(Overly) Great Expectations

The world of YouTube can be full of feel-bad things, but recently I’ve seen a trend toward a greater amount of feel-good videos on the web. One variety that seems to be particularly popular is the proposal video.

Forget the proposal over dinner or at a basketball game. Men across the world are stepping up their game and uploading their displays of affection to the web.

I personally love these. A true romantic, I get choked up at every one. As my friends and I fawn over choreographed lip dubs, heartwarming monologues, and various other varieties of “aww,” I can’t help but wonder what implications this flurry of web adorability holds for men.

While these displays are absolutely adorable, they certainly aren’t typical of every man. By making these over-the-top proposals and other love declarations visible to every woman in America, I wonder if we are subconsciously (and unfairly) setting the bar much too high for the men we encounter.

In psychology, there’s something called the availability heuristic. The availability heuristic is humans’ tendency to judge frequency of an event based on how many examples we can think of. For example, plane crashes are far less common than car crashes, yet because we can think of more specific examples of plane crashes, we tend to be more fearful in a plane than in a car.

I worry that this may come into play in our romantic lives as the Internet becomes a huge part of how we experience the world. The availability heuristic may lead women to come to conclusions like “I saw ten crazy extravagant proposals on YouTube. Everyone’s doing it.”

I don’t think this happens just with YouTube videos, though. Facebook pictures of adorable couples, “screenshots” of heart-melting conversations between lovers (I doubt the validity of some), and statuses and tweets about cute gestures by men plague the Internet.

The danger in this is that women soon are displeased with the average. Not every man is creative and intense enough to design a lip dub to your favorite song, but that doesn’t mean he cares less about you than does the YouTube dude about his girlfriend.

While the Internet can provide us with hours of “aww,” I think it’s important we give men a little leeway. Expecting every man to be the Internet ideal is like him expecting you to have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model. Maybe you do, and I admire you for that, but most of us are just doing the best we can.

In the age of the “biggest” and “best,” it’s refreshing and necessary to appreciate the little things. Especially in a long relationship, there’s only so many times one can do something big and extravagant. It’s the little things that keep us happy and remind us we are loved.

Or at least they should.

Any thoughts on this? Men, do you feel pressured to live up to what’s seen online? Comment below.

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2 thoughts on “(Overly) Great Expectations

  1. Somewhat unrelated, but another good source a for feel-good youtube experience is Soul Pancake. It’s about normal everyday people and celebrities alike and about their perceptions on life and things that make them happy. They are always doing social experiments too! I never finish a video unsatisfied. Check it out!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/soulpancake

    Like

  2. Not every “good man” has the ability to one up someone, therefore simple and heartfelt is always a good sign of not faking it to impress! Getting married in a park just because you are crazy about someone can last for years, trust me on this one guys!

    Like

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