So it was with some trepidation that I walked to Angelo's Pawn Shop on Santa Monica Boulevard, bent on buying Andrew an engagement ring. It was clear to me that I had to take matters into my own hands—but I was about to rewrite the rules, and it was scary.
"I'd like to buy an engagement ring for my boyfriend," I told the brawny, salt-and-pepper-haired man behind the counter. After a long pause, he threw up his hands. "Well, it is a new millennium," he said, grabbing a tray of diamond-encrusted men's rings.
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He pulled out a gold band with a sparkling horseshoe and held it out to me. "Um… no. I was thinking something a little more plain," I said. "Maybe a white gold band?" Angelo was disappointed, but he complied. And $97 later, I walked out with the ring that I would give to Andrew. The Lure of the Engagement Ring
My plan was to propose in Vail during our Christmas snowboarding trip. That gave me two weeks to figure out exactly how a woman asks a man to marry her, and to find the courage to do it. I had questions: Does kneeling apply to women, too? Should I arrange a candlelit dinner? Do I need an audience for dramatic effect? I decided to wing it, with one condition: I had to ask before midnight on Christmas.
But as our vacation progressed and as the hours wore on, I was overcome with doubt. Thanks to the combined effects of severe altitude sickness and the flu, I had been carting around a portable oxygen tank for days. I spent Christmas Day vomiting, and hadn't showered. I was wearing gray plaid flannel pajamas, my hair was matted to my head, and I had tubes coming out of my nose.
In other words, I was about to ask a man to spend the rest of his life with me, and I had never looked worse. Was I crazy? I wouldn't agree to marry me right now. Hell, in this condition, I wouldn't even take myself to the movies.
As the clock crept closer to my midnight deadline, I kept stalling. At 11:45, we kissed goodnight and Andrew rolled over. I slid out of bed and pulled the ring box out of the nightstand. I held it for a moment and then, fumbling in the darkness, placed the box back in the drawer. I crawled back into bed, defeated. I had failed.
Weeks later, back in L. A., without the romance of the holidays, I was without a plan. My insecurities were at a full boil: how would I be judged for asking my boyfriend to marry me? I pictured my friends and family secretly wondering, "Wow, she had to ask him? Poor thing."
Meanwhile, I continued to prod Andrew about marriage, hoping he would change his mind. I had the ring, but I didn't have the confidence to follow through. Driving home one night, I pressed extra hard. I can still hear his brusque reply: "I am not particularly motivated to get married."
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Andrew parked on our seaside street, and I ran into the apartment. I threw off my clothes, turned off the light and jumped into bed, pulling the covers high.
When Andrew came in and sat against his pillow, I suddenly threw back the blankets, flicked on the light and grabbed the ring box. I opened it and with a thud planted it on his nightstand. "There's your engagement ring," I said, my face wet with tears. I crawled back under the covers.
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"Babe," he said, his voice full of tenderness and apology. He leaned down and kissed me for a long time. "I love you. I know that I am going to spend the rest of my life with you." We kissed again and I cried some more. We looked at each other and smiled at the absurdity of the moment. Then, close to my ear, he whispered, "Let's get married." Still grinning, I replied, "Let's."