TIME relationships

Here’s What The Millionaire Matchmaker Thinks About 7 Viral Proposals

Patti Stanger judges 7 viral engagements for National Proposal Day

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For those who narrowly escaped the crushing romantic pressure that Valentine’s Day puts on relationships, the worst is still to come. March 20 marks not only the first day of Spring, but also National Proposal Day, which, yes, is a real thing.

Of course, on the Internet, it always feels like it’s National Proposal Day. There’s a new viral engagement video almost every week — and whether it involve flashmobs of professional Broadway dancers or flashmobs of pugs, each new one seems to top the last.

“If you’re a private person, then it’s going to scare the crap out of you,” says relationship guru Patti Stanger, star of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. “But if you’re a person who’s over the top, then go for it.”

It’s best to know if your intended public proposal is “adorable” or “ew” before you pop the question. So TIME had Stanger judge seven different types, although she doesn’t think a viral proposal is necessary.

The Millionaire Matchmaker airs Sunday on BRAVO at 9/8c.

  • Pug on Pugs on Pugs

    Proposal: A man enlisted the help of 16 pugs, donning heart-shaped balloons, to propose to his dog-loving girlfriend in late 2013.

    Stanger: “As long as PETA was OK with it, I’m OK with it. It was a cute proposal, but should he have given her a pug? That would have made sense. It should have been all the pugs in a row and the last one’s yours. Maybe that one says, ‘Will you marry me?’ Maybe it should have been holding the ring.”

  • 99 Too Many iPhone 6s

    Proposal: A man in China reportedly spent 2 years of savings on 99 iPhones 6s, costing an estimated $85k. He then arranged them into a heart and publicly proposed to his girlfriend on China’s National Singles Day. (She reportedly said no.)

    Stanger: “This is stupid. That’s 85 grand you should have put into the ring.”

  • The Home Depot Dance Flashmob

    Proposal: A man unsuspectingly went to Home Depot with his roommate and was surprised when his boyfriend (and friends and family) did a choreographed dance to Betty Who’s Somebody Loves You before proposing.

    Stanger: “I don’t know… It was kind of cute, but I’ve seen this kind of proposal before. It’s not an original idea. I also thought it was creepy that the family was involved with that, it was overwhelming and a little over the top. I think proposals should maybe be a little more personal.”

     

  • Photo Booth

    Proposal: A guy took his high school sweetheart into a photo booth to pop the question in between pictures.

    Stanger: “Boring. That seemed, to me, very high school.”

  • The Jumbotron and Gender Norms

    Proposal: Last year, a Maryland woman took her boyfriend to a Miami Heat game and proposed to him on the Jumbotron. “I thought this would make me the best wife-to-be ever to do it in front of his favorite team,” she told a local FOX affiliate. He said yes, and that he would have proposed “eventually.”

    Stanger: “Ew. Yuck. Creepy.” On top of thinking that Jumbotron proposals are overdone in general, Stanger had a big problem with the woman proposing to her boyfriend — rather than the other way around. “That was like, OK listen, I know the only way to get your attention is at the Miami Heat game, so here’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to put it on the screen? What if he said no? Men are used to rejection; women are not. She will always have the pants on in the relationship… Lesbians can propose, straight girls cannot.”

  • The Year-Long Secret

    Proposal: A man “secretly” proposed to his girlfriend every day for a year by writing different variations of “will you marry me” on a whiteboard when she was distracted doing everyday tasks like brushing her teeth or folding laundry. He videotaped his effort and showed her the video in Aruba, where he actually proposed.

    Stanger: “Also a little creepy. After a while it’s going to get older than old, baby.” Does she think the woman would have rather had her now-fiance just propose a year ago, when he was ready? “Um, yeah no sh**.”

  • A Little Help From My (Celebrity) Friends

    Proposal: In the above video, a man recorded eight different celebrities (including John Stamos) convincing his girlfriend to marry him. Other people have proposed via the Old Spice Man and Mariah Carey.

    Stanger: “This is my favorite. I love it. I get calls about this all the time, too. Find your favorite celebrity that she loves and you surprise her with that. That’s adorable.”

    Stanger Sidenote: “John Stamos was really cute in that. I was just thinking about how single he is and how I need to fix him up.”

     

TIME marketing

Next Time You Swipe Right, It Could Be a Marketing Stunt

Tinder users at SXSW duped by marketing stunt for movie

All’s fair in love and marketing: a movie debuting at SXSW in Austin used the dating app Tinder as a marketing tool over the weekend, and some users were accidentally catfished.

According to Adweek, Tinder users have been falling for another user called “Ava.” The only problem? “Ava” is actually a fake account to promote Ex Machina, a movie about robots debuting at SXSW last weekend.

