Indecent Proposal

engagementring-animation.gifI walked into the Book Club meeting at Joe’s Bistro a little late. Laura caught my attention and gestured to Liz. Or more specifically, Liz’s finger. There, on her left hand, was a large, sparkly diamond. We squealed. She was officially engaged.

Naturally, we book clubbers then focused mainly on marriage proposals (we did manage to decide on our next book club read, The Other Boleyn Girl, which is supposedly much better than the movie). Then Liz was forced at fork-point to tell us every detail of the proposal. It turns out she got just a tad grumpy when, as she was mentally preparing herself for a James at the Mill proposal that evening, her boyfriend nonchalantly asked her if she might just want to stay home instead. Bad question, since he’s the one who told her where they were going and she was left to make assumptions from there. She quickly panicked and thought he might have changed his mind about proposing after all. Fortunately, it all ended well that same evening with a ring on her finger and phone calls to the parents. After Liz finished the story, several of us chimed in with our own proposal stories that went horribly wrong (read: took way too freaking long to transpire).

I relayed how I, too, turned into a raving lunatic after my now-husband kept making me wait to receive the ring I knew he had in his possession. Then, finally, I knew this was IT. We were walking around the Fayetteville Square at Christmas-time and planned to take a romantic carriage ride. I pretended it was just a plain ‘ole ride around the square in a Cinderella carriage. I tried to act naturally. Then it started raining and my good mood dissolved like sugar. We scurried back to his car through buckets of stinging rain and somewhere between Center Street and East I stopped feeling angry. I was actually laughing by the time I slammed the car door shut. I decided to chill out and figure it would happen when it happened. When we got back to my apartment I apologized for my grumpy behavior that evening. Then I went in to blow dry my hair, took a moment to stick out my tongue out at the image in my mirror and then pulled on some warm, comfortable clothes.

I came out of my bedroom with a better hairdo and a sweeter attitude (thank goodness) and found a tender scene: my sweetie had dimmed the lights, turned on the Christmas tree and placed a picnic on the apartment floor.

We had a snack (my husband knows that when I’m Oscar the Grouch he can soothe the green beast with sustenance) and chatted about the weather. Then, suddenly, he scrambled onto one knee and produced a little black box from his pocket. After all those days of expectant agitation, I was truly surprised.

I said yes, absolutely. Partly because he still wanted to marry me, theatrics and all. And partly because I wanted. that. ring.

After the short version of my proposal, it was Erin’s turn to tell about her engagement-gone-bad. Then others chimed it. It seems the lady book clubbers were full of good stories about bad proposals. We wondered, “Do bad proposals lead to good marriages?” It was funny to discuss, but I have to say I don’t believe it’s a predictor. For five years I interviewed married couples about how they met for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s weekly Right Time, Right Place feature. Inevitably, we discussed how he proposed. The proposals ranged from sitting in a car outside AQ Chicken to elaborate measures on bended knee.

One of the sweetest was a guy who was attempting to propose quietly at Thorncrown Chapel just before a tour bus of elderly women descended upon the popular wedding site. After the initial bumbling, he went ahead and surprised his girlfriend with a proposal, after which the white-haired audience clapped loudly when she said yes.

However, I do believe that many women get a little nutty when it comes to pining for that ring. It calls to us from that black box in his underwear drawer like Tolkien’s “one ring.”

Luckily, we transform back into the wonderful, loving creatures we once were as soon as “the precious” is placed squarely on the ring finger of our left hand. And we tell ourselves that our bad behavior just adds character to the story. And we feel a little embarrassed. At least I still do.

How did your husband propose? Was it romantic or did you force him to hand over the ring at gunpoint? Click on the word “comment” below and let’s dish.

[Thanks to Webweaver for the animated ring clip art)


  1. We looked at rings but when nothing happened in the two or three weeks after I guessed he had decided the time wasn’t right. The thing is, he’s a planner, and he was just taking his sweet time so it would be a surprise. (Yes, that annoyed me beyond belief.) We had an overnight trip planned and he was planning to propose when we got where we were going. Unfortunately, I had to work late, and he ended up taking me to this somewhat secluded spot at about 11 p.m. He was nervous and walking so fast when we got out of the car that I could barely keep up — and I had no idea where he was going so I sure didn’t want to get lost. When we got to the spot he had chosen he got down on one knee, pulled out a plastic ring with blue hair and a face and popped the question. I said yes in spite of the jewelry. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that he pulled the real ring out of his pocket, and as he presented it to me, he said, ‘I thought you might rather have the ring you picked at the jewelry store instead of that one.’ I cracked up a little because it wasn’t actually the ring I picked. (I loved it, though, because it was sort of a compilation of two or three I had told him I liked, if that makes any sense.)
    I still have the fuzzy blue ring, but it doesn’t really go with my wardrobe so I don’t wear it often. ; )

  2. “A plastic ring with blue hair and a face” is quite creative! I love that the real ring wasn’t what you actually picked (but that you loved it anyway). It sounds like you have one of the good guys!

  3. My husband and I had both been in terrible past relationships so the thought of marriage was very scary for both of us. However, age does make things tick and we were so in love…so why not bring up the subject right? I brought it up, MONTHS later we looked at rings…then I dropped it. I didnt want to scare him compeletly away. We looked at rings in Oct and I knew that maybe by Valentines he would be warmed up to the idea and we could have a summer wedding. Well..he totally surprised me they day before Christmas! We were living together and there were tons of presents under the tree (which was another dead give away he would given me a ring AND spend that much money on gifts). After we opened our gifts I gave him his card. We always give special cards and write a soppy, tear jerking note :). He said “OH! your card, I gotta go get it!”. He ran to the back and handed me my card. As I was struggling to read it without crying, he was getting ‘on bended knee”. The last sentence of the card said “I cant wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Wanna?”.

    It still melts me how he was able to surprise me and pull that off. Needless to say, an hour later I came down with a violent stomach virus! yikes!

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