Friday, February 4, 2011

Pursuing the Perfect Proposal

There is one major benefit to being a traditional kind of guy who's dating a geeky kind of girl: You can propose to her in absolutely any way your romantically geeky mind can come up with.

There's also one major drawback to this situation: You can propose to her in absolutely any way your romantically geeky mind can come up with.

During our fancy dinner on the night we got engaged (spoiler alert: we're engaged), I let loose with a veritable novella of what took me so long to propose, how I pulled together my proposal, and all the rejected and unused proposal ideas that I and my friends conjured up. Then I thought, "Hey! I could use this for a blog post!"

The next time your blogger boyfriend proposes to you, don't hesitate to question his motives.

Let's back up, though, to see how we reached this fancy post-engagement dinner. This was the first night of our anniversary weekend, taking place at the end of January, but the story really starts around Thanksgiving. Perhaps all that talking about turkeys prompted me to build up the courage to ask this girl to marry me. Perhaps I'd been ready to ask her for a while, but the timing didn't work out in what I thought was my favor.

I spent most of November through January laying the foundation for an engagement: I asked parental permission, picked up from my parents the 73-year-old engagement ring my grandmother had worn, and waited until after the holiday season had ended to get an appointment with a jeweler we trusted to appraise and clean up the ring. The wait was worth it--especially because I didn't figure out how I was going to propose until the night before.

I was cursed by having creative friends and a working Internet connection. Any proposal idea I came up with had already been done by someone I knew or had heard about online, but with more flair than I could pull off. Composing a song and getting some guys together to seranade her into pre-wedded bliss? Taken. Hacking a Super Mario World ROM to make some gold coins spell out, "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" Taken. I realized that getting engaged is not a competition, but I had no intentions of being outdone.

I plotted fruitlessly for months. For longer than I care to admit, my fallback plan was to be out on a romantic walk somewhere when I stop and reach into my pocket, saying, "I think I heard my phone ring," then pull out the little jewelry box and pop it open and say, "Whoops, wrong ring." If she could say yes to me after an appalling pun like that, then she was definitely the one I wanted to be with.

I had some decent ideas, but all of them required access to a computer, which would most likely be the one in my only vaguely romantic apartment. Though it was fleetingly amusing to think of proposing to her through a YouTube video or an MP3 I recorded in four-part harmony with myself, I'd still be proposing within 15 feet of a garbage can. This would not do.

I began thinking of more romantic settings, but anywhere I could think of proposing in the middle of a particularly oppressive winter was not a place I wanted to be kneeling on the ground to give her the ring. Anywhere indoors that I could think of was too crowded--knowing her, I decided it would be better to propose in private. Which brought me back to my apartment and its piles of unfolded laundry and centrally located garbage can.

The only way I might propose in my apartment was if I followed one friend's advice and proposed to her during a session of Dungeons & Dragons. I'd run a straightforward game that culminated in the most epic dragon battle in D&D history, and when the heroes emerge victorious, they search the dragon and discover treasure--represented in real life by a series of props.

"You search the dragon and impressive-looking magical sword." I'd hand the sword prop I still have from my high school production of Pippin to one of the players. "After searching a bit more, you find a curious old scroll." I'd give another player a rolled up piece of parchment with illegible scribbles on it. "Finally, just as you're about to stop looking, you find...a ring." I'd hand over the engagement ring to my gal, and as the players won the game, I'd win her heart.

"For extra realism, the ring should be dripping in dragon ichor," my friend added.

And then, "You owe me $20 if you use that idea, though."

I continued conjuring up new ideas, but nothing seemed quite right. The setting wasn't romantic enough, or there was too much risk of the proposal not going as planned (two major strikes against the otherwise fantastic D&D idea). I had to do something that would appeal to her heart while simultaneously triggering her squeeing geek reflexes, and I eventually determined that this would rule out any performance-oriented proposal ideas. No singing; no gaming; no juggling gnomes. I would give her a gift.

I would make her a gift.

At first, I thought of writing her love poetry (I've been known to write from time to time) and presenting the ring at the conclusion of a sweet and witty sonnet, but that would still qualify as a performance. Maybe if I gave her a sort of gift basket of love--a poem for every year we'd been together, accompanied my a handmade token of my affection that related somehow to the poem. Yes. This was a good plan.

I was only a week away from our anniversary weekend when I started thinking down this avenue, so anything I did had to be feasible to create in only a few days with materials I had on hand or could easily acquire. Naturally, my free time for the week disappeared with other anniversary preparations (such as figuring out where we were going), an impromptu Venture Bros. marathon, and an entire evening unexpectedly spent with the girl who was never going to become my fiancée at this rate.

I ended up with just one evening to (a) call my family and inform them of my engagement plan, (b) figure out what my engagement plan was, (c) actually prepare my engagement plan, and (d) pack for our anniversary trip to Small Romantic Town, USA. Instead of doing any of this, I went back through the e-mails I'd been neglecting for the past several weeks and watched all those funny videos my one friend sent me in mid-December.

Meanwhile, I plotted.

Then, in an instant, it clicked.

And the answer was Mega Man.

I just hoped I had enough LEGOs.

I'll bet the suspense is unbearable.

Full disclosure and conclusion tomorrow.

And probably not as many one-sentence paragraphs.


[Continued in Part 3.]


A Philosophical Nerd said...

Congratulations on your proposal! I can't wait to read how Mega Man helped you pop the question. :)

JoeReviewer said...


Congragulations dude! I can't wait to hear the end, though I know it will be a happy one.

Flashman85 said...

Thanks, gentlemen!