“Ava” told one would-be-Tinder-hookup to check out her Instagram, which was packed with promotional materials for Ex Machina. And her photo is actually of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who plays a bot in the movie.

So think before you swipe: you could be flirting with an ad.

[Adweek]

TIME mating

Why Women Like War Heroes More than Any Other Kind of Guy

A stock image of a man in a military uniform lifting up a woman
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And why men don't find brave women attractive

In a study that could explain so much about the Brian Williams thing, it has been found that women are more sexually attracted to men who have been deemed heroic during conflict than men who have merely served in the armed forces. And—sorry, humanitarians—men who were deemed heroic during a non-war-related crisis didn’t have nearly the same game.

Meanwhile, women who were considered heroic for any reason were found to be less attractive to men than regular women. (You read that right. Less attractive.)

The findings are the result of three studies done by researchers in England and the Netherlands. First, the researchers established from archives that World War II veterans who were Medal of Honor winners had more kids on average (3.18) than other returned servicemen (2.72).

The number of offspring is not completely correlated with the frequency of springing into bed, however. So the researchers asked 92 female British students to rate how attracted they were to various profiles and the war hero came out as the No. 1 most dateworthy type. Military service was attractive to women generally, but interestingly, if the guy had no war honors, whether he had served overseas or never left home base made no difference to his magnetism. In other words, men who see more action don’t necessarily see more action.

In the third study, 159 women and 181 men studying in Holland were given various profiles to rate and again the decorated war veteran was the female favorite. Soldiers who had been honored for their work in disaster zones or humanitarian crises got no spike in interest. And, depressingly, guys were less interested in women who had done something amazingly brave than women who hadn’t, even though the participants in the study were the supposedly gender equal Dutch.

The researchers were looking at the impact of medals not to enhance the dating resumes of veterans, but to examine the effect of conflict and bravery on evolution. (Those who attract the most mating partners have the highest chance of passing on their genes.)

So why are women drawn to guys who are demonstrably willing to engage in life threatening behavior? Because they’ve proved their genetic hardiness, suggest the researchers.

“Raids, battles, and ambushes in ancestral environments, and wars in modern environments, may provide an arena for men to signal their physical and psychological strengths,” says Joost Leunissen, a psychologist at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study. The thinking is that those who have the clarity of thought to try something life-saving and the physical prowess to pull it off must be built to survive, and are therefore a good evolutionary bet.

Leunissen also seems to offer, perhaps unintentionally, some eggheady advice on whether women should be on the front lines. “In light of the physical dangers and reproductive risks involved,” he says, “participating in intergroup aggression might not generally be a viable reproductive strategy for women.” Translation: not if they want to have kids.

TIME Dating

This Is Exactly How Much You Need to Drink to Seem More Attractive, Backed by Science

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Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

No more, no less

Want to seem more attractive to the opposite sex? Drink one — exactly one — very large glass of wine.

That’s what a recent study by a group of researchers at the University of Bristol’s School of Psychology, published in Science Daily, suggests.

The researchers asked 40 heterosexual men and women, divided equally between both genders, to complete an attractiveness-rating exercise. The volunteers were then shown two images of a person, one taken while the subject was sober, one after the subject had consumed 250 ml of wine (equivalent to a very large glass), and one after 500 ml of wine (two-thirds of a bottle) had been consumed.

The photos of those who drank 250 ml wine were rated as more attractive, followed by images of sober subjects. The photos of those who had drank 500 ml were considered least attractive.

The researchers attributed this to the increased facial flushing that comes with consuming low amounts of alcohol, along with additional muscle relaxation and subtle smiles that portray a heightened positive mood.

One more good reason to drink in moderation.

[Science Daily]

TIME celebrities

Emma Watson Shoots Down Those Prince Harry Rumors

'Remember that little talk we had about not believing everything written in the media?!'

It looks like Emma Watson is squashing rumors that she has been secretly dating Prince Harry.

“Remember that little talk we had about not believing everything written in the media?!” Watson wrote on Twitter Sunday morning.

Watson was apparently referring to rumors about her and Harry, which were first reported by Australian magazine Woman’s Day. The magazine provided a number of details about how Prince Harry approached the 24-year-old Harry Potter actress.

Representatives for the royal family haven’t addressed the rumors, according to PEOPLE magazine.

Read next: Read What Amy Poehler Had to Say About the First Episode of Parks and Rec

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Dating

More Men Use Dating Apps Than Women

Businessman holding mobile phone.
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Swipe away, fellas

According to a new study, some 90 million people around the world used location-based dating apps like Tinder and Momo last month. And it turns out that nearly two-thirds of those swipers were male.

Research firm GlobalWebIndex surveyed 32 countries, and found that 62% of dating app users are men. (No word on the percentage of Tinder-loving bros who take selfies with babies or tigers).

