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Five of the worst public marriage proposals

28 February 2012

When we were on holiday in Australia, my boyfriend thought up an elaborate ruse to get me to a romantic clifftop location. All of a sudden I felt a tug at my sleeve, looked around and discovered him on one knee. I was extremely hungover and on 10-second delay, so I had no idea why he was down there. He looked a bit pale and shaky so I assumed his own hangover was kicking in - until he pulled out a little white box.

I'm not going to tell you what he said because it was lovely and I want to keep it for myself. Our audience consisted of a few squawking seagulls; our 'special moment' wasn't shared by anyone else. Which, had I chosen for myself, is the way I'd have done it.

There are some who think very differently. They say 'Pah!' to privacy. They want a vast audience for their life-changing moment - they want to shout their love from the rooftops and do snogging-with-tongues in public. But these people obviously haven't thought things through to the answer stage. Because what if you've badly misjudged your paramour? What if he or she says ... no?

If you're contemplating proposing in public this year, you really should watch these videos first ...

1. The food court fail

It didn't take long to find a prime example of a poorly thought-out proposal. I mean, even being "dizzy with love" is no excuse for believing that a shopping centre food court is an appropriate location. Her cringing body language and the hands covering her ears should have given Romeo the hint to stop talking before the guy with the guitar turned up and drew even more attention to this extremely awkward situation. In the final analysis, there was only one possible outcome ... RUN, CAROLINE. RUN!

2. No escape on Delta Airlines

She says yes in this one (perhaps because there's no escape when you're 60,000 feet in the air), but there's something weird about proposing over a tannoy system and shoehorning two Delta Airlines mentions in. Especially "Delta Airlines brought us back together." I was waiting for an air stewardess-led flashmob to break into a safety briefing-inspired dance while the happy couple gazed adoringly at each other under the Delta logo.

3. Dancer steals the show

Speaking of flashmobs, I started out hating this one, mostly because of the intermittent flashing of the malfunctioning Wimpy sign, but then I caught sight of the guy in a grey T-shirt and blue jeans. His snake hips changed my mind. Watch him. For 1.55 minutes, he is MC Hammer. I suggest you turn off at this point, as the actual proposal doesn't compare.

4. Comfort from a giant mouse

I can't work out if this one is a setup. The woman's reaction is so badly acted that it COULD be real. But the best thing about this video is the luckless wannabe husband finding comfort in the arms of someone dressed as a giant fluffy mouse. Oh, and the commentator saying at the end, "This is where amazing happens." It sure is.

5. Sponsored by Disney

Disneyland - a place where dreams come true, and, for this couple, the exact spot where they met one year before. We know this because Romeo is shouting it through a fake megaphone meant for a child. He sounds like Will Ferrell. Then the musical theatre starts. It makes my ears vomit - if this man was auditioning to be my husband, he definitely wouldn't get the part. Watch it if you can bear to, but the highlight is at 0:33 when another couple roll up to share the limelight ...

Share your horror stories of cringe-inducing proposals gone wrong in the comments below.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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