The Art of Suspense: Tim’s Wedding Proposal
Out of the Hitchcock section of the film class I took in high school came the pivotal idea I used in my marriage proposal.
Hitchcock and weddings? What kind of person could find anything worth learning about marriages from Hitchcock? Let me explain.
We had gone through several of the old classic films, such as Casablanca (fantastic!) and Citizen Kane (overrated in my opinion), when we finally began our section on Alfred Hitchcock, with Psycho and Rear Window. My teacher told us his common techniques, such as the cameos in his movies, and how he attempted to shoot each scene so artistically that each frame could have been a photograph. What stuck with me the most from that class, however, was the illustration she shared with us that Hitchcock discovered when he unlocked the art of suspense. Also known as Hitchcock’s Bomb Theory, which Hitchcock explained in an interview with Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock started with the scenario of two men having an ordinary conversation. If a bomb goes off while the men are having a conversation, the audience is surprised for a moment because of the bomb. However, if the audience sees the man place the bomb in the room before the conversation starts, then every moment of that otherwise ordinary conversation is charged with excitement.
Yet what does this have to do with proposals? Well, it has a lot to do with it if you intend to marry a woman who claims she can’t be surprised! My Kimberly is quite the nosey little girl, and she is also extremely aware of people’s attitudes and can usually tell if they are hiding something. Of course, when you want to propose to someone, you want the method to be a surprise, but if the surprise is discovered, then most of the effect is lost.
Not wanting to risk it, I followed Hitchcock’s principle. The day I proposed to her, I told her in the morning that I was going to propose to her sometime that day, and then the activities began! I first took her to High Tea at an English tea house, followed by a walk amidst the lovely autumn trees at Winterthur, and ending at my house, where I finally proposed to her and made her an exquisite dinner with filet mignon, a special green bean recipe, and rice.
She loved it! We just had our one-year engagement anniversary on August 8th, and we agreed awhile ago that we would always try to celebrate it by replicating a part of it (I cooked the dinner again). I was so glad that the principle of suspense vs. surprise held true, and she said that it did make a big difference throughout the day.
-Tim, Bookkeeping and Customer Service
Feel free to share your proposal story or any life lessons you’ve learned from books or film!