Monday, February 01, 2010

He Must Really Love Her

I was brought up by people who feel that romantic gestures are phony. In fact, the thinking is that the couple who is at your party who can't keep their hands off each other, making out in the corner, winking at each other all evening? They're the ones who are MOST LIKELY to be on the brink of divorce.

In my experience of observing people, I find that the most fragile relationships tend to put on a big show of affection around others.

When it comes to romantic gestures, Peter puts up a giant red circle with the slash across it. It's not that he's uncomfortable with them, he doesn't put any effort into it. He doesn't value it.

That's okay about 99 percent of the time, but it kind of went really wrong the day he proposed to me.

First of all, I had warned him that it was a HORRIBLE IDEA to propose at a restaurant or at a ball game. Why? Because you are subjecting people, in fact, STRANGERS, to your intimate moment--and I don't want my entree being held up because of some stupid couple who are probably going to be divorced in 7 years, anyway.

Peter planned a 30th birthday party for me and invited all of our closest friends. Unfortunately, a lot of my closest friends couldn't even come to the event due to circumstances out of their control. So that should have been a clue to him that maybe proposing at that party was NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Unfortunately, when men get it in their head to do something, it's difficult for them to see those signs.

A friend of mine knew her husband was going to propose to her one horrible night when mosquitos were eating her alive and they were sweatily trudging along a hiking path in Vermont. He kept bringing up their FUTURE and she kept changing the subject and trying to get him to take the hint of NOT NOW!! I'M NOT IN THE MOOD FOR A PROPOSAL RIGHT NOW WHEN I AM CRANKY and SWEATY!!

Unfortunately, he just kept plowing ahead and he insisted. When she relayed the story to me, she told me she said yes, of course, but she was a bit bummed out that he didn't take the hint.

My advice to guys out there? Girls dream of the moment they are proposed to so try to make it a sweet, memorable moment. And if she's giving you signs that she's not into it, or it's a bad time, do it another time.

My fantasy proposal goes like this: A beautiful walk in Vermont in autumn when the trees are all turning and gorgeous and my boyfriend takes me to a scenic spot and gets on one knee...(notice that there aren't any other people in this scenario?)

So the afternoon of the party, a party I was all frazzled getting the food ready for and setting the apartment up and a million other tasks I needed to do, the phone rang and one of my friends was at the train station. I went to go pick her up and Peter asked me to come into the bedroom...and that's when he proposed.

I literally was so shocked and I'm the kind of person who needs to take time to process things. As soon as Peter proposed, I felt that I needed to lie down and take a nap. BUT I COULDN'T because I had to pick up my friend at the train station. So about two minutes after Peter proposed, I was sitting in my car freaking out.

I didn't want to tell people, but then I realized that PEOPLE MUST ALREADY KNOW. So it would be WIERD if I was all proposed to and I put the ring away and pretended that I wasn't engaged. So the whole rest of the party was kind of a blur. I was newly engaged and I had some random collection of people at my apartment, including my real estate agent, Scout's dog trainer, Peter's web designer, the web designer's pregnant wife, and Peter's friend whose sister is best friends with Peter's web designer's ex-girlfriend. An ex-girlfriend of ten years who he dumped and then went on to knock up this other girl 6 months later. Why do guys do this?

Anyway, let's just say that it was an awkward group of people to be celebrating MY ENGAGEMENT with and I just wanted to go into the bedroom to be by myself and process what just happened and maybe spend the day with Peter getting used to the idea of getting married.

And another thing, Peter got me a sapphire ring, which was really pretty and I loved it....up until I asked him why he chose that one. He said, "Well, there was this other one I wanted, but it would have taken an extra week to get, so I bought this one."

To this day, he can't understand why this would upset me so.

Then, I freaked out. Like, I'm not worth that extra week? And why did he propose to me right before I had to pick up my friend? Doesn't he KNOW ME? He doesn't know me! How can I marry someone who thinks that I want to be proposed to right before a bunch of random people are going to come to my house? How could I marry someone who would choose to propose to me right after I get a phone call from my friend at the train station while I was putting sunscreen on my face in the bathroom?

Later, he explained that it took everything he had to ask me to marry him. After all, we had been together 7 years at that point and he was so against marriage that he never thought that he would ever marry. Finally, after SEVEN YEARS, he decided that he was ready, so he went to the store and wanted to go home with a ring THAT DAY. And he knew I didn't want to be proposed to at a restaurant, but he didn't know it was because of the PEOPLE. Then he said that he would make it up to me.

Plus, there was a bit of drama with that sapphire ring. Because he didn't get me a diamond, everyone from my mom, to his mom, to people I thought were my friends, made comments like, "Oh, why isn't it a diamond?"

When I told people that Princess Diana's engagement ring was a sapphire, they were all, "Ohhhhhh."

When I told my mother-in-law that my mother's engagement ring was a pearl ring, she said, "Pearls are CHEAP."

Well, at least they were able to BUY THEIR OWN HOUSE a few years later. Because they didn't SPEND ALL THEIR MONEY on diamonds and ugly Hummel dolls.

So a few weeks later, Peter got me another ring. A diamond ring. 'Cuz sometimes when you do things different, people judge you and one thing that Peter hates? It's for people to judge us and think that there's something WRONG. Then the person I thought was my friend got SO MAD that I got TWO RINGS!! (Her exact words were, "Why do YOU get TWO RINGS!!")

Of course, now I'm totally anti-diamonds because of what happens to people in Africa over conflict diamonds--I'm glad that the ring Peter got me was an antique ring from the 1920s.

Suffice it to say, with all that stupid drama from me, proposals are a very sore subject for Peter. Although now I find that the story is very cute and much more interesting than other people's--also, a lot of people who had lovely proposals are now divorced. I mean, look at Jessica Simpson.

The other day, I saw a cool post on designsponge. A guy made this gorgeous illustrated book and hid a ring in the book as a proposal.

When I showed it to Peter, he said, very sarcastically:

"He must REALLY love her."

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