Last Friday, a Canadian man live-tweeted his proposal of marriage to his girlfriend. The story went slightly viral as it unfolded—more than 700 response tweets came in bearing the hashtag #MikeProposes over the course of Mike Duerksen's 12 hour tweet session—and has since exploded in a major way as the Internet has, in typical self-fellating fashion, clamored to read more stories about itself.
Duerksen works in nonprofit public relations. He met his girlfriend, a Pennsylvania native, at a Mennonite World Conference held in Paraguay in 2009.
Late last Thursday, he announced on his Twitter page a plan to take his girlfriend, whom he identified only as "J," on eight separate dates to eight different locations, each of which bore a special significance to the couple. He also announced he would be live-tweeting the event.
The next day, Duerksen took J on a picnic. He took her to a pond. He took her out for coffee.
At each location, he gave her a card containing "a picture, a memory, and a wish for the future."
NOTE: It's important to remember that this proposal happened on Friday, two days before the premiere episode of Girls made us realize that the last thing we want is a thoughtful partner who does cute things for us. It was a simpler time. It was a time when sweetness was not yet considered a crippling handicap.
True to his word, Duerksen shot a constant stream of tweets into the ether as the day unfolded.
The Internet, sensing something related to the Internet was happening, loved it.
The Internet offered generic support.
The Internet tried to tell Ellen about it.
The Internet made clever puns. (This lady nailed it. #classic)
Or, anyway, most of the Internet loved it.
One person who was less enthusiastic during the process: the girlfriend in question. This was one of Duerksen's first #MikeProposes tweets:
Duerksen's fiancée doesn't use Twitter. She also purposefully left her phone at home the day of the dates, meaning she probably spent a lot of time pretending to look around the room as Duerksen typed up, clickety-clack, all the details of his decidely immodest proposal to an audience of mostly strangers.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect of the story is that Duerksen didn't confine his tweeting to simple #MikeProposes updates.
He also took time out to retweet other people's tweets about how his tweeting twitter hashtag tweet buzzword internet hashtag RT story was becoming #internetfamous.
He left a voicemail for the Winnipeg Sun newspaper detailing his proposal plans while on an alleged "bathroom break."
He did this while on a date with his phoneless girlfriend.
In the end, it all worked out. "J" had told him beforehand she would prefer, if ever he did propose, he donate to a charity rather than buy her a ring. Duerksen did both. He proposed to her in front of a bonfire. She accepted.
The Internet was very happy.
It's hard to hate on the couple involved. They seem across-the-board sweet (though Duerksen did get a little snippy with a marketing software firm a couple days before his proposal. #internetfight).
But doesn't something about the whole process leave a bad taste in your mouth? Like Duerksen, and everyone who has @replied to commend him on his gentlemanly endeavor, are conflating romance with publicity?
Duerksen said he live-tweeted the proposal as a way to share the event with friends and, sure, that's cute.
But wouldn't it have been, perhaps, more romantic for the friends (and jewelry store and Winnipeg Sun, if they really had to know) to hear about it after the fact, so that he could focus all his attention on his bride-to-be rather than dividing it between her and a giant assortment of Internet strangers? (Mazel tov, by the way, Mike and "J.")
And, for what it's worth, this would have been me, in "J"'s place: "Yo, who are you texting? Who are you texting? If you're not texting anyone, let me see your phone. Why can't I see your phone? Are you texting Lauren? Who are you texting?"
[Image via Instagram]