It was August, and Kat and her boyfriend, Nick, were at an outdoor music festival in San Francisco. They’d been dating for five years and Kat assumed they’d eventually get married, but it wasn’t exactly on her mind as she stood near the stage watching the indie band They Might Be Giants.

Then, three songs in, the lead singer made an announcement: “This next song goes out to Nick—he has a very important question for Kat.” Kat found this strange. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, those are our names. What a weird coincidence!’” But when she turned to say this to Nick, he was on one knee, prying open a ring box. The crowd parted instantly, and Kat saw one girl frantically elbow her friend to alert her to the spectacle unfolding. Then Kat realized with horror that she and Nick were the spectacle. “Get up. Get up,” she pleaded with him then. (“I was actually very embarrassed,” she says now. “I don’t love public attention.”) “Compounding things, I was hungover, I wasn’t dressed cute, I probably didn’t even shower,” she adds. After hurriedly accepting Nick’s proposal, “we had to watch the whole concert,” recalls Kat, “and I kind of just wanted to leave.”

Lucky for Kat, her surprise engagement wasn’t seen by 2.6 million people, which is the number that have so far clicked on the video of nurse Kaitlyn Curran being accosted by her boyfriend and a ring at mile 16 of the 2018 New York City Marathon. (Curran can be seen hugging him and accepting the ring while declining to remove her headphones; dude had already added nearly a minute to her time, after all.) Or by the global TV audience that watched Chinese diver He Zi’s boyfriend awkwardly ambush her on the podium at the 2016 Rio Olympics while she was busy winning a silver medal. (Go ahead, bro, you have the hardware she really wants.)

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No surprise that women are not here for this trend: Only 15 percent actually want a public proposal, according to research by Lisa Hoplock, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the college of nursing at the University of Manitoba. A public proposal is actually almost twice as likely to be rejected than a private one. (And that’s not including women who say yes in the moment only to take it back later, when it’s “less embarrassing” to do so, says Elizabeth Pleck, PhD, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and coauthor of Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding.)

What’s more surprising is that public proposals have lately been met with backlash on the same mediums that encourage our thirst for validation. (“Finally, a woman with the taste not to marry someone who would propose on a jumbotron,” read one tweet after a 2017 proposal at Fenway Park infamously ended with a rejection.) Post #MeToo, asking someone to wife you in front of an audience can seem less romantic than it is tone-deaf, patriarchal, and performative.

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The proposal-by-jumbotron trend took off long before social media existed and persists to this day—at Yankee Stadium, it currently costs $100 to put your beloved’s name in lights, and yours could be 1 of as many as 10 proposals during a single game. But Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have upped the ante, stoking a demand for unique proposals that play well to a virtual crowd of friends, family, and strangers. As the boundaries between public and private continue to evaporate (and since they’ll eventually see it anyway), why not just invite them, amirite?

Michele Velazquez, one-half of The Heart Bandits, a company that offers custom proposal packages that can cost upward of $3,000, says she’s seeing fewer jumbotron requests (bless), but “the new trend is a ‘surprise reveal,’ where the gentleman has a friend or relative bring his partner to the venue and she has no idea he’s there. She experiences the flash mob, and then he appears out of nowhere.” Signs declaring Marry Me are also a thing, she adds: “They’re getting bigger. Most recently, we had a 4-foot neon sign!”

What hasn’t changed is that these proposals are often more about the man than the woman. “Sometimes it’s coming from a place of insecurity, sometimes from pride, and sometimes it’s just truly someone who is not getting it,” says Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (and That’s a Good Thing). Social media has turned everything about weddings into a competition, which encourages guys to focus on the wrong things. “If they have friends who do this and share it, then they feel the pressure to compete and to one-up them,” says Pleck. (The average proposal now takes 4.4 months to plan, according to The Knot’s study.) The culture is also egging them on. “Maybe these men are trying to have a movie moment,” says Syrtash. “But there’s an element of puffing out your chest and showing off that you’re doing this elaborate thing.”

Unfortunately, “the frustration for the person on the receiving end is often that if the proposer knew her, he’d know that this was not something she’d want,” adds Syrtash. Indeed, “one of the reasons you marry somebody is because they get you like nobody else,” adds Tara Fields, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Which is why a proposal misfire can portend much bigger problems, with either the guy or the relationship. “It’s not just, I wish you hadn’t done that,” says Fields, “it’s, He doesn’t listen, he doesn’t get me.”

In any elaborate and stunt-ish public proposal, “there is guilt and bullying attached,” says Lisa Brateman, PhD, a psychotherapist and relationship specialist in New York City who has helped several clients rethink their desire to pop the Q in public. Hoplock says that in her study, “some men proposed in public to try to save the relationship” or because a private proposal hadn’t yielded the desired answer.

“It’s a way of putting on the pressure,” explains Brateman. “How could she turn you down with all those people there?” What woman wants to be the one to tell the world that love is dead...or at least more complicated than a yes or no?

It’s worth pointing out that some women do want their big moment on YouTube. Which is why couples should talk about their engagement just like they now talk about (and shop for) rings. “The etiquette should be that it’s okay to do it only if you check with her first,” says Pleck.

And if you’ve already dealt with a public proposal, that doesn’t mean your love is doomed (Kat and Nick, for example, are now married and joke about their engagement). “If you believe that your partner was truly well-intentioned, it’s something you can repair,” says Fields. “But if it totally turns you off, and you think, That’s so him, he’s so egotistical, he’s so unthoughtful, then ask yourself...do you really want to be with that person?”

It’s also true that women could help usher this trend out by doing more of the proposing themselves. And we could all put less focus on retro heterosexual marriage rituals as #Goals. Some men believe a big proposal shows “absolute dedication,” says Brateman. “But absolute dedication is getting married, it’s not how you ask.”

Illustrator: Lindsey Balbierz; Mental Canvas Designer: Sydney Shea; Created with Mental Canvas