For me, it was always more like this:
When I did get engaged, this past March, my feelings about the prospect of someone voluntarily committing to hang out with me — every day, for always — evolved rapidly.
If I had to characterize it in one word — outside of "flaffling," or flatteringly baffling — I would call it a relief. Not necessarily because I was worried it would never happen (although that might have been a legitimate concern), but because it's actually quite liberating.
No matter how long you've been with someone, how "serious" you are or how intertwined your lives have become, it's indescribably freeing to suddenly be able talk about the future without constantly having to couch the conversation in hypotheticals. "If you and I end up together..." "If we ever have kids..."
Now when my fiancé (weird) and I discuss our future, our hopes for it and our plans, it’s with a singularity that didn’t exist before. My future is his future. His children my children.
It's strange; It’s as if everything, and nothing, has changed.
Even when you come back from a celebratory weekend away, as we did, and get straight back to day-to-day doldrums like laundry and dishes, conversations about how things are going at work, ambitions spoken aloud and simple insights are all given a new, shared weight.
For some people, getting engaged comes with a newly significant landmark — a corner table at their favorite restaurant, perhaps, or a particularly scenic overlook.
For me, it's a lamp post in the parking lot of a classic Houston Mexican joint, the Original Ninfa's on Navigation.
See, I ruined my own proposal at nearly every turn. I almost canceled the weekend girls' trip that was also my roommate and manpanion's only chance to ring shop in peace. Then when he went to ask my mother's permission after a handful of attempts to catch her at home (sure that a non-spontaneous meeting would get back to me), I decided that night would be a good time to catch up with an old family friend — whose front porch faces my Mom's front door.
And when he asked me to dinner one utterly un-suspicious Thursday night, I double booked him with a late dinner/early happy hour, steamrolling his plan to propose in the intimate privacy of our shared apartment. Instead, I insisted he pick me up after a couple of cocktails with a girlfriend and spent the car ride condemning mixed man-signals on her behalf — all while he tried, in vain, to steer the conversation to our beginnings (in which this restaurant played a part) and our future.
Craving queso and not in the mood for "a little walk" around the not-so-scenic surrounding neighborhood, he was forced to hit a knee in the gravel parking lot in a last-ditch, do-or-die final moment of privacy. I wasn't sure if he was tying his shoe or had been iced. When it finally sunk in, I dropped my purse and joined him in the dirt; the height disparity wasn't working for me.
The first person to know/congratulate us, technically, was the security guard, who happened to motor by in his golf cart. It occurs to me that he may have thought, initially, that I had lost an earring or something.
It's not the most elaborate proposal story or maybe the most conventionally romantic, but it is my favorite.
It's an honor just to be considered, truly
It has all the necessary elements: secrecy, the suspense of asking permission for silly tradition's sake, champagne, melted cheese.
The boy I love and with whom I share most everything went to great lengths over many months, acting completely alone, to urge our comfortable, functional as-is relationship into deeper, uncharted and more profound territory. Sink or float, we were tying up.
In the end — despite NYT trend pieces on the subject — I'd say it’s not so much how someone asks you to marry them, but that someone asks you to marry them. To like a person enough to propose hanging out with them until you’re dead is pretty huge. (Especially considering that, depending on your religious beliefs, you might not be able to count on even that reprieve.)
Days later as I assessed our new same-yet-different circumstances, I observed aloud that we were going to be just fine in life. "No," he said, "We'll be happy."
So, in conclusion: