This article originally appeared on VICE US
The internet is abundant, so very abundant, with videos and photos of enough creative marriage proposals to fund an entire city of divorce lawyers until the ice caps melt and drown us all.
Maybe some guy's girlfriend really likes penguins, so he has a bunch of penguins stand in a row and each hold a letter spelling out "Will you marry me?" Cue the string quartet.
Or maybe there's a flash mob—in a hot air balloon! A spicy sex tape playing on the Jumbotron followed by a helicopter ride to a mine in Sierra Leone for the bride-to-be to pick out her own blood diamond! Rap battles! Drones! Zach Braff!
Most of the more elaborate and spectacular ones enacted in public end with joyful tears, applause from bystanders, and gushy internet commentary from strangers who repost these nauseating displays of attention-seeking and external validation all over their social media feeds.
But when you go to great lengths to ask your beloved for their hand in front of an audience, they have to say yes. Right? Don't they?
For one unlucky-in-love young gentleman in China, things didn't quite go as planned. And it's all because we erred on the side of fruit. Lychees, specifically.
A 24-year-old man in Xi'an named Dong thought he'd wow his lady with a lychee-centric presentation when he went about popping the question. And of course, he decided to do it on a busy street where the stakes would ran high in terms of the possibility of public humiliation.
He spent 2,000 yuan (about US $322) on the fruit, according to the Mirror, then carefully laid out dozens of the lychees into the pattern of two hearts, entwined as one by Cupid's arrow. He wrote out the word "LOVE" with the bumpy, sweet little soapberries. And then he got down on one knee and hoped for the best.
And it didn't go so well.
"My dearest," he allegedly started. "I don't have a house, a car or lot of money, but I have true love for you. I can use it to provide you with happiness. Will you marry me?"
What happened next wasn't pretty. She grabbed one of the lychees—cuz hey, free food—and said, "No, you are so naïve." Then she made a run for it.
But Dong was optimistic that things would, as they say, get better. He told local media that his girlfriend thought they were simply too young to get hitched, and included this wistful statement: "My heart is bitter but I will get her back. We are meant to be together."
That may be true, but it might be wise for him to rework his proposal strategy next time. Maybe pineapple would add a little more dramatic flair. And perhaps this time he should give it a go in private.