My boyfriend and I recently made the engagement official, which is the sort of thing families like to make a fuss about, so we expected a lot of questioning at Thanksgiving. What we didn’t expect was the incredibly entertaining crop of meeting and proposal stories that followed (mercifully taking the spotlight off of us). A few highlights:
- One cousin built a proposal machine — a sort of Rube Goldberg contraption that popped up some photos and finally lifted a can to reveal the ring. This is the only time my boyfriend has asked if we could have do-overs.
- Another was so nervous after asking his now-wife to marry him that when she suggested they go to dinner to celebrate, he said “we can’t go out to dinner, we’re engaged!” She had to gently point out that you can be engaged AND eat dinner.
- My great-aunt met her husband at a party; he was standing with a friend when she walked in with one of hers. Apparently he turned to his friend and said “I get the chubby one.” She later let him drive her home, gave him her number, and said “call me when you cut your hair.” (He called the next day.)
- My grandfather’s proposal speech was so typical of him that my mom and uncle had memorized it, and recited it for us: “There comes a time in a man’s life when he must get hitched.”
- As I’ve always known, my mom never got engaged per se. When my dad picked her up after winter break in college, she said “I kind of told my parents we were getting married,” and that was that. (My mom, bless her, also used to leave out the “married a handsome prince” parts from stories when she read them to me.)
I want to hear your personal and ancestral stories of meeting and mating, Shapelings! The people above are all heterosexual couples, but of course I’m not just talking about proposals of heteronormative dating and Republican-sanctioned marriage — I’m talking about any amusing love connection, from the sweet to the subversive. If you’re dating, did you meet cute? If you’re engaged or married or otherwise perma-partnered, how did you or your compatriot pop the question (or, as in my mom’s case, break the news)? How did your parents and grandparents meet, and what did they do when the time in their life came when they must get hitched?
If you’re single, what’s your fantasy proposal? And, single or partnered, what’s your opinion on proposals in general? (I didn’t have one, personally — we made a decision together like grownups, and then bought a cheap ring off the internet for semiotic value.) Are you in favor of engagement rings, or do they make you retch? Do you participate, or plan to participate, in the institution of marriage if/when it’s legal for you and your chosen one, and why? (This one can get a little heavy, so let’s keep it respectful.) Do you have horror stories to share of meetings or proposals gone wrong, or weddings that were just so ostentatious or saccharine that you could never forget them?
Break out the diamond ring champagne flutes that I wish I were making up, and tell us your best story!