Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Proposals, Grand Gestures, and Why They Don’t Make Everything Better

Joe-Budden-and-TahiryRecently in Negronia aka The Land of Monday Nights on VH1, Love & Hip-Hop: New York star rapper Joe Budden proposed to longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend Tahiry Jose in a rip off of Common’s “Come Close” video sans the deaf chick, Mary J. Blige, or a knit hat.

Joey had Tahiry meet him in Times Square where he paid off somebody to run a video of him and other people holding up signs with various statements about love and companionship, etc. At the end, Joey stands there with a sign indicating that he has a question which is, *drumroll please* “will you marry me? This is where sh*t got real. See, as a man, what you don’t want to happen is the woman to hem and haw and tell you to stand up. Public proposals gone wrong have informed us over time that this is the opposite of what you want to happen. She told Joe that she didn’t want to marry him like this because just a few weeks ago he was f*cking up like only Joe can and then all of a sudden he’s trying to marry her because he decided that this is what he wants now and she should realize that he’s a changed man because of this grand sweeping ass gesture.

As opposed to saying “uh huh honey” she was like, “nuh uh girlfriend.” Insert your own flamboyance.

In the moment while livetweeting this travashamockery of a proposal (it did seem a bit staged) I stated this:

I’m going to attempt to place myself in the high-heels, flats, and boots of women everywhere because I completely understand this. In the minds of many men, we think that what all women want is the ring. And not just the ring, but what we feel like it should symbolize. She complains all the time and tries to front me off on all this stuff but she just wants that ring. Yoncé got her out here thinking I don’t really like it because I never put a ring on it. No matter how much I f*ck up or how much I don’t listen, the ring will wash away all that negativity and she’ll understand that I love her and shut the f*ck up with the complaints and the trust issues and all that. [There is a small percentage of women who want the ring bad enough where they think this will actually make things better.]

This is asinine and wrong. I’m a man so I’m about to tell on myself a bit (okay, a lot) here. Allow me quote another individual that isn’t myself:

“I’m a guy. Since when do we get anything right the first time?” – Alex Hitchins , Hitch

I feel like the biggest want from any woman towards her man is effort. Pure, simple effort. Sometimes this takes us a while to get right. But there are those of us who almost never do. But effort.

So what you bombed on a date; did you really try to make her feel special? Did you attempt to show her that you cared enough to think about what she may want to do? Did you plan? All women (yes, ALL) will cut you slack as long as they know you gave it a real shot. Did you say you were going to stop f*cking up? Well, what did you do to show her you meant it and weren’t just handing her wooden nickels? Did you do anything differently? If not, then you put forth no effort. And anybody paying attention will notice. And do you know whose paying attention? Do you? Do you? Why am I asking so many questions? And asking questions twice? And asking questions twice?

Women. The woman who asked you to show and prove is paying attention. That hurts more than the ACTUAL f*ck up that takes place. The lack of consideration and effort to be who you claim you are is what annoys women. This is why grand sweeping gestures fall upon deaf ears. For one, history teaches us than when folks do something huge and outside of the norm they’ve usually done something wrong.

Or b) just don’t get it.

If you’ve said you would do something and haven’t made any changes, proposing isn’t going to get you to that promised land my n*gga. Hell, it begs the question, what do YOU think is the promised land? I can’t even blame a woman for asking a man why he would want to marry her considering recent actions that indicate otherwise. Joe talks a good game. But it’s also his profession. Despite his lack of significant fame he is actually one of the better wordsmiths in the hip-hop game. You can disagree. You will be wrong. Fight me. But talking a good game for nine years becomes transparent. A woman knows what to look for and she probably knows what “giving a f*ck” looks like on your part.

So, what’s going to be different aside from the title? “Wise man once say marriage don’t fix problem. Marriage highlight more problem.” Wise man English no so good.

So while she has all of this going through her head while you’re on bended knee a solid two weeks out of f*cking up major – and yes we major, for real homey, we major – she is thinking about the fact that, this fool thinks that proposing is what I really want.

Newsflash: She doesn’t want to get married. She wants to stay married.

Well she wants to get married too. Let me not even pretend that’s not the case. But when you’ve been through as much sh*t as they have, you actually know what you’re getting in the status quo. And maybe that staus quo isn’t enough. Sure the ring is great, but what comes with that ring? If you’re a man who is constantly f*cking up, what is she really winning aside from a ring?

And while I’m focused on the ring because of the episode that spawned the discussion, the fact is a sweeping gesture is just that. It’s a grand show in the moment. But what happens in the next moments?

I’m aware that all of us menfolks don’t think that making one grand gesture will make up fro all the stuff we don’t do. I’m also aware that you all are aware that most of us are aware that any number of us do exactly what Joe did: come to the realization that he wanted to be with her and figured the best way to show was to propose, never mind the past. To be fair, MANY people – both men and women – wish that their pasts could be stricken from the record, even amidst the situation they’re in. It takes a lot to give somebody a blank slate.

Point is, and this is getting long, and yes, that is what she said, a grand gesture does not a problem fix. It’s a start…but you should never start with a marriage proposal.

