Okay, so here’s how this engagement thing went down.
Julie’s birthday was on Sunday. Months prior, she’d been asking for an iPhone 4 for her birthday. “I’m ready to become an Internet addict like you!” she’d say, and I’d look up from liking a “Yo dawg, I herd you liked liking posts” post and nod affirmatively but quickly and return to the task at hand.
For some reason, Julie started to think that I hadn’t really paid much attention to her birthday suggestion. I could tell by the way she said so all the time, so finally I told her, “Look, babe, if you want to keep your current number AND get on my family plan [wink wink], we’re just going to have to go to the store together when the time comes. I can’t order it like that online. It could be October before we can get you an iPhone. What can ya do?” What, indeed.
Meanwhile, I’d been pinching pennies and saving for a Nice Engagement Ring for over a year. You know how I like to cram my beliefs down people’s throats on the Internet? Well, one of my beliefs is that it’s asking for trouble to finance an engagement ring. I know, I know: ridiculous, right? So take my other beliefs with a grain of salt. But this one’s meaningful to me, so I was very disciplined about living on a very restrictive budget while I socked away a few hundred bucks for the right ring.
Now, one of the benefits of taking forever to save up money for a ring is you get real comfy with the idea that you’re getting your love a Really Big Gift. And when you get comfy with that, you get kind of obsessive about really doing it right. Okay, maybe not you, but me. So I paid ridiculously close attention to her tastes and preferences, but most of all to her subtle cues - cues like, “Hey, honey, I like this one right here: PLU#1457LJK191 okay? Write that down.” And when I was 85% (or more) sure that I knew what would rock her world, I went to The Right Jewelry Store and made some shit happen. You didn’t realize this at the time, but you heard all about it last Thursday on Twitter.
Then, I went and talked to her parents. I’m not going to tell you much about that part, but I’ll tell you this: Guys, regardless of what you think of the tradition of asking a girl’s parents for their blessing (or support or whatever) to marry their daughter, I recommend doing it. It’s a real Man Task, and the adrenaline rush alone is worth twice the panic you’ll be stricken with as they open the door and ask what was so important that it couldn’t have waited until the weekend.
Anyway, after a lot of talking, Julie’s parents welcomed me (and my three children - lest you should underestimate the gravity of this) to their family, and I thanked them and told them how grateful I was for their support and how excited I was to propose to their daughter. That was the end of Thursday.
On Friday, I rigged up an iPhone 4 box, stripping it of its innards and implanting it with the ring. This was important, right? Because I’d made reservations at a killer restaurant - ostensibly to celebrate her birthday - for Saturday night, and I needed her to think she was opening an iPhone long enough for me to get from my side of the table to hers and down on one knee so I could ask her to marry me, and I needed her to be looking inside the box for a couple of seconds for the surprise of it to work. So, anyway, I hid the ring in an iPhone box, and wrapped it up like a birthday present, and fast-forward to dinner Saturday night, okay, because I’m getting hungry and my fingers are cramping up a little bit here.
Dinner was great. The restaurant is BYOB (which you’d know if you’d clicked the link), which was great because it meant I could hide the wrapped box in the paper bag with an extra bottle of wine at my feet. When the meal ended and our check had been left, I reached into the bag and pulled out the box.
"I have to admit something," I said as I pulled it from the bag and into her view. "There has been a little misdirection here."
I set the box on the table in front of her and waited.
She looked at me and said, “You got me an iPhone! I knew it!” Now she had the wrapping paper off. “You did!”
"Like I said…" I replied.
"What? You already have it programmed and everything?"
"I had to open the box," I continued, as she lifted the top.
She removed the inner lid and froze, staring at The Right Jewelry Store logo on the tiny boxtop inside. Her mouth went in slow motion.
"Wha…" she trailed off, but by the time she looked back up at me, I was on my knee before her.
What, exactly, happened next is anyone’s guess. Neither Julie nor I can seem to remember. All I know is some people at the next table started to clap (probably, they were The Gypsy Kings, because they were experts at clapping), and Julie developed a temporary speech impediment that was accompanied by trembling and lasted for a couple of hours, and dessert was on the house.
And somewhere, in the middle of it all, she said “yes.”