Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande


In praise of the “chill proposal”

Photo: Getty Images

In other words, please propose to me the way Pete Davidson proposed to Ariana Grande, says Emily Baker

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By Emily Baker on

I know how I don’t want to be proposed to, and that is with a flash mob. Even the thought of it makes my stomach turn and my face flush. I also don’t want a ring in an avocado, or a message written into a field by a farmer, and definitely not when I win an Olympic medal, however unlikely. Even the idea of someone on one knee makes me feel a bit queasy and embarrassed. Instead – and this is not the first time I have said this – I want what Ariana Grande has.

Her fiancé, comedian and founder of Big Dick Energy, Pete Davidson has revealed how he proposed to his girlfriend of just three months. “We were in bed hanging, after watching a movie,” he told Variety. “I was like, ‘Will you marry me?’ It was really dope.” Grande obviously said yes, though, according to the interview, Davidson still can’t really believe it. “I’m still convinced she’s blind or hit her head really hard. Something is going to happen, and she’s going to be like, ‘What the fuck is this thing doing around?’ For right now, it’s rocking.”

It’s safe to say that a lot of people are interested in, if not obsessed with, Grande and Davidson’s breakneck-speed relationship. Every day, Grande’s social media is full of black and white videos of the pair, each illustrated with heart eyes and her signature cloud emojis. They post pictures of themselves in Hogwarts uniforms, they keep getting couple’s tattoos, and they walk down the street holding hands and sucking lollipops – a photo so instantly internet-famous it’s now a recognised meme. They define the Instagram trope of #couplegoals, without showing off or flaunting their apparently perfect relationship to single people like me. In short, on the never-ending spectrum of celebrity couples, they are the exact opposites of Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston.

If they were your mates, they’d be the worst couple in the world, but, for some reason, we’re all fully behind them. They’re performing Jingle Bell Rock on a world stage and we’re a thousand Amy Poehlers dancing with a camcorder.

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson's relationship is the definition of having 'no chill', and yet they seem to have exactly all of the chill

Their relationship is the definition of having “no chill”, and yet they seem to have exactly all of the chill. That’s why Davidson’s low-key proposal fits in so perfectly with their romcom-worthy love – it feels a little spur-of-the-moment and reckless in the best way. Watching a movie in bed, then turning to your girlfriend and asking her to marry you is “not the done thing”, especially when you’re a celebrity and hordes of Instagram followers are waiting to see your ring, which may or may not have been delivered to you by a white dove on top of a sacred mountain in the Himalayas.

We’re led to believe that romance is a performative action, rather than an ever-present feeling or idea within a relationship. If you whisk your partner off for a weekend away in a Cotswolds cottage, you’re a romantic. Apparently, roses, diamond rings, fancy dinners and copious gifts scream romance – but it’s all just stuff. There is no “right way” to propose, but I imagine (or hope) everyone just wants it to feel authentic and relevant to the two people involved.

Some might believe internationally loved and admired pop star Ariana Grande deserved a better proposal than what sounds like pillow talk, but – as much as we can deem from the public side of their relationship – it seems so apt. This is a woman who, when a fan asked how long a new song named after Davidson was, she replied, “like 10 inches?” This is a woman who, rather than promote her new songs on late-night talk shows, will spend 10 minutes doing Britney and Celine Dion impressions. This, readers, is a woman who will include a group of screaming groundhogs halfway through a very serious music video, just because it’s funny.

If you want a big, flouncing proposal, more power to you, but there’s something exciting and scary about saying yes to something that you know wasn’t planned or properly thought through. In years to come, proposals are nothing but a story to tell other people and eventually become symbolic – good or bad – of the relationship you were in at the time. Davidson’s proposal was chill, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t perfect.

PS Ariana and Pete, if you’re reading this, I’ll expect my invite in the post.


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