So I decided on/purchased him an engagement gift, picked out a silver ring for him, and started pestering J about his ring size. (Because darnit, it was an open secret that he was working on my ring, so I figured he had access to a jeweler and finger measuring options.) But, when I never got a response, I started to worry. Not about the proposal, but about the timing of his proposal and therefore the timeframe for giving him a calendar-sensitive engagement-ring-equivalent gift.
As the deadline for his calendar-sensitive gift approached, I got more and more nervous. I gave up on the idea of his silver ring and decided on a twisted pipecleaner stand-in ring. And I finally gave up on the whole counter-proposal idea and faced down the need to develop my own proposal to him. Men - I never before appreciated how daunting this task is, and all the pressure to make something meaningful. Congrats to all of you who manage to pull it off with panache and style.
I, on the other hand, was much less panacheful or stylish. I went with simple and heartfelt, planning to surprise him with a candlelit picnic with homemade Mediterranean food from our first date. I had a friend design a card that included phrases and images of personal significance, and I planned to hit up Michaels for the pipe cleaners. Well... I should have known better than to get excited about my plans. Several of my male friends have stories of proposal attempts gone awry and I can now join their ranks.
Instead of a candlelit picnic, we were sitting on my bed mid-afternoon, trying to schedule our move into a new apartment. Remember the whole calendar-sensitive gift issue? Yeah, he couldn't understand why I kept refusing to schedule our move on the most convenient upcoming weekend and I couldn't think quickly enough to come up with a good answer.
"No."Is not a productive discussion.
"But why not?"
"Because we can't"
"But why not?!"
"Because we can't"
Finally, frustrated and backed into a mental corner, I blurted out,
"Because you're not going to be here - you're going to be in Tennessee!"I watched a slow look of comprehension pass over his face, followed by a massive smile. He knew immediately that Tennessee meant the Bonnaroo music and arts festival. Bonnaroo takes place in Tennessee each year, and he's wanted to go ever since we met. This year, in particular, the lineup included many of his all-time favorite bands. (Which, for a music geek, is pretty important stuff.) Back in February I had watched him add up his expenses for 2009 - which included my ring - and saw him crestfallen when he realized that the music festival was out of his budget. I decided right then what the perfect ring-equivalent gift would be. So I secretly coordinated with his sister (who had been to Bonnaroo before and decided to go again for a brother-sister weekend) about his flight, ticket and camping needs.
Sitting on my bed mid-afternoon, I had no silver ring, no pipecleaner temporary ring, no printed card (it was still in a file on my computer), and no Mediterranean food at the ready to mark the occasion, so I simply took his hand, wrapped my finger around his as a makeshift ring, and asked if he would marry me. He said yes.
We schmooped and cried a little and then got back to planning the move (for the weekend after Bonnaroo.) And then I got back to waiting for his egalitarian co-proposal to come so we could finally be officially engaged, instead of just knowing that someday, yes, we're definitely going to get married.