Not for nothing, I’ll be surprised if Joe ever proposes again. In a wicked twist of fate and irony, rejecting a wedding proposal that is serious usually deads the relationship. Oh love, you are a wretched unicorn. But it is pretty serious to say that you don’t want to spend your  life with somebody that you do love.

Ladies, am I on message here? Fellas, am I missing something? What’s the verdict on grand gestures?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. YOU DONT WANT TO MARRY ME COOL I’M JUST GONNA CHILL OVER HERE AND EAT RAVIOLI aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • iamnotakata

    I think you hit the nail on the head!!! Good post I co-sign!

    • panamajackson

      Why thank you!

  • TheOtherJerome

    Not sure why you would propose unless you were sure the answer would be yes :-/ He pops the question three years ago, he’s in there like swimwear. Grand gesture or not.

    As for the question at hand: Grand gestures only work to solidify your position. They can’t totally change your status with a significant other. That status is created by the little things… the steady daily interactions….the surprise coffee when i pick you up to run some routine errands because i know you like lattes…… the trust you’ve built up over time.

    Then, the grand gesture becomes more about GIVING something then GETTING something.

    • Msdebbs

      “the trust you’ve built up over time”

      Yassssss! That’s where Joe messed up there is no trust and no way he could get it back after a few weeks.

    • panamajackson

      I agree. The scene and its aftermath were one of the few times on Ratchetvision where I felt like somebody showed some real thought (Tahiry) and not just being dumb for the sake of it, for the very things you mentioned.

    • JayIzUrGod

      All true but for many, gestures are a mask. They don’t really reveal the true feelings or intentions of a person, they just honor the role this person believes they are to play. This is why so many people believe marriage or kods solve everything

  • ratchet dialogue

    I have only ONE question. Is her booray real?

    • kidvideo

      It’s real…Mouse used to has have his own web show(JoeBuddenTV) years ago and Tarihy butt always poked out.

    • panamajackson

      Indeed it is. It makes us all happy.

    • Kema

      Her measurements (34-27-43) are not that out there.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        She just knows how to move it. She was smart to be a model, because she has that natural ability.

        • ratchet dialogue

          wait, she is/was a model? On instagram or king magazine?

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            lol at on instagram

          • Shamira

            shes done a few King magazine spreads, but last season she was still waitressing on Dyckman sooooo I don’t know if you can call yourself a model if you still cash out your tips at La Marina at the end of the day

            • ratchet dialogue

              waiiiiiit a minute, soo King’s magazine, pays minimum wage, and you out here calling yourself a model? Nah son, this girl needs a sponsor, Joe Budden ain’t doing shid. Listen, if I’m dating a rapper or one of these wretched fellows, it will be both personal and business. Leverage their ‘paid positions’ to get you out of waitressing. Shiiid, upgrade to hostessing at one of these fancy places, at least.

    • ratchet dialogue

      Thank you all for confirming this. Yap, he better put a ring on that. THAT alone is sufficient enough. What a blessing!

  • Wave Cap Willis

    Glad to be here! Thanks to those who have welcomed me back to this corner of the Intertubes!

    I missed the proposal itself but saw Joe Budden talk about the response with his mom. It was great to see her suggest that Tahiry is the immature one in the situation. It looks like a case of one of two things (or both): 1) She would rather take her son’s side than speak some harsh truth 2) She wanted to use some sour grapes thinking to make him feel good about the end of the relationship that’s likely coming soon (to a TV near you!). And sometimes you need to have a sour grapes mindset about the person with whom you’re breaking up, right? “Forget her/him… I was getting a raw deal anyway!” The big caveat is that you don’t put that energy into a rabid rap… Uh oh. My Willis sense is tingling!

    • panamajackson

      I’m all for sourgrapes after a breakup in support of the homey…UNLESS…he’s clearly the one who f*cked up (or I am, you get the point). I’ll have your back but the truth shall set you free.

      • PhlyyPhree

        “I’ll have your back but the truth shall set you free.”

        I always wondered if Joe and his mom were West Indian or something. Those the only folks I know who will take that ‘Family ride or dies with each other’ and literally DIE with their family when their family is in the wrong.

        • panamajackson

          I have family like that. And I’m definitely not West Indian.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Really??
            Like….For real?
            I’m not saying be down with your family and support them, but still tell them the truth. I’m talking Slim Charles, “If it’s a lie, we fight on that lie” type support. Mama Budden KNOWS her son ain’t spit and is still blaming Tahiry. Sour grapes, understandable, but this sounds like something she really believes and as a woman, I’m wondering how you can expect another woman to be mistreated EVEN if it is your son.

            • panamajackson

              I’ve definitely got a cousin who is all about the family first above all else life. Like, I’ll shoot the n*gga for living and saying your name even if its your fault. And I’m not joking.

      • afronica

        You are making too much grown man sense today. *tambourine shake*

  • Msdebbs

    I had a guy do something similar after years of fcking up like Joe…the marriage proposal via text message only put the nail in the coffin…..you didn’t care then so why should I care now??

    • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

      By text? Even if dude did everything else right, that’s a reach.

