Now, before you ladies get all depressed and furrow-browed, allow me to add that before I became engaged you didn't have a chance anyway, and, truth be told, I am probably too good for you. So there's that.
Yes, after almost exactly two and a half years of dating (and living together for the heavy majority of that), Nichole and myself will be tying the knot. Then, after we finish with our shoes, we'll get hitched. Then, after finishing with the horse and carriage, we'll get married. Tentatively in May of 2009, but I am getting ahead of myself.
I decided to do this for two reasons. The first and foremost, I felt it was time. She, being a member of the female species, has been ready for awhile now, but I was not. Not for lack of love or enthusiasm for the idea, I just did not feel the time was right. It is now.
Or was now? Is now was? None of that sounds right.
The other reason was where we are in our relationship and in life. We have put in for a loan to buy a house. Her daughter has been referring to me as 'Stepdad' for several months, without prompting of any sort from either Nichole or I. This was something she cooked up and stuck with by herself. The opportunity just presented itself very well and the timing seemed to fit.
Plus, she told me I had to or she would go "All Lorena Bobbit on your ass, bitch."*
I must confess to not understanding that statement fully, but the look in her eyes mad me think it had something to do with severing my penis with a sharp object so I went ring shopping.
I had already decided early on that this would be a secret. Her family is made up almost entirely of women, with a few men scattered in to propagate the species. This lends to news traveling fast amongst households. For this reason, the majority of her family were to be kept in the dark until plans were finalized.
This theory was applied to her friends as well. Now, I do think her friends would have kept things quiet, but when drinks are involved, people tend to get free with their words and I wanted no hints whatsoever. Sometimes people trying to act innocent shine like a guilty shining beacon, so I made the choice to say nothing. Most of my family were unaware as well, and before the actual day I was proposing only three of my friends knew.
I have heard rumblings about my decision to keep things quiet since, and to those rumblings I say Too Bad. I did this the way I wanted to, and no one else had a choice in the matter. Just wanted to get that out there.
I enlisted the aid of one of Nichole's friends who has been her confidant in all things wedding. This was the girl she did the most marriage talking with, as this is also one of the only married friends. I, on the other hand, have none. So it was Mrs. H that I brought into the fold. I almost didn't, though, as it was the same Mrs. H who got a little tipsy at a bar and told Nichole we had talked about proposal plans. You know what I'm talking about, Mrs. H, don't you play coy.
Forgive and forget is what I never say, but in this case an exception could be made. Besides, she promised over text message to keep it silent, even from her other friends, and we all know that what is said in text is legally binding. When it was time to buy the ring, Mrs. H and my Mother were both with me.
I had shopped around a smidge with my Mom about a week beforehand, and had settled on the diamond I was purchasing, if not the setting. I did choose one, tentatively, but was having doubts. Luckily, with a suggestion from Mrs. H and some agreement from my Mom, the ring was picked. Once I'm able to get a decent picture of it, I'll add it to this post and erase this sentence.
The reason I did no more shopping was twofold. One, the diamond was awesome and affordable. Two, I had decided on the date, and it really could wait no longer.
The day I chose was February 29th. This, too, was a twofold decision. And upon saying that, I am not altogether sure I am using it correctly. Be that as it may, the meaning stands. First, she was fully expecting me to propose at a concert we were going to attend (and have since attended) on March 7th. Aside from that, she thought it might come on April 13, because the April month is number 4 - her birthday - and the day is number 13 - my birthday. Wow, right?
Second, I just thought it was cool. This is a day that only comes around every four years, much like Haley's Comet - with a 74 year or so difference. Although, according to Mrs. H, girls are supposed to ask the guys during Leap Year. Or is that just that day? Not really sure. It doesn't matter anyway, because you really just don't care. Kudos to your honesty.
I had originally planned to tape a short on-camera piece and have it air during our sports talk show Washington Post Live. I put this idea to the Producer who was to bring it to our News Director. Now, as anyone in TV can tell you, when someone is going to tell you No, they don't just say No. Instead, the SOP for this denial is to simply not tell you anything at all, and avoid you completely until it is too late.
So I had to change my plans, as they told me No by not telling me No. Instead, I chose another video route. I filmed myself proposing and posted in on her MySpace page. Not until the day of, of course.
On that Friday, I called her Mom, and let Mrs. H know she could spread the word - with the rule that no one contacts her in regards to the engagement until after 6:30pm. I wanted to give myself a decent window of opportunity because Nichole is not good at timing. By this I mean when she says she will be home in 15 minutes, it means she has yet to leave work and might be stopping somewhere first. It's a quirk I've become used to and can now plan around.
So when she got home, she went for the computer quicker than I had expected because she had something to show me. I was kind of caught with my pants down, which normally would be a good thing, but in this case was unfortunate. Reason being, I had yet to hit "Post Comment" so the video was just kind of sitting there. Luckily, she wasn't suspicious, she just thought I had done something dumb and was posting this dumb thing I did onto her page in order to spread my dumbness thing throughout the land.
Her quickness on the draw, however, did not give me time to set up the camera on the computer, which I had intended to use to catch her reaction to the actual proposal in a full-frontal angle. I did have a camera set up behind us to catch my Giving Of The Ring.
She sat down, posted the comment, and went to view it. What it began with was myself sitting there, explaining how I had just figured out how to upload videos and put them on the web. This is something that is very easy to do, but it worked as an excuse in this instance. I then went on to ask her how her day was, what she wanted to do that night, and what she wanted to do that weekend. Finally, I asked what she was doing the rest of her life and proposed.
I won't tell you what her immediate response was, but she can leave a comment here and tell you if she would like.
In the end, it was Yes.
I had arranged for all of her friends to be at a local bar that night to celebrate, so we headed that way after a brief champagne toast with some of our family.
All in all, it was successful. The ring looks great, and I sized it correctly. Now comes the wedding talk, but we have a little over a year before we plan on walking down the aisle, so hopefully we can space it out some to make it a little more stress free for both of us.
The only small thing I'm worried about is how she will feel about my already being married in 4 different countries. I mean, what happens outside the US stays outside the US, right?
*Editor's Note: This was a falsified statement used only for dramatic effect. The actual quote is much to coarse for reproduction.