Why did this man think it was acceptable to steal the limelight on his girlfriend’s graduation day?
Graduation day is something special.
After years spent making it through lectures on just three hours’ sleep, being underappreciated in unpaid work placements and slogging away at a never-ending dissertation – it’s finally time to grab that rolled-up certificate with both hands, while family members proudly look on.
Walking up to the podium dressed in your cap and gown, the excitement is almost enough to make you forget about the monumental debt that you’ve acquired over the last three or four years.
So, imagine if someone tried to take this big moment away from you.
This is exactly what happened when a man decided to hijack his girlfriend’s graduation ceremony by proposing to her as she went to collect her graduation certificate.
Edgaras Averbuchas, who was graduating from her Masters degree in English Language and Applied Linguistics from the University of Essex, was surprised to see her partner Agne Banuskeviciute walk up to the stage and get down on one knee with an engagement ring in his hand.
It’s worth noting that the boyfriend wasn’t even graduating. The only reason he was there was to celebrate his girlfriend’s success. But his ego clearly helped him to decide that he wanted a bigger part to play in her big day. And let’s not forget how his actions detracted from the achievements of every other student in the room, too. People’s families don’t pay for train tickets, hotels and restaurant bookings just to let a random man steal the show with a golden ring.
What makes the public proposal even more worrying is the expectation to say yes. What if Averbuchas didn’t want to get engaged? How could she ever say no in front of crowds of people? The fact that Banuskeviciute so confidently assumed that things would go his way absolutely “smacked of egotism” according to Women’s March organiser Aisha Ali-Khan.
I’d be furious. And I’m not the only one, according to the internet’s response.
After sharing a video of the proposal on Twitter, Essex University has, perhaps unsurprisingly, received a backlash.
The university has since taken down the Twitter video and shared an interview with Averbuchas from Triangle News.
“I remember myself standing on the stage. I was a little bit nervous, but extremely happy,” she explained.
“Then, all of a sudden I saw Edgaras coming, but everything happened so quickly that it took me some time to understand what actually happened. He knelt on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in so much shock and of course I said yes.
“Everyone cheered and it was an amazing proposal which truly took me by surprise.”
Averbuchas might sound happy with the proposal, but just imagine if she wasn’t.
The “shock” and “nerves” that she describes will resonate with many others on their graduation day. And we all have examples of the times we’ve made bad, impulsive decisions while being in these states.
This isn’t the first time that a viral public proposal has made us consider how foul they are.
Kaitlyn Curran, a nurse from Jersey, had trained for over a year in order to take part in the marathon. During the run, Curran spotted her boyfriend of four years by the bridge which connects Queens to Manhattan, and ran over to say hello. That’s when she noticed that Galvin had dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring box.
In a video of the proposal, which quickly went viral, Curran tearfully accepted the ring and gave her new fiancé a kiss on the cheek. Then she told him: “I’m not even finished [the marathon] yet,” and turned back to continue running her race.
Also, back at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Chinese Olympian Qin Kai got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend, diver He Zin… as she was receiving her silver medal.
The fact that these men expect their female partners to fulfill their romantic assumptions is what makes the gestures selfish instead of sweet.