On privacy and hysterical fiancees

There seems to be a common misconception that every woman’s life revolves around relationships; that she’s not complete until she gets the biggest rock on a ring, and that’s the happiest moment of her life ever.

That’s kinda sad.

If you’ve seen the recent commercials for the LG Optimus G Pro, you’ve probably seen the one about “fab sharing” an engagement ring. Every time I see it, I preemptively cringe because I know what’s coming.

For those of you who haven’t seen it , a man proposes to his girlfriend, who then asks him to put it on hold for a second so that she can remove her phone from her purse, primp for a moment, and then let out the most ear-splitting shriek I have ever heard in a commercial. The woman is clearly doing different takes to show just how hysterical(…ly happy?) she is. The commercial then cuts to two of her friends, who are also screaming at the top of their lungs.

I’m not sure which problem I have with this commercial is bigger: the stereotype that women go hysterical over a ring, or that the woman hijacks and shares what is clearly meant by the boyfriend to be a private moment.

I get that there are women who will go hysterical over a ring, and I respect that. But I doubt nearly as many women go quite so overboard as popular media portrays. I haven’t been proposed to, but when the boyfriend asked me out, my reaction was happily stunned silence. I could barely get out any sort of positive response. This is, I have noticed a general reaction to these types of things that happen in my life. It’s also the way I’ve seen women respond on a lot of home videos, which I trust far more than what any commercial tells me. I’ve also seen loud (but not ear-piercing) reactions from some women.

The point is: yes, they’re happy, and they should be. But not in an “I’ve waited my entire life for this ring” way; rather, in an “Oh my God, I want to make this move forward with this person” way. The ring is nice, but it’s the guy that matters. (If the guy–or girl–doesn’t matter, I’m of the opinion that you’re very much doing it wrong.) I may be slightly biased, though: I don’t want an engagement ring. Yup, you read that right. I just don’t see the need for a hunk of super-pressurized carbon. I have ideas about what I do want, and it’s far more meaningful to me, but that’s a ways down the road, so I’ll let it go for now.

Then, there’s the issue of the sharing. It’s one thing if you want your proposal to be public. I’d hope that most couples would talk it over and make sure they want to take that step forward, anyway. I would hope that the public/private thing would come up then, but failing that, I’d hope everyone would know their partner well enough to create a proposal that works for the both of them.

The fact that, in the commercial, this guy is proposing not in front of anyone else speaks volumes to me. He gets confused when she pulls out her phone–kind of a “what are you doing, lady?” sort of thing. He pretty clearly thought this was gonna be a just-the-two-of-us event, and not a just-the-two-of-us-and-all-my-Facebook-friends-Twitter-followers-and-YouTube-subscribers deal.

As much as I love how technology has enabled us to share more of our favorite moments with those close in heart but not in physical distance, not everything needs to be real-time shared. I made a joke to some friends about live-tweeting a friend’s wedding the other day, and we all laughed because it was just that stupid. I get making arrangements to share these moments somehow with those who can’t be there, but there comes a point where it crosses into entirely unreasonable territory. Most people don’t need or want a 3-ring circus (or at least, the media attention that one would garner) in order have a special moment.

I’m not an incredibly quiet person. I am actually kind of loud, being the product of a big family. I am also a person who, by and large, respects the gravity of a moment. I am someone who feels that not every moment of my life needs to be shared. (The irony of having a blog about mostly unimportant things does not escape me.) Maybe that’s just me, but given the recent entry of “oversharing” (as pertaining to social media, anyway) into the colloquial lexicon, I don’t think I’m alone. Finding the right balance is hard, and different for every person, but it can be done.

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My Love/Hate Relationship With Commercials

Sex sells. Don’t try and tell me that those commercials with washboard-abs guys and beautiful bikini babes have never enticed you even a little bit—we’re wired to appreciate those people. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. What irks me is that sex often enough has nothing to do with what’s being sold.

“Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, Chickadoodle!” you might be saying. “You admit to loving those Isaiah Mustafa Old Spice commercials, and yet, you say that you dislike ‘sex sells’ commercials! You’re a hypocrite!”

