Toys and Tater Tots: A Proposal Story

I feel like I’m reading a lot of stories and seeing a lot of media that feature women who complain about a lack of engagement ring. One reason for this might be a lack of representation of women proposing to men; the only pop culture portrayal I can think of is Monica proposing to Chandler on Friends. And he was already planning on proposing and had a ring. (To be fair, I don’t watch much TV anymore, so there might be more women-proposing-to-men stories now.) (Ed. note – Lorelei proposed to Luke on Gilmore Girls.) So I thought I’d share my proposal-to-him story, which took place in 2008.

D.B. and I had a whirlwind romance, which I don’t really recommend. Or do go for whirlwind. Do whatever works for you. He’d been married and divorced in his earlier twenties and was not interested in doing all that again. I never really pictured myself getting married.

We met in February 2008 through MySpace (yup, that’s right) and officially started dating in April.

In September, we were walking through the mall. We passed by the fancy dress shop — bridesmaid, prom, bridal, tuxes  — and I looked in the windows. After all, the dresses are shiny, and the main dress on display looked like a friend’s wedding dress. D.B. made fun of me for looking, so I said, “Well, I can’t help it that I want to marry you.” He sputtered, “What?” and I replied, “You heard what I said.” He hemmed and hawed and said something about not having seen a ring yet.

So I started looking, spending months poring over rings. I tried to ask, indirectly, what he might like jewelry-wise. I debated getting an engagement necklace or pocket watch instead.  I would have to hide my laptop so he couldn’t see all the tabs and favorites with “engagement/wedding ring” at the top.

I decided on Gillett’s Jewellers, which is based in Australia. I chose them for several reasons: they had several good basic rings that were inexpensive and styles I knew D.B. would like. They offered customization. And they had black diamonds and black sapphires (his favorite color is black). Plus, you know, Australia is cool.

I placed my order on October 31, knowing it would take up to 20 days for the ring to be made, and another 5–20 days for it to get here. I ultimately decided to design my own ring. It’s titanium, the basic silver-grey color, with a light (brushed) finish. It has a very very small black sapphire. Diamond seemed too traditional, and anyway, the necklace I wore most of the time then, and which he gave me, was sapphire.

A  titanium ring with a black stone.
The engagement ring I designed for D.B.

I decided I was going to propose at Christmas. But as I waited and waited for the ring, I realized I couldn’t wait anymore. November.  I was hoping it would arrive on a Friday so I could say, “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s go somewhere:  the coast, Multnomah Falls, the Rose Garden!” But of course it did not arrive. It arrived on a Monday. And he was too tired and too busy working for me to pop the question.

By the way, the customs envelope didn’t say “engagement ring” but “watch parts.” I had ordered it gift wrapped, and it was making me crazy that I couldn’t see it. I talked to my mom, and she told me a story about opening up the wrapping on my dad’s engagement ring to her. So I took the box into the bathroom, cut the tape, and took a look. I was glad I did because the ring was in upside down.

The next day, we decided to have dinner at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. I love McMenamin’s, which is a local chain, with service and food that are rarely above mediocre. However, they are open late, have a nice atmosphere, and have free wi-fi.

I didn’t want to ask the question until the waiter took our order, and, as usual, the waiter was very slow. D.B. suggested I pull out my laptop to see if there was a connection (I’d brought it along in case I wanted to grade. Right.). I sort of demurred, so he pulled out his laptop instead, though he ultimately put it away.

Finally, the waiter took our order. I said, “Oh, I thought of something I wanted to show you!” and pulled out my laptop. Earlier that day, one of my friends had posted a video on facebook. Her boyfriend, another school friend, had a job with (the now defunct), making videos and such. This particular video was about proposing! Only using a stuffed animal instead of a ring. So I showed D.B. the video and we both laughed about it.

Then I pulled the box out of my back pack. I pushed it across the table and said, “Well, that’s a convenient lead in.”

He stared at me. He had a tater tot in his mouth. He said, “Is this real?”

I squeaked, “Yes. Will you marry me?”

He said, “Yes!”

Then I reminded him to actually open the box. Which he did, verrrrrry slowllllllly. He was about to put it on his finger, then handed it to me. I put it on his finger. He says he loved it. And that he had no idea I was going to propose.

We immediately called our mothers.

Was I scared? Yes. I was worried he’d say “no” and I had this whole separate story of, like “please accept this ring as a token of love” or something. I was worried he wouldn’t like the ring.

A few weeks later, he got me a ring, although I told him he didn’t have to. He wore both his engagement ring and wedding band until we upgraded our wedding rings last year; the new wedding ring was much bigger than the old one, so the engagement ring was retired.

And that’s my proposal story!


8 replies on “Toys and Tater Tots: A Proposal Story”

I don’t think she did, Natasha! I remember thinking (after I had blubbed for awhile) that it DID seem surprising that she didn’t!

My now-spouse and I kind of proposed to each other. We just sort of had an ongoing conversation like so:
Now-spouse: “What do you think about marriage?”
(month later, after some discussion of hypothetical marriage procedures)
Now-spouse: “Soo … the marriage thing …?”
Me: “Marriage … mayhaps. WEDDING NOOO”
*discussion on all the things pertaining to scary anti-feminist weddings and evangelical tribe family*
Now-spouse: “We could even elope, or not do weird anti-feminist things”
Me: Hmm …
(month later)
Me: So … marriage yes let’s do it. Wedding maybe fall?
Now-spouse: YES

And we bought each other leather engagement briefcases.

I love this! Thanks for sharing. :)

I came very close to proposing to my husband. We had dated for years and acted married already. The only thing that held me back was everyone telling me not to do it. They made me feel silly which is silly in itself. I wish I would have just gone for it!

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