Impossibru! A Marriage Proposal by Internet Meme

by JoHarrington

'Will you marry me?' is one of the most nerve-wracking questions a man can ever ask. Tim came up with a very modern way to woo his Audrey.

There have certainly been some novel ways, over the centuries, to ask that all important question.

When your whole life's direction hinges on the answer, the proposer generally wants to get it right.

He (or she) could play it safe with the old, traditional down-on-one-knee approach. But that's been done before; with endless, tireless regularity, it's been done before.

But this is the Age of the Internet; and Timothy Tiah had his own unique spin to transform the cliche.

Timothy Tiah Pops the Question Like a Boss!

A whole team of friends had been moved into place, each with their mission to manoeuvre or record. Audrey didn't suspect a thing.

There is hardly a dry eye across the cyberworld, as the story and the video become the first viral internet phenomenon of 2012.

Even bros, entrenched in their Code, have to give their Malaysian bro a grudging respect for this one. It's quickly being billed as the most romantic modern wedding proposal on the 'net today.

In Kuala Lumpur, Audrey Ooi Feng Ling thought that she was going to the restaurant to mediate between two quarreling friends. She was a little perturbed to find her best friend joining them at the table. It all felt a little socially awkward, as she couldn't politely tell her to go away.

What she hadn't noticed was that, dotted around the busy, prime time eatery, were many more faces that she might have recognized. They had their cameras hidden amongst table decorations and crockery. In between surreptitiously filming her, as she began to tuck into her meal, they were sneaking glances at the door. All of them were waiting for Tim to appear.

Across the car-park came team two with Timothy Tiah Ewe Tiam at their helm. One friend clutched a huge bunch of flowers; another held the boards. It was this latter which was about to propel the scene that followed from merely a romantic marriage proposal into internet history.

Audrey's friend nudged her and gestured towards the glass door, "Look over there."  Audrey followed her gaze and spotted her boyfriend grinning back at her. Bewilderment followed, especially as all over the restaurant people turned and began filming. Tim held up the first of his boards. 'Hi Shorty', it read.

At just four feet nine inches, Shorty was his nickname for his girlfriend. (Audrey affectionately calls him Fatty.) More boards followed, each displaying an internet meme leading to a specific message. He was nervous. He had been deliberating. He would really like her to marry him.

Stunned and more than a little overwhelmed, Audrey nodded her consent. He had a meme board ready for that too and held it up. It was an image of Success Kid with the legend: 'Asked Audrey to marry me. She said yes.'

More Amazing Marriage Proposals

Read this selection of true life ways in which the big question was popped. Gain inspiration for yourself or simply enjoy the tales.

What is an Internet Meme?

The term Internet meme is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet. The term is a reference to the concept of memes, although the latter concept refers to a much broader category of cultural information.
From mad Japanese mushroom chefs to Hurricane Sandy joggers, the horse head mask has become de rigeur animal head wear for the meme conscious connoisseur.
'A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self: 20th Anniversary Edition' is the latest viral YouTube video. It's worth the hype.

Which Internet Memes Did Tim Use to Propose to Audrey?

It's one of the most stunningly original methods of getting the girl. Here is a run through of the memes that made the grade.

When Tim decided to ask Audrey to marry him, he had to consider his options. Choosing to do it by meme wasn't quite as random as it may appear. He knew that his girlfriend loved them! She was forever on Reddit or 9Gag forwarding the ones which made her laugh. Once his friend Angela had prompted the idea that he propose with the 'Y u no Guy', Tim knew he'd found the key.

It took him hours to select the right memes to include in his marriage proposal. The actual boards he created can be found in his FlickR stream, but here are those memes in full.

Oh Crap/Rage Face


In the fast paced world of internet memes, it can seem like the Oh Crap Face has been around forever. Surprisingly, the origin appears to have been in a Reddit Rage Comic posted in early 2010.

It is used whenever a poster wishes to express astonishment, outrage, fear or a profound realization (to a given value of 'profound' in many cases).

Tim began his meme proposal with a board depicting Oh Crap Face, alongside the words, 'Marriage scares the f*** outta me!!!'.

Socially Awkward Penguin

Image: Socially Awkward Penguin

Socially Awkward Penguin started circulating on 4Chan from May 2010.

It is based on a photograph taken by George F Mobley for National Geographic. As the name suggests, the legends tend to concentrate upon issues of discomfort and nervousness.

Tim used it to communicate to Audrey, 'This is awkward, but bear with me'.





F*** That Guy

In 2009, the basketball player Yao Ming was interviewed for a sports program. The artist Downlow used the footage to create a comic version of the athlete's face.

After it was posted to Reddit, a year later, someone commented that Ming's expression seemed to say, 'Dumb B****'. It soon became an internet meme, with the most popular legend mutating into 'f*** that'.

Tim used it to state, 'B**** please! Marriage is not 4 me.'



Japanese comedian Ayumu Kato was captured in a still-shot from the television program Panic Face King.

Since its inception as an internet meme, from YouTube in January 2010, it has bore the caption, 'Impossibru!'  This is an Engrish (Japanese-English mix) of the word 'impossible' and its Japanese translation 'imposhiburu'.

