IT WAS the “proposal” that launched a million internet hits.
Tamworth man George Harradine was captured on bended knee in the City of Love last week in what appeared to be a moving offer of matrimony to girlfriend Claire Hollinworth.
But instead of whipping out a ring, the 18-year-old simply tied up his shoelaces, leaving Ms Hollinworth ashen-faced and the unwitting photographer utterly confused.
The photo, with the caption “If you tie your laces in Paris, your girlfriend will cry...”, was initially posted to Mr Harradine’s Facebook page but has since become an online sensation, earning top status on social networking and news website Reddit and attracting almost 400,000 “likes” on Facebook page The LAD Bible.
Mr Harradine, who has been travelling across Europe with Ms Hollinworth for the past three months, chose a bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower for the unfortunately timed shoelace tie.
“It wasn’t planned; I was just looking down and thought I would fix up my shoelace before the photo,” Mr Harradine said.
“The next thing I knew, I looked up and Claire was in a bit of shock.
“It really was a spur of the moment thing.”
The couple had asked a passerby to take a photo of them at the iconic spot. “It was our last night in Paris and we thought it would be a great spot to get a photo,” Ms Hollinworth said.
“We were about to pose and George said ‘hang on, I need to tie my shoe’.
“I saw the guy taking the photo and freaked out ... he thought it was this huge moment.
“George posted the photo on his page for a few laughs but it just went crazy.”
Ms Hollinworth said she “never for a moment” thought it was a genuine proposal.
So does Mr Harradine have any plans to propose in the near future?
“We’ve only been dating for 11 months, it might be a bit soon for that,” he said.