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Stop Proposing to People at Sporting Events

A modest proposal proposal

Getty Images
Getty Images

Love is grand. Proclaiming your love to your sweetie: grander still. And, by golly, having said sweetie promise that he or she will be yours until your dying day — what a thing!

I get it, is what I’m trying to say. I understand why you want to marry the person you’re in love with, and why it’s a big deal to announce that you want to do kids and middle management and school-supply shopping and hemorrhoids and all of it. I get why you want to have a big party with your friends and family, and why you feel it is important for those people to see you swear your devotion to each other forevermore. Maybe your parents will pay for an oyster bar. It’ll be great.

Here’s what I don’t get: why so many people seem dead set on turning everyone else’s nice day at the ballpark/stadium/arena into a display of their love and commitment. Basically, America, it’s like this: Please, I’m begging you, stop proposing to your significant other at sporting events.

I bring this up because while sporting-event proposals are nothing new, we seem to be in the midst of an epidemic of sorts. Over the weekend, a man in socks, sandals, socks inside of sandals, sandals on top of socks, socks worn not with closed-toed shoes but rather with open ones, a sock-sandal combo, and jorts asked his beloved to be his for eternity at FedExField in Landover, Maryland. Then, on Monday, Georgetown’s athletic department announced the creation of a “Proposal Package” to facilitate engagements, offering the services of a proposal planner “to develop a customized surprise proposal at a Georgetown basketball game,” custom engagement T-shirts (???) for the happy couple, and a money-back guarantee if the happy couple is not, in fact, quite so happy as half of it believed. In other words, the school is actively encouraging people to get down on one knee in the middle of games. This is a monstrosity, and it must be stopped.

First of all: I feel for the dudes — because let’s be clear, this is being propagated mostly by dudes — out there who feel the crushing weight of society asking them not only to buy a really expensive rock and risk rejection, but also to pop the question in a memorably romantic and ideally Instagrammable way, so that the theoretical lifetime of so how’d he ask?!s doesn’t produce a lot of shrugs. This is a lot to demand of anyone, and I’m sorry. It isn’t fair.

But oh my God, please stop doing it at sporting events. I get it: You like your partner and you like sports. Maybe your partner likes sports, too! How wonderful. You have so much in common. You’ll be very happy together.

Here’s the thing, though: Unlike the audience at your wedding — there will be a wedding, by the way, your darling said yes, awwww, big kiss — the crowd at a sporting event does not know you. Your fellow attendees weren’t proud of you when you graduated or signed your first lease, or quietly pleased when you broke up with Angie, who was just so bad for you, honestly. They have literally never wished for you to end up with someone nice. I’m sorry to break it to you, but they just don’t care.

But now here you are, trapping them in your display. One minute they’re in the midst of their own days with people they have chosen to spend at least a regulation period of eternity with, and then suddenly they’re staring, confused, into someone else’s camera as the people in front of them recite long, nervous speeches and then make out. This applies to some degree to all public proposals — and I recognize that you have to lay your rose petals and votive candles down somewhere. But must you do it in a place where people have bought tickets to do something else? Is it really necessary to leap between the half-empty cups of light beer and the bags of stale kettle corn and say actually, this is all for me and my honey, and how convenient that you’re all already facing our way?

Call me cold, call me callous, call me heartless. I wish you and your fiancé(e) the very best, I promise. But let me offer you a little heartfelt advice I’ve learned from somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 wise, patient Twitter eggs: When it comes to sporting events, stick to sports.

Your love does not need a Jumbotron. (And if it does, well — at least have the courtesy to use it during the offseason.)