Impossibru is used whenever anyone wishes to convey surprise, shock or astonishment. Tim used it without any customization.


Sam Smith originally designed his velociraptor print for t-shirts. It was registered on Lonely Dinosaur in 2008.

Since then it has appeared with various captions conveying pearls of wisdom. This dinosaur is, after all, a philosopher!

Tim added the words, 'Nobody makes me happy like she does', to his version of the meme. 





Like A Boss

Saturday Night Live was the American television show, which gave the internet the 'Like a Boss' meme.

In 2009, it featured in a parody song of the same name, performed by Andy Samberg and Seth Rogen. The lyrics claimed that a string of outlandish achievements were performed daily by the hero. When asked how he did them, the response was always, 'like a boss'.

Since then any exclamation of supremacy or superiority (including nervous bravado) has seen 'Like a Boss' slapped onto any picture chosen by the poster.  On this occasion, Tim was communicating that Audrey made him happy 'like a boss'.

Y U No Guy

The 'Y U No Guy' was originally based upon a figure from the Japanese manga Gantz. It has been a popular meme since 2002, after being heavily circulated upon the 4Chan boards. Typically the legend will begin with the question 'y u no' (Leet for 'why do you not') with the remainder customized for each individual's needs.

Tim incorporated yet another popular reference by quoting the Beyonce song Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it). His legend read, 'If you like it, y u no put a ring on it'.


Lolcat is one of the longest running, most firmly established internet memes of all time.

The idea that cats with captions can be entertaining is as old as photography, but the name 'lolcat' to describe the practice dates from 2006. This was when posting lolcats (lol = laugh out loud + cats) became popular on 4Chan.

This old favorite was the clear choice for Tim to utilize, when he had to find a meme to pop that all important question.

Success Kid

Success Kid shows 11 month old Sammy Griner at the seaside. It has been around since 2007 alongside various legends proclaiming triumph. Tim used it to announce that Audrey had accepted his wedding proposal.




Forever Alone

But what if Audrey had turned him down? Tim had one more meme board, which he fortunately didn't have to use.

The Forever Alone Guy was popularized by the site 4Chan. Since 2010, it's been used to signify disappointment in love (or, indeed, life) and general loneliness.

Tim had customized his version with the legend, 'Asked Audrey to marry me. She said no'.

Know Your Memes!

Buy meme merchandise to keep up with the in(ternet)-crowd. It might come in handy for those major life events!

This Story in the Words of Those Involved

Audrey's blog: The proposal
From the blog entry: "I was very engrossed in my food (arrived late, very hungry) so I didn’t hear anything for a few seconds. But suddenly Tze poked me in the side and said “eh look over there.” I looked over and there through the glass doors of the restaurant was Fatty (waving hard), his friends Ah Quah and Sin Thean and some Nuffies."

Tim'sBlog: How I Proposed to Shorty
From the blog entry: "That gave me an idea. It’s true. Shorty and I both love all these memes. So I thought that instead of just having one picture, maybe I’ll tell a story with her favourite memes. I quickly put a plan together for the 30th of November."

Crazy Monkey's blog: Meme Proposal
From the blog entry: "On that day, we were all dressed in black. Talked using walkies. Used wine bottles, glasses, cutleries, vases and flowers as cover. We sat around the restaurant as guests but with our cameras on. And yes, we achieved total invisibility. Audrey walked into the restaurant, sat with her friends and never noticed us."

Tim's Blog: How Our Meme Proposal Video Came About
From the blog entry: "So by noon I decided to blog about it and then tweet about it. From then it exploded. We went to bed on Wednesday night with 60K views on the Vimeo video. When we woke up Thursday morning it had passed 100K and someone had put a copy of it on YouTube. It ended up on 9GAG for the second time."

Do You Think That Tim's Proposal was Very Romantic?

It was certainly a 'Will you marry me?' strategy for the Internet Age!
  Display results
Thank you for voting!

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Updated: 03/09/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 10/30/2012

I cry every time I watch that video. It's unbearably sweet. :) *hugs you over the internet*

Widilazirhays on 10/30/2012

So good. .
Even man cant stop crying,, :')

I Will do the same.

JoHarrington on 02/14/2012

Thank you. I'm glad that you liked it. :D

Anamika on 02/14/2012

That's really interesting!

JoHarrington on 01/13/2012

Hi Mandeesears - I thoroughly agree! I'm not the most romantically minded of people, but this one made me squee.

mandeesears on 01/13/2012

very sweet!

JoHarrington on 01/13/2012

Hi Lisa - You're not alone. The only people I've seen watch this without crying are my teenage nephews. They had their street-cred to think about!

JoHarrington on 01/11/2012

Aww bless him! I haven't heard of anyone yet watching that video with dry eyes. <3 (Except perhaps William!)

Shonna on 01/11/2012

William was with me while I watched this - he kept saying, "Watery eyes, Mommy? AGAIN?!" uh yes, I cry a lot.

JoHarrington on 01/11/2012

Awww! Though I'm glad I'm not the only sappy thing in bits after seeing that video. <3 It's possibly the most romantic thing I've ever seen.

Thank you so much for the Editor's Choice award! Now I'm crying all over again. Happy tears! Thank you!

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