This ‘Marry You’ video only feeds my existential crisis | Sunny Hundal

Thursday, May 31st 2012. | Internet News

This video turned up on my Facebook feed the other day, as is de rigueur, and I watched with much amusement. As I got into it, my amusement turned into a sense of romanticism and yearning. How many of us aren’t moved by love and amateur dancing? But that warm, fuzzy feeling soon turned into alarm and then outright annoyance. “Look mate,” I thought to myself, “I appreciate all this effort you went into; nothing beats making your partner happy. But really? Did you have to film it?”

YouTube is rapidly becoming the bane of our existence. Instead of worrying about people catching us doing something foolish and uploading it, soon we’ll be worrying that many of the amazing feats uploaded every day make our lives look like a series of non-events. Call it the “YouTube-inspired existential crisis”. I’m tempted to think there’s value in doing something so absurd that it goes completely viral – at least you stamp your mark on the future. Inspired spin-off memes? Bonus points!

That marriage proposal, conducted to the soundtrack of ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars has already been viewed 9m times in less than a week and will no doubt eventually hit 100m. People are suckers for this stuff. But just remember, they’re evil. With every video, the bar gets raised higher. Soon, our lives will be dictated by films uploaded by others. Got a cat? Film it mercilessly. Dog? Teach it to skateboard so you can brag online. Want to propose? Organise a lavish surprise! But wait, what about that guy who got brutally rejected? Maybe put that 24-piece band on hold until you’re sure …

It’s true, no one but you knows how much worry, paranoia, sweat and sleepless nights went into working up the courage to ask her, or him, to marry you. But now the majority of proposals look like half-hearted after-thoughts in comparison to the very best ones. Look at the video! She’s thinking, “All I got was two codgers singing some Italian song out of tune and a dozen roses!”. I feel your pain, and I haven’t even gone through this yet.

In one sense, we are all being subjected to the Bollywood effect. A once-popular Facebook group summed it up: “Bollywood gave me unrealistic expectations about love” – because almost all those films feature absurd storylines about love and relationships. A lot of my generation still harbour an obsession with the cult of marriage, mostly because our parents instil it from the day we’re born (sometimes with terrible consequences). We go from dreaming about fairytale weddings to wondering if we’ll find the right partner, to worrying if we’ll be left “on the shelf” – perhaps eventually marrying with a sense of relief, so that the parents can finally shut up.

Maybe I’m just being cynical but stuff like this scares me. It’s bad enough that Asians compete with each other for lavish weddings, now I feel I might have to compete with the world for the best marriage proposal ever. Maybe I should move to Sweden and cohabit forever.

But it could also go the other way, I suppose; we could become more casual about love (marriage proposals in 140 characters; a Facebook status change?; “Will u marry me? xoxo” by text?). To make myself feel better, and perhaps get tips for future use (no woman in sight yet), I asked on Twitter about memorable marriage proposals. Here are some of them:

Turns out we’re not all as sophisticated and well-planned as people like me might imagine – I’m not sure that’s a good or a bad thing. So, how did you – or would you – propose to your partner?

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