      • ratchet dialogue

        heYYY my Scorpio brethren!! :))

        • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

          Hey there Queen with sting ;)

      • panamajackson

        Right.

    • IcePrincess

      Dang girl. A text? I’m so sorry.

      • afronica

        Yes. I apologize on behalf of that @rsehole.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      Did he have the emoji ring ????or nah

    • Secret Sauce

      Bears QB Jay Cutler proposed by text…and it worked.

      • Kozy

        He’s also Jay Cutler…. so there’s that.

        • http://tripsixes.com/ Trip

          Now Cutler could have been on the road and very busy trying to be the best Jay he could be, but he also had the resources to “throw a better pass” if he wanted to. He STILL opted to throw into triple coverage with that text and got lucky.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            its funny because its accurate…unlike some of his throws.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Kelly Rowland got proposed to via Skype :-)

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

        game done changed…ima propose via trending topic, i mean if it trends worldwide she gotta say yes if not millions of women now no im sweet and heartbroken

        • PhlyyPhree

          I can’t…I wanted to like this, but I couldn’t.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

            #newrules

        • http://vagabondaesthetics.tumblr.com/ Ricky

          It’s certainly clever.

        • Rachmo

          I cracked up

      • panamajackson

        I mean, Skype is what you use when you can’t be there physically..but at least its face to face. A text proposal is so impersonal.

  • IcePrincess

    I mean, I’m torn on this one. It could go either way. Pros: Big rock, more checks via spin-off wedding show, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. Cons: marrying a lying cheater, make-up on pillowcases (gross btw), Jean vests on men.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      So basically, the pros are an ability to milk the dude for money. LOL

      • IcePrincess

        Damn right. If he breaks your heart, hit dem pockets!

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Maybe she should have her lawyer draw up an airtight prenuptial agreement?

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Not even. If the distrust is that tight, walk the f*ck away. It’ll be better for all involved.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      Lol jean vests

    • panamajackson

      I’m mad jean vests are a con. I mean…I threw mine out and all. I’m just saying. It hurts is all.

  • Kim

    I just love this post! amen!

    • panamajackson

      It’s a bunch of bad b….never mind. Thanks!

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    Yeah, you nailed it. No relationship is built on grand gestures like that. Granted, I think the Times Square part was played up for #justentertainment, but I’ve seen this happen before. So not good.

    Here’s my thinking. Relationships are built on those little interactions that you have day by day, week by week that either draw you together or push you apart. That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the grand gesture, period. Yes, you do special things for the couple, or even because you feel like it, but you don’t try to draw out emotion like that.

    On the flip side, I’ve received the Grand Gesture before, and it makes me feel straight disrespected, like somehow One Thing is going to make up for what’s been a long string of screw ups. I’d respect trying to Do Better than being treated like my emotions are some sort of push-button device.

    • panamajackson

      That Times Square sh*t seemed SO ridiculously staged. Even she seemed like she was just waiting for it to get to the end so she could continue on with her script.

  • Tentpole

    Grand gestures work when you already know the answer is YES.. You just trying to create a memorable moment. Unless someone is desperate on truly hard-up, you can be a fck up most of the time and then do a grand gesture and think you will get a happy ending. There is stupid in the world, but not that stupid.

  • Andrea

    This reminds me of what the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ guy says: “Women use a points system that few men are aware of, where each
    individual act of love gets one point, regardless of magnitude; men, on
    the other hand, assign small acts fewer points, with larger blocks of
    points (20, 30, 40 points, etc.) going to what they think are big ones.
    That can lead to conflict, when the man thinks his work has earned him,
    say, 20 points and deserves corresponding recognition, while the woman
    has assigned him only 1 point and recognizes him accordingly. The man
    tends to think he can do one Big Thing for her (scoring 50 points) and
    not do much else, assuming the woman will be satisfied with that, and
    she will give him kudos. Instead, the woman would rather have many
    little things done for her on a regular basis, because women like to
    think their men are thinking of them and care for them more constantly.”
    I am curious how grand gestures work with men? And if as a woman you should even try to be doing a “Big Thing”.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      You have a point, but it goes both ways. A dude will give a woman a lot of credit for a big thing, while ignoring the little things that tick him off. That’s how a dude will dump a woman for something dramatic, even if she was holding it down otherwise. If you do all those little things, but blow those 2 or 3 big things, a woman may never do enough to make it up.

    • 321mena123

      Only lazy, inconsiderate, and selfish people would think that doing one big thing every once in a while should score you more points than doing small things consistently. That is selfish at its core and i would wager that they would not appreciate the same in return.

      Some people want to do the absolute least and expect the most in return.

    • SuperStrings

      This is true. I can usually let the little things ride, but a big thing will have me throwing up the deuces, depending on where the relationship is and the time invested.

    • panamajackson

      I look at it like this (because you mentioned points): Sometimes the 3-pointer from halfcourt is spectacular, but meaningless. But then there are those times when you and the teammates have done everything you can win the game and you’re right there and by some miracle you launch and win the game with the half-court 3. Same three points, but it matters because of all the work you did to get to the point where that sh*t would let you win the game.

      That worked better in my head. But I’m not going to delete it.