The news isn’t entirely surprising. In 2013, Pew Research Center found that men were more active on dating apps and sites. Some 13% of American males had used an app or site, compared to only 9% of American women.

Although that doesn’t mean men spend more time on apps than their female counterparts. Tinder, which the New York Times estimated to have upwards of 50 million active users, said that while men spend 7.2 minutes in an average session, women spend 8.5 minutes swiping through options. Dudes also swipe “like” 46% of the time compared to women’s 14% of the time.

Quantity doesn’t equal quality, fellas.

(h/t: The Guardian)

Read next: Here’s Proof That Everyone Will Be Online Dating This Valentine’s Day

TIME Dating

Here’s Proof That Everyone Will Be Online Dating This Valentine’s Day

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Looking for love at first swipe this Valentine's Day? You're not alone

The lonely hearts club will be raging on the Internet this weekend.

If you’re worried that going on dating sites and apps on Valentine’s Day is a faux pas, then let these statistics assuage your fears and enable your swiping. The leading purveyors of digital courtship confirm that, for the most part, Valentine’s Day sees a spike in user activity. (On JDate, instant messaging has gone up 150% on the holiday). See what happens on your favorite site under the pressure of Cupid’s arrow.

OKCupid

Considering that the site’s mascot is the symbol of Valentine’s Day, it shouldn’t be a surprise users celebrate accordingly. This week traditionally garners a 5% gain in the number of users who log in and an approximate 10% gain in messages. “This is fairly significant as traffic does not normally change this much in such a short period,” CTO Mike Maxim tells TIME via email.

And there’s more. OKCupid says sign-ups increase on the holiday, with 10% more men creating accounts and 35% more women.

The week after, things slow to normal, which could mean the connections were taken offline.

JDate & Christian Mingle

“This is without a doubt our busiest time of year,” Laura Seldon, the managing editor JDate and Christian Mingle parent company Spark Networks, says. After looking at statistics on Valentine’s Day compared with a four-week average from mid-October, she found:

JDate’s page views increased by 50%, its unique visitors surged up 100%, and user interaction spiked a whopping 150%.

Christian Mingle also experienced increases of 50% for page views and visitors and 30% in user interaction.

“We are very happy to see is that the spike in activity is not just passive browsing,” Seldon says, adding that activity picks up even more on the 15th when users look to reignite their love lives.

Match

Match’s peak season is from Dec. 26 to Feb. 14 when the site sees a 38% jump in new members. But a spokesperson says that this particular Valentine’s Day weekend will be particularly active, thanks to President’s Day making it a double holiday weekend. On Monday, it expects a 20% spike in communication compared to last week.

Coffee Meets Bagel

February is usually a slow month for the dating site, primarily because of the large spike January brings. (Gotta love New Year resolutions). That said, Valentine’s Day is the outlier. In 2014, Coffee Meets Bagel experienced a 62% jump in mobile sign ups versus the same day the week before.

Hinge

User activity on the dating app doesn’t spike or drop on the holiday. “From what we’ve noticed, our users don’t obsess about Valentine’s day,” marketing director Karen Fein tell TIME. “It’s just a day like any other.”

Tinder

Last year Tinder saw a huge saw a huge spike in downloads and usage — but that might be less about the holiday and more about Olympics gold medalist Jamie Anderson’s pre-Valentine’s Day interview in which she revealed that “Tinder in the Olympic village is next level.”

Tinder tells TIME that it has been seeing an increase in messaging in the last week-and-a-half—and Wednesday marked the app’s biggest daily usage ever, up 6.4% from last month. Whether that’s do to Valentine’s Day or just a result of Tinder’s growth (there are one million new users on Tinder each week), is one big shrug emoji.

TIME Love

See Photos of Love and Courtship in 1950s Japan

As Western influence took hold in Japan, dating and mating were no exception—and LIFE captured the country during a moment of change

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get married, buy a house and have (on average) 2.2 children. This may have been a common story for heterosexual couples in America in the 1950s, but when LIFE dispatched John Dominis to capture love and marriage in post-war Japan, he found a landscape undergoing a significant transformation.

Before the war, most marriages in Japan were arranged by the bride’s and groom’s parents. Men and women rarely spent much time together prior to the wedding, let alone took part in anything that might qualify as “dating.” But during the Allied occupation of Japan—from the end of World War II until 1952—the ubiquity of the American soldier’s courtship rituals jump-started the Westernization of love and marriage in Japan.

Whether accompanied by their visiting wives, Japanese girlfriends or prostitutes known as “pan pan girls,” American soldiers modeled the behavior they knew from home: public displays of affection and leisure time spent with women at cafés, parks or the movies. And inside those movie theaters, American movies offered even more examples of Western mating rituals to a Japanese public at once hesitant and intrigued by the bold behaviors of their American counterparts.

