The movies teach us a lot of unrealistic lessons about love and relationships, but I would argue that one of the most damaging involves big, huge, romantic gestures. Why? Because in real life, grand, romantic gestures almost always backfire. Sure, every so often we hear about impeccably executed flash mobs and adorable public proposals… but more often than note, those flash mobs and public proposals end up resulting in hugely embarrassing failures, many of which eventually find their way to YouTube, ensuring that we will never, ever forget that they happened. Just like a diamond, the Internet is definitely forever.
These sorts of failed romantic gestures are the subject of today's AskReddit thread. Posted by Redditor WillRhodey, it asks the denizens of the Q&A subreddit, “People who have made large romantic gestures in public and gotten rejected, what was it like?” The results are predictably cringeworthy — but they're also somewhat useful. Interestingly, most of them — not all of them, but most of them — seem to have occurred when the storytellers were in high school. I'm not totally sure what the larger implications of that trend might be, but I'm going to choose to look at it as a positive thing. I mean, think about it: If we try these big romantic gestures as teens, have them blow up in our faces, and then never hear of them again… that seems like a pretty good indication that we learn from our mistakes.
Even if that's not the case, though, we can take a number of valuable lessons away from these stories—both from those who planned and executed them, and from those who were on the receiving end.
1. The Butt of the Joke
Awww. Yeah, that's no good. That girl's brother is a jerk.
2. Build-a-Bear, Smuild-a-Bear
No one can turn something slightly awkward into the embarrassing situation ever quite the same way a small child can.
3. Very Punny
Aaaaaaand that's how you make a high school student run to the bathroom and spend the rest of the day hiding in the stall on the far end.
4. Note-Passing No-No
I think we all have a story like this lurking in the most awkward moments of our middle school years, don't we? At least we can all commiserate together.
5. Mall Ratz
There are two lessons to learn from this one: One, don't propose without talking about whether you're both ready for marriage first; and two, if your proposal backfires, then just shrug it off and move on.
6. Strike Out
This? This is why I do not understand promposals. Is simple, “Hey, you want to go to prom with me?” not enough?
I mean, OK, maybe the company holiday party wasn't the best time to deliver the gift… but that's also exactly how you don't respond to something like that. I hope everyone learned from the experience.
8. Questionable Signage
Not going to lie: Part of me thinks that maybe the reason she so studiously avoided looking at the signs was because they were arranged in the wrong order. “OUT WITH ME? WILL YOU ASHLEY GO” just doesn't have quite the same ring as “ASHLEY WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME?”
9. Trouble in Paradise
Again, I cannot stress this enough: If you think you're getting to the point where marriage is in the cards, for the love of all that is holy, talk about it with each other. Communication is key — make sure you're both on the same page before popping the question.
10. This One Isn't a Grand Romantic Gesture, But…
...To be honest, he sounds like an asshole. He could have just said, “Honey, I think you've had a little too much, let's go home,” brought josiahpapaya home, and not, y'know, mocked him or her so mean-spiritedly about it. Obviously it's your life, josiahpapaya... but he sounds like not a nice person and maybe not worth yolking yourself to for all eternity. Just sayin'.
Images: jchapiewski/Flickr; Giphy (4)