That might be a tad dramatic. I’ll rephrase: Professor McGregor has ruined my ability to watch commercials without rage. On one of our very first dates, we stumbled into a conversation about engagement rings and the jewelry industry. (Yes, this perhaps should have been a sign. Seven-months-ago Grace, you’re going to marry that charmingly grumpy bearded fellow.) Over super delicious brisket enchiladas, he dropped this knowledge bomb: Between Halloween and Valentine’s Day, the number of jewelry commercials played on ESPN goes up by 804%.
Okay. That’s not a real statistic, but it feels like one. Maybe it’s because women are barraged with diamond ads all the time—which, creepy fact, gets worse once you’re in a relationship on Facebook—but I’d never noticed this phenomenon. Now that he’s told me, I can’t unnotice it. Every basketball game I watch is marred by the twenty-seven Kay commercials, insisting that every kiss begins with blood diamonds. Men, it seems, are nagged by no one as much as their neighborhood jewelry store. Buy her diamonds, they insist. You are a horrible person, because you didn’t do the dishes, so do the mature thing and bribe your way back into her affections! Diamond’s are a
advertiser’s girl’s best friend!
These commercials are a repository for every bad gender stereotype and trite cliche. Each woman in Diamondville bats her eyes, angling for a marriage proposal, while every man is so clueless that his GPS has to hijack his car and forcibly drive him toward the sparkle. What the hell, jewelry people? While I wasn’t looking, you built an entire advertising narrative based on offensive codswallop. Surely, our populace has advanced beyond the assumption that the way into a woman’s heart is with expensive baubles. Or, if not that far, we’ve at least recognized that men have more emotional intelligence than adolescent baboons.
Worse, y’all can’t even do your own cliches well. Have you seen the latest Jared commercial? The concept is straightforward enough: man proposes to woman, man holds up overpriced white gold piece of swill, woman says yes. Oh, proposals. The one time when real life can out-cliche your industry. This should be your bread and butter! So, naturally, you set the whole thing on an airplane. Because nothing says romance like recirculated air and vomit bags.
Seriously, this is the worst proposal idea ever. Not only are they in a public place, surrounded by strangers, but they’re sitting in uncomfortable seats, near a questionably smelly bathroom, with only tiny bottles of cheap airplane wine to celebrate. Once he’s popped the question, will they get a private moment to celebrate? Nope. The stewardess will announce that he went to Jared and the other passengers will incessantly congratulate them for the rest of the flight. Don’t even get me started on what happens, if she says no. You think Jumbotron proposals can go awry? Try being stuck in a seat next to your broken-hearted ex for two more showings of Hotel Transylvania. This isn’t even a bit romantic, Jared. It’s sadism cloaked in conflict stones.
You suck, jewelry commercials. It would be nice to get a reprieve from your presence, after Valentine’s Day, but—let’s be honest—Mother’s Day is around the corner. The only thing worse than romance cliches are mom stereotypes. Bring on the noble dish-washing and soccer games…