Well, let’s think about that, for a minute. First, yes, Isaiah Mustafa is sexy. But part of the point of Old Spice is to be good-smelling, and thus, in one way or another, attractive. At least the guy’s advertising what he’s selling! Second, and probably a bit more importantly, those entire commercials are Mustafa making an absolutely hilarious parody of how sex is meant to sell! Nobody actually expects Old Spice to turn you into Isaiah Mustafa, or whoever you think is the most irresistible guy on the face of this planet! And while a lot of commercials try to play on that, they so often miss the point exactly by throwing someone (often enough the opposite sex, considering how very little LGBTQ people are represented at all, let alone accurately, in pop culture, but that’s another post entirely) at this incredibly attractive person that it veers straight out of lampooning and back into “Oh God, if only…”

I don’t like commercials that feature men running around in underwear for no other reason than to scream “SEXY!!!!!” I don’t like commercials with scantily clad women waving flags or gesturing at this TV for no other reason than that putting a pretty woman next to something somehow raises the attraction factor of the object itself. It boggles the mind: how does a sexy human increase the appeal of the TV? Are we supposed to want to have relations with the TV? Are we supposed to anthropomorphize the TV? The TV does not come with a sexy woman to gesture at it, so what’s the point? Someone help me out, here!

(This, by the way, is one of the reasons I love the Toyota Rav4 genie commercial. You’re conditioned to think she’ll be an incredibly sexy slip of a thing, but nope—she’s an average woman in a purple suit with a Chihuahua and sometimes, she gets things wrong.)

But sex is only part of my gripe. I just don’t like commercials that have nothing even peripherally to do with what they’re trying to sell. The Geico commercials about “X was expensive, so Y” do push it, even though I like them, but the vast majority of commercials I like are clever in how they sell their products without veering off into la-la land. Allstate mayhem commercials, for example, are things that do happen; just presented humorously. I just want to know why I should buy something, and “our commercials are funny” doesn’t count; it only proves that you have creative people on your advertising team. Back it up with experiments! Back it up with facts! Yes, those are a little more difficult to make entertaining, but I just don’t buy things that I can’t see some sort of lasting value in.

I know I’m not the only one who buys like this, but there must be a market for these commercials, and they must be successful—how would they still work, otherwise? I just don’t want a desperate bid for my attention. I want products that work. Maybe you should invest that ad money in working products, instead.

Commercials Entertain Me Too Much

I have ridiculously high standards for commercials.

Or maybe I don’t; I don’t know.

What I do know, however, is that I have YouTube playlist dedicated to commercials I find funny. I would say this means I’ve officially joined the ranks of the weird and strange, but I was born weird.

Anyway, some favorites:

The Allstate Mayhem commercials
Oh jeez, this guy (who has apparently been in a bajillion other things I don’t watch because they’re not as good as the commercials) has the perfect vocal blend of rough and smooth. And he wears a suit. Guys in suits = happy Chickadoodle. And they’re so damn funny! I mean, really, tell me you didn’t laugh when he was a broken GPS. Or a hot female jogger trying to keep this *gestures to torso* a ten. Or a toddler screaming, “Mommy! MommyMommyMommyMommy!”.

Geico: Middle Schoolers
I never thought that middle schoolers telling someone their meal of choice was “so gross” would ever occur in the context of an insurance commercial. But these ladies… man, do they make it work! The commercial does have a point, though: services to help you get in shape can be expensive. But I’ll save my rants about personal health for another time.

(As a side note while we’re still on insurance, some of the Pemco Northwest Profiles radio/bus ads crack me up, too.)

Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy
Perhaps surprisingly, his main draw to me is not so much that he’s good-looking as it is that he says such strange things nonchalantly with a voice like freakin’ velvet. I thought I was random, but these commercials take it to a whole new level.

Some honorable mentions are any commercial involving Neil Patrick Harris, Pat Cashman, and pretty much any other actor I happen to like.

Basically, I like commercials that make me laugh. Or, at least, those are the most memorable. They don’t actually get me to buy anything, but they at least make the experience a little more fun, and it does somewhat endear me to them. Better than the enagement ring/baby/boudoir photography ads that so many sites like to give me.

But that’s another topic for another post.