocktail is digitally recorded - wouldn't it be nice if in the moment you agreed to spend the rest of your life with someone, you cut out the background noise?

What do you think?

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