We got engaged September 12, 2008.
In early September 2008 Kat and I celebrated our year anniversary (of dating). Weather-wise, it was a gruesome evening. The rain and wind were unbelievable. Of course it was this particular Saturday evening that we had set aside to run around town. I had arranged cocktails at the Mandarin and dinner at Jean-Georges as a surprise. At that point in our relationship, Kat and I had spoken about marriage in an abstract way. We had looked at rings together. I had even said once - under the influence - that I'd already purchased an engagement ring (which was true)!!! No official plans had been made but I remember thinking that Kat must have been expecting a proposal, perhaps that very night. As we sipped on our drinks at the hotel bar overlooking Central Park, I told Kat that I loved her, and that I did NOT have a ring in my pocket. She looked disappointed. However (I continued saying), not only would I ask her to marry me within the week, but she would know I was going to ask because I would be wearing a suit. I didn't often wear suits, so I thought it was pretty clever of me. A week passed, and still I had not proposed. Then Friday came, and we planned to meet after work at a hotel bar (we like hotel bars) by Gramercy Park, near Katherine's apartment. I decided this would be the night (and I had only just collected the ring from the jeweler that afternoon). Before meeting Kat, I went all the way home to change, and made my way back to her neighborhood. She's arrived first, and was standing in the lobby when I emerged from the revolving door - in my suit - and slightly wet from the rain (again with the rain). Her smile was perfect. We proceeded into the bar and quickly consumed our cocktails. Although the surroundings were pleasant, we both felt that it just wasn't the right atmosphere for a guy to get down on one knee. We didn't say it directly, but I think we were on the same page. We decided - not that anything was happening of course - that we should leave the bar, head back to Kat's apartment, and along the way - for no reason whatsoever - buy a bottle of champagne. When we arrived, Kat decided that at that very moment she needed to check the vacuum cleaner. Luckily, I needed the moment she provided to retrieve the ring from my pocket, so the timing worked out nicely. When she turned around, I walked up to her, dropped to one knee, and asked her to marry me.
I knew I wanted to spend my life with Reg, and by the summer of 2008 I knew he felt the same: the looks he gave me, the way he held me. (May every person be lucky enough to be so loved.) We had talked about marriage, too – heck, we’d even looked at rings. As our one-year anniversary approached in late August, I became convinced we were going to get engaged soon.
For our one-year anniversary, he took me to Jean-Georges for a surprise. Before dinner, we were having drinks at the Mandarin and the subject of engagement came up. Reg leaned in, seriously, and told me: I am not going to propose to you tonight. (I had kinda thought he might!) However, within one week, I will propose. And you’ll know it’s going to happen because I’ll show up in my suit. It could happen outside your office one day after work, or I could show up on your stoop – you just never know.
I have always known that patience is not one of my virtues, but for the next week this character trait was magnified. I am your typical Type-A high-stress Wall Street lawyer; I don’t generally wait for things to happen to me! In order to deal with the stress, I went into let’s-plan-everything mode. Let’s cook chicken on Monday night! I said. Let’s try that new African place on Thursday night! He had told me that on Saturday we were going to help his mother look at houses, upstate, for about 8 hours, and I was sure that this was all a grand plan to get me in front of some beautiful vista and propose to me. I became so persuaded, in fact, that I didn’t think too much about it when we decided to meet for drinks on Friday night after work. (In fact, I think I showed up in flip flops, with my glasses on, and with pen smudged across my face.)
And he showed up in his suit.
We hung out for a little while at the bar. Should we order champagne? He asked. Not that anything’s happening tonight. My Midwestern side came out: Don’t be silly, we could buy a nice bottle of champagne for what we’d pay for one glass of it at this fancy bar. So we ordered cocktails instead, all the while trying to keep our cool. Reg’s eyes kept darting around the room, taking in all the people around us – we were seated right by the door so people kept coming in, standing nearby, and talking. We downed our drinks rather quickly and decided to split.
En route to my apartment, we bought a nice bottle of champagne. (Dom Perignon 1998 Vintage nice.) Not that we’re celebrating anything, we said.
We got to my apartment, and I was sort of like, huh . . . well . . . not sure what to do now. I decided that instead of just hanging out and waiting for him to propose, that I would look for my Roomba vacuum, which I had started that morning. (The Roomba is a flat disk-shaped robot-vacuum that never works right for me. That morning, I had heard it get stuck somewhere but had been running too late to track it down and fix it.) So I decided, at that exact moment, to look for the Roomba by dropping to my hands and knees and poking around under the couch. (I found it.) (Yes, in retrospect, it doesn’t really seem like a wise thing to have done, but HEY, I’d never been in that situation before!)
I got up off my hands and knees, turned around, and Reg was on one knee, with a ring in his hand. He asked me if I would marry him, and in response I tried to jam the ring onto my finger and hug Reg. This plan of action didn’t work out so well, and I quickly said something like, duh, wait, let me answer you – YES, I’ll marry you. Then I let him put the ring on my finger and we kissed, hugged, drank champagne . . . and ordered Mexican food while I called my parents and brother.