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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Instant gratification is not a right

My cousin and his wife just welcomed their first child into the world today. Or maybe late last night–I don’t know for sure.

I know this only because I saw my cousin’s sister (also my cousin, but I figured I’d clarify) posted on Facebook about meeting the little one for the first time and never having seen a baby under a day old.

2 of the 3 comments that quickly followed demanded pictures. Like, now.

I, too, am curious to see what this little bundle of joy looks like. But really, I don’t expect pictures first thing. First thing is making sure mom and baby (and dad and possibly siblings) are doing okay. Second thing is saying congrats. (Okay, those first two are more or less interchangeable if one is posting on social media.) Third is understanding that new parents, especially first-time ones, might not be having an easy time.

As of posting, the baby is less than 48 hours old. My cousin and his wife are still probably tired and trying to adjust to there suddenly being three where there was once two. Maybe something minor has happened. (I doubt my cousin’s sister would have posted if something majorly bad had gone down.) Maybe they forgot their camera. Maybe their phones died (or don’t take pictures–such phones still do exist). Maybe they just, oh, I dunno… WANT SOME BLESSED PRIVACY.

Whatever their reasons, I am fully willing to be patient. I’m just happy the baby is out and about in this big, crazy world. I don’t expect pictures first thing, and I more or less grew up in an age where “pix now!” (with some sort of “please” tacked on if you’re lucky) has become the norm. And honestly, I’ve seen pictures of very newborn babies. In my opinion, they’re generally not all that cute; not in a typical way, at least. It’s more the miracle of the thing, I guess, that makes me want to see. (That, and, in this case, I don’t see these cousins all that often.)

The point is, this is about the newly-expanded family, and what they’re happy and comfortable with; not about pictures. Those pictures, if and when they come, are a privilege, not a right. But, like a lot of privileges technology presents us with, it is taken for granted as a right, and I’m not okay with that. (I also protest some… AT&T commercial, I think, that has the narrator say “I have the need–no, I have the right to be unlimited.” My response to both cases? No you bloody well do not. Learn to get by the way your cave-dwelling ancestors did for a bit and go learn to fish or something.)

Whatever the reason that pictures haven’t been posted yet, this new family, just like everyone else, deserves my respect for their privacy and their shifting responsibilities. And their sleep and sanity. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but my family’s well-being is worth more to me than a thousand pictures.