Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I am posting this today since I will be doing my regular What’s Good post tomorrow, This is one of my annoying posts that is just links to other posts. I have put together a collection of my posts I have written that have a love theme. Enjoy.
I follow a lot of reporters for the Washington Post on Twitter. One of them is Lisa Bonos who writes about dating and being single in the DC area. The articles don’t apply to me but Lisa did a program for me at the library so I always look at her posts. Not too long ago there was a lot of talk about Pete Buttigieg and his airport proposal. There was the question: Are airports romantic? All of that made me think of when I proposed to my wife in a very unromantic place – a parking lot. How did we get there? Keep reading to find out.
The idea of me proposing was not a surprise. We had been dating for a while. We had talked about marriage. We had looked at rings together. We already knew who we wanted as a wedding photographer(a mutual friend from college). All that remained was the actual purchase of the ring and the proposal.
I went back to the jewelry store and bought the ring she liked. I waited and thought about the perfect time and place for the proposal. I’m not good at stuff like that, so I decided on a night and decided we would go out for dinner and I would propose there. I told her to pick any place she wanted for dinner. I forgot that she would not pick any place fancy. I was hoping at least for a place that would not be a terrible choice for a romantic event like a marriage proposal. She decided she wanted to go to a new pizza place that has just opened. It wasn’t optimal, but I held out hope that it would be a romantic enough atmosphere for toe proposal.
It wasn’t It was very bright. The tables were very close together. It was way too casual for a proposal. I spent the dinner trying to decide what to do. Do I go ahead and propose there regardless of the atmosphere? Do I wait for another night and a better place? Can the plan be salvaged? I ultimately decided against proposing in the restaurant. It was loud. It was bright. People were sitting way too close. It was not optimal.
As we left the restaurant I decided that I still wanted to propose that night. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I was going to lose my nerve. We had already basically decided we were getting married at some point. So, since I decided tonight was the night, before we got to the car I said(not sure of this is the exact wording, but close)
“I really wish you had chosen a different place for dinner because now I’m going to have to propose to you in a pizza place parking lot”
She overlooked the very unromantic location(and all of my flaws) and said yes. And here we are – married for almost 29 years.
A friend sent me the above photo recently. It was taken a year or so after I started dating my now wife. We were a mismatched pair. She was an upper middle class suburbanite who still lived with her parents and commuted to school. She was on a full scholarship and on track to get a masters degree in four years. I was a poor small town kid who had basically been on my own financially since I started college. I eked by on grants and loans. I would take a bit longer than four years to even get my bachelors degree. If not for both of us being involved in the Baptist Student Union there is no way we would have ever met. So, you can imagine that meeting each family might be interesting.
Weirdly, I met her parents long before we were a couple. My friends Terri and Chi had invited me to go with them to something( I can’t remember where we were going). They picked me up early on a Saturday morning and then we went to pick up their other friend who lived off campus. That friend was someone I kind of knew, but not really. We got to the house and she was not ready to go yet. That is something that has never changed. Her parents were eating breakfast and asked if we wanted something to eat. A poor college student never turns down an opportunity for free food, so I said yes and had breakfast with these random people. At one point I remember trying to cut something and it flying off my plate. Not a great first impression. I’m not sure they remembered me when I was introduced as the boyfriend. I was much more aware of the impression I was making at that point. They were accepting of me as the boyfriend. They were obviously not happy with me as the fiancé. They grew to tolerate me as the husband.
I was anxious about the part of her meeting my family. I was not ashamed of my family, but after spending time with her in her suburban, upper middle class house, the small house I grew up in seemed even smaller. I was also a little worried about my family accepting her. I’m not sure why. The main thing I do remember is that there was a lot of drama between my mom and my little sister back then. I also remember that as we arrived at my mom’s house that day they had had a fight and my sister had taken off somewhere. She was an adult, but my mom was still concerned. The first thing my first serious girlfriend saw of my family was my mom frantically telling me my sister has disappeared. Not the first impression you want. She would eventually get used to the drama and the loudness of my family.