In his photographs—which never ran in LIFE—Dominis captured a moment when the new had caught on, but the old had not yet been forgotten. The young couples he photographed in 1959 were living on the edge of modernity, but still holding onto many of the the traditions long followed by their culture.

Notes written by Dominis and someone who appears to be an assistant that accompanied the dozens of rolls of film he shot provide insight into the song and dance (sometimes literal) in which the young lovers engaged. Some met by chance, others in settings tailor-made for matchmaking.

One of these settings was the “Shibui” dance, run by a man of the same name. For $2.50, young men and women could attend a night of dinner and dancing with the express purpose of introducing eligible bachelors to single young women. Upon arrival, new members bowed to one another and offered the greeting “yoroshiku,” described as “a very loose greeting which is used to fit any situation and in this case meaning ‘I hope I can find a mate among you.’” During dinner, partygoers were expected to “learn proper manner of eating western food.” If a young man found a young woman intriguing, he was not allowed to leave with her. Instead, he would tell Mr. Shibui, who would then arrange a date if the feelings were mutual.

One young couple, Akiksuke Tsutsui and Chiyoko Inami, met when Chiyoko, who worked at a bank in the same building as Akiksuke’s father’s clothing shop, began frequenting the shop during breaks. When Akiksuke brought Chiyoko to meet his family—after several outings to the beach, cafés, beer halls and department stores—his siblings welcomed her in ways that reflected the changing times. His younger brother showed off his Western knowledge by demonstrating how to swing a baseball bat and singing a rockabilly song. His sisters, meanwhile, sang Chiyoko Japanese folk songs.

Before meeting Akiksuke, Chiyoko had had five meetings with potential husbands, all arranged by her family. During these meetings, the young man and woman walked past each other in a Japanese garden, catching a quick glimpse of their potential mate, and delivering a decision to a go-between. Chiyoko had declined them all.

Dominis also photographed Takahide Inayama and Mitsuyo Ogama, two university students in their early 20s. The pair met six months prior, at Takahide’s house, when a friend of his brother’s brought her to a party there. Takahide and Mitsuyo, in a better financial position than some of the others, led Dominis to make an observation about class and marriage. “Most couples in Tokyo just can’t afford to get married until the guy is around 30 unless they both work or he has an exceptional job, or there is money in the family,” he wrote. “These kids go out with other couples and act more or less like you would expect western young lovers to act.”

While the photographs capture the increasing normalization of modern Western customs in Japan, they also exhibit the excitement and tenderness of being allowed to choose—a privilege which, of course, includes the right to opt out. “Two of the couples have since broken up,” reads a note from the files, “and are being shy about letting us know whether they have taken up with new friends.”

AnRong Xu, who edited this gallery, is a contributor to LightBox. Follow him on Instagram @Anrizzy.

MONEY Love and Money

These Qualities Will Make You Unattractive to Coworkers

woman filing nails with phone off the hook in the office
Anthony Lee—Getty Images

Got a crush on a colleague? Make sure you're not doing these things

More than a few romances get their start at the office.

A new survey by CareerBuilder found that more than a third of workers have dated a colleague, and 30% of office romances led to marriage—which makes sense considering how much time we all spend at work.

But for every happily-ever-after “we met at the office” story, there is plenty of love going unrequited over the watercooler. The poll also revealed some surprising reasons why office crushes fail to get off the ground.

The top quality that makes a coworker undateable: A poor work ethic. Despite Hollywood’s romanticization of the slacker guy, it seems that ambition and hard work are attractive traits—especially to women. Ladies are much less likely to date someone who doesn’t work consistently, with 52% saying they wouldn’t vs. 28% of guys.

(Meanwhile those who put their nose to the grindstone have a better chance at having a hand to hold: 11% of workplace daters say their relationship began during late nights on the job, not far off from the 12% who reported sparks flying over happy hour drinks.)

Another big turnoff: serial dating. One-quarter of those surveyed say they wouldn’t date someone who has already dated someone else at work.

Another 21% say they wouldn’t go out with someone who travels extensively for work.

Surprisingly, a disparity in earnings doesn’t kill romance potential. Just 6% say they wouldn’t date someone who earns less money, though slightly more women surveyed (10%) say it is an issue compared to just 2% of men.

In any case, intra-office dating is tricky business and you want to be careful in how you woo a workplace crush. But at least these findings give you added incentive to work hard—it may pay off for not only your career, but for your love life as well.

More on Money.com:

TIME relationships

This Video of Couples Failing Will Make You Feel Better About Being Single on Valentine’s Day

A healthy dose of schadenfreude for your holiday season

What’s the one thing people love more than love? Schadenfreude.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Fail Army compiled footage of couples failing over and over again into one glorious video. Because as much as you enjoy watching people revel in romantic bliss, it’s way more fun to watch them fall over.

Hate on, haters. Hate on.

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