Today’s post is our first from APW Intern Madeline. The second I read it, I fell in love with her. Not just because she proposed to her boyfriend, but because she made me laugh so hard I did a spit take on my screen (true). So here she is, in her own words, to tell you how you don’t need anything fancy (or even an engagement chicken) to decide to get married. You just need your very own couch.
I wanted a proposal story the way I wanted an origins story of the “Our eyes met across a crowded room” variety. Actually we met online dating (our eyes met in an “Are you from OkCupid?” kind of way) and I asked him to marry me, nearly two years later, on our couch. There was no one-knee-age; merely, as our friend Jeff characterized it, a “casual lean.” It’s not the story I was expecting, but it’s our story nonetheless, and it turns out to be a pretty good one.
Proposing is not as easy as it looks on YouTube, even though the answer was never in doubt. We’d picked out the ring together. Like many an APW reader, I’d already spent hours on the Bario Neal website and we took the Megabus down to Philadelphia to try on my favorites. (“She got the ring made by Barry O’Neil,” my U.K. friends tell each other.) We came back to New York, and at some point several weeks later, the package arrived in the mail. Now we had the ring but I wasn’t wearing it yet, so we weren’t engaged—what now?
An awkward pause ensued. I’d check in every now and then and we’d agree that we were still planning to get married. But something was wanting. I had a nagging feeling that he was supposed to ask. Formality would be involved, and maybe, I don’t know, violins or something. The longer I waited, the bigger The Proposal seemed to loom, and the harder it seemed to move ahead without it.
Then I remembered an email from Bust Magazine about Engagement Chicken. You know, the recipe that’s so good he whips out the rock and makes you his kitchen staff for life? I’d rolled my eyes along with the good readers of Bust when I’d read it, but I’d fallen into the same trap as the poor girlfriend in the apron, looking for some external event to transform me, and our relationship, into exalted, proposal-worthy territory. We didn’t need it, I realized, and I didn’t even want it. Everything I wanted was already right in front of me.
Reader, I asked him. I debated dragging him somewhere romantic, like the Botanic Gardens, or the spot in Prospect Park where, trembling a little with nerves, he put his arm around me on our second date. But we’re busy people, the moment never seemed right. So there we were on the couch one Sunday. Shall I just go for it? I thought to myself.
Outside our window on Franklin Avenue, some dude walking past was freestyling along with his ipod, “Yeah, mmhmm, yeah yeah,” he yelled. I felt sick with anxiety, but the answer was clear. I turned to Brandon.
“Will you marry me?” I asked.
“Yeah, mmhmm, yeah yeah,” the guy in the street said.
“Hang on,” Brandon said.
He fetched the ring. We asked each other. We called the families. We drank champagne. That was it—we had successfully Proposed. We finally shared how we’d been separately worrying that it had to be perfect, and involve rose petals, and other things that are not part of our daily experience. As it turned out, our living room couch was all we needed.
It makes me sad when people hear our news and turn to Brandon to ask how he popped the question, and then it makes me proud. Sad because of the assumptions we all still make, even though we think we know better, then proud that Brandon and I bucked those assumptions. We popped each other’s questions, we say. That’s our proposal story, and I couldn’t be happier.
Photo from Madeline’s personal collection