"What if no one ‘likes’ our status?"
By: Christopher Post
My fiancée is an art historian and she had never been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. When the Met had one of her favorite paintings on display, Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme, I had the perfect opportunity to propose.
Wanting to keep it a surprise, I told her that my good friend was buying a place in New York City and needed our help with the move—which was true except for the needing help part.
My friend and I planned the morning of the proposal down to the finest detail: my fiancée and I would get to the Met as soon as they opened so there would be less people hanging around; my friend would come in separately with the ring (it was summer and the ring box was bulky); I would take her up to her favorite painting, wander away, meet my friend near the bathrooms, get the ring, and go back and propose.
I had a ring, a ruse, a location, and a plan.
A number of bizarre and utterly ridiculous things ran through my head that day, but also some enlightening, happy things too—here they are:
1. Don’t throw up.
This one worried me as soon as I got up in the morning. I was nervous and my stomach knew it. I ate light.
2. Don’t forget the ring.
Obviously I was nervous about forgetting the ring. However, this thought wouldn’t stop pestering me even after I handed the ring off to my accomplice. He didn’t forget it, but of course I worried until it was on my fiancée’s finger.
3. I really hope I don’t get lost.
I am directionally challenged (I’ve gotten lost with a fully functioning GPS) and the Met is enormous. When I left my fiancée at Pygmalion and Galatea to find my friend who I was sure didn’t have the ring, I was terrified I wouldn’t find my way back. Luckily a friendly docent spotted me and said, “You’re the one getting engaged! He’s in the bathroom with the ring,” then made sure I got back to my fiancée.
4. Don’t pass out.
Visions of making a spectacular faceplant ran through my head right up to the actual proposal.
5. What if she passes out?
Of the two of us, it was more likely I’d pass out. But as I was headed down the hall, ring in hand, this nasty little voice popped into my head and said, “You’re going to make her pass out and then she’ll never marry you.”
6. What if she says no?
I am pretty sure that this is an extremely common thought to have, but I had pre-proposed several times. I basically asked her every couple of months if she would marry me if I asked. At first she said yes, but eventually she just rolled her eyes.
I was 99 percent sure she’d say yes after an actual proposal, but I was still worried about that 1 percent.
7. What if she says yes?
I think this one freaked me out the most. I was so wrapped up in the plan, and the ring, and the actual proposal that I didn’t really stop to think about all the things that were going to happen after. I wasn’t having cold feet—it was just the immensity of the after that caught me off guard for a moment.
8. Don’t forget my lines.
My fiancée and I are both feminists, so gendered pronouns, relationship labels, and the language used to talk about marriage are of particular importance to us. (When I read her this list, she said: “Make sure you put in there that I told you that you didn’t need a ring and you didn’t need you to get on one knee. I want people to know that there are other ways for people to get married and be happy.”)
So I wanted to get it right.
When I caught her eye as I got down on one knee, I was repeating over and over in my head, “You’re my best friend, and my partner. I love you. Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
9. Don’t forget to get down on one knee.
I remembered. And, maybe I should have forgotten. It gave away the surprise. When my knees bend, they crack and my fiancée always tells people that she was oblivious up to the very moment she heard my knee crack behind her because she knew what it meant.
10. What if I fall over when I’m on one knee?
I wanted to make this moment memorable and special, not a segment on Tosh.0, which was a possibility as my friend was taking pictures.
11. Don’t stop breathing.
This was a mantra. I was worried about so many things I had to actually make a conscious effort to take in air and let it back out.
12. Make sure you don’t shake and drop the ring.
I quake when I am nervous. And after all the effort put into not forgetting the ring I wanted to make sure I didn’t drop it on the floor.
13. This is meant to be.
After she said ‘yes,’ we called my mom. She told us that her parents’ wedding anniversary was August 22, the same day we got engaged. My fiancée’s engagement ring is vintage, and we both have strong connections to our family, so this was particularly special for us.
14. What if we call her parents and they don’t answer the phone?
Her parents are stoic people. I am not. I find their lack of emotional displays intimidating. I kept thinking, “They are going to refuse to pick up the phone because she said yes to a loud, boisterous outsider.”
Again, my fears were unfounded. They both offered their congratulations.
However, when she told her dad she got married he said, “to who?” What a comedian.
15. Can I afford the hotel?
After an engagement ring and a flight to NYC, the bank account was getting anemic. I cut it close, but I managed not to overdraw. I am still unsure which was more impressive, the fact that she said yes, or the fact that I didn’t incur a $35 fee of wrath from my bank.
16. What if no one ‘likes’ our status?
Nothing is official until it’s Facebook official, right? All that day, I was legitimately concerned about the response our engagement would get on Facebook and what that might reveal about our friends’ and family’s true thoughts about our relationship.
I was, of course, overreacting—and more to the point, who cares? But a healthy amount of likes, shares, and comments didn’t hurt.
17. I am incredibly lucky.
One of the most prominent and prevalent thoughts I had all day, even as I was nervously walking back to propose, was an overwhelming sense of good fortune. Here I was getting the chance to ask my best friend in the entire world if she’d hang out with me for an incredibly long time.
I still wonder how I convinced her that dating me was a good idea, let alone agreeing to marry me.
18. Here we go.
When the dust settled and we slipped into bed that night I thought, “Here we go.” This wasn’t a conclusion—it was an introduction. Years of ups, downs, in-betweens, babies, jobs, joys, life, and living were just starting and I was excited that I was doing it with the one lying next to me.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.