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Can I Say ‘No’ to a Public Marriage Proposal?

Photo: Gluekit

Welcome back to Ask Google, the advice column that solves your emotional problems with the device you use for driving directions and finding pictures of Kate Upton’s nipples. This week: How to stop a public marriage proposal, and a question about sleep.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for five months, and so far things have been great. But I suspected he’s been up to something lately, so I looked at his e-mail when he left it logged in on my laptop, and he’s been talking to my mom and his mom making plans to get both our families together for a PUBLIC MARRIAGE PROPOSAL on my birthday this weekend that ARE NOW SET. Also, he’s had his videographer friend over every other night this week, so I think he may be planning this for YouTube. We’ve only discussed marriage ONCE, and I think I made it pretty clear I’m NOT looking to get married right now. Help?

It is a fact of modern life: The Internet has an insatiable appetite for adorable, tightly orchestrated, well-shot proposal videos. Humanity does not care about your feelings; humanity just needs to see ten seconds of you crying while a chorus of people who attended the Halloween party where you first met serenades you with a song (full of in-jokes your boyfriend wrote himself), and he slides a piece of jewelry onto your phalanges. Are you really such a cruel person that you would deny that simple pleasure to the world’s bored office workers? 


Before we get to that advice, though, there is the eternal question of whether it is ethical to snoop around in your significant other’s in-box. That’s a dilemma to which I could devote a whole column, so to save space, let’s just pick advice at random from the first Google result for “ok to look at boyfriend’s e-mail,” which is, of course, a Yahoo! Answers thread.

“I think that it is ok,” lola writes. “It’s not a trust issue, it’s just curiosity. And since you are not a cat, it won’t kill you.” It is a bit presumptuous to assume you’re not a cat; this is the Internet, after all. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Whether or not lola is right about curiosity, human-to-human relationships, just like cat-to-human relationships, are built on trust. (Number of Google hits for the exact phrase “relationships are built on trust”: 146,000. Number for “relationships are built on curiosity”: 1. Number for “cats are built on trust”: 2.) You need to communicate with your boyfriend, admit what you’ve seen, and express to him your feelings. Maybe e-mail him! He too seems to check his in-box regularly.

As for avoiding embarrassment when you break the news to your respective families? Well, begin to type “blaming things on” into Google, and autocomplete suggests you’re going to type either “blaming things on your dog” or “blaming things on your parents.” I’ve already brought enough pets into this column, so let’s go with the latter. Moms! They’re so overly enthusiastic about us! I’m sure your mother will understand if you tell her you need to blame this on her jumping the gun.

But perhaps you’d consider turning down your guy in public. To be fair, it’s not just happy and twee marriage proposals the Internet loves. Google shows there’s a whole other canon known as “public proposals gone wrong.”

For whatever reason, I seem to injure myself in my sleep a lot. About once a week, I’ll wake up and realize I’ve hurt my neck or have a sore leg, and the pain will often be there most of the day. I’m pretty sure I don’t sleepwalk, and to be honest, I don’t work out that much. Did I just “sleep on it weird,” and is there a way to prevent myself from doing that?

Good Lord, never Google “injuring myself in my sleep.” You could be a lot worse off. There’s the PTSD message board full of people punching themselves and others in their sleep (second result), the teenage girl who had a nightmare about a guy digging his nails into her hands to drag her somewhere and woke up with marks and blood on her hands (seventh result), and the WebMD patient who was staying at a relative’s house and woke up in a guest bed drenched in her own blood after shattering their fishbowl on her arm in her sleep (third result). 

Thankfully, you don’t mention traumatic dreams or drawing blood from yourself or others. There may be no more horrifying sentences in the human language than “PS … I forgot to mention that the beta fish in the bowl was never found. Is it possible that I ate it?”

“Sore sleeping wrong” gives us more practical results for less serious cases such as yours. Try to make sure you at least start off sleeping the right way by falling asleep on your side without “too many pillows” (first result), and don’t leave an air conditioner on or a window open and let your room get too cold when you’re asleep, as some blogger named “Dr. Joe” says this can cause neck muscles to stiffen and cramp up (second result). 

Or, you know, you could just stop sleeping. Duh.

Got a question? Let me Google that for you:

Can I Say ‘No’ to a Public Marriage Proposal?