Imagine it’s Saturday night in San Francisco: the night you are planning to pop the big question, the most nerve racking night of your life. They’ve just closed the curtain on the Cirque show. Your hands are clammy and your mind is racing, but the ring box is still safe and secret in your coat pocket, and things are going okay so far. You and the love of your life are leaving the theater. You’ve checked the weather forecast twice a day for the past ten days. Friday rain, Sunday rain, but Saturday was supposed to be clear. But your already-racing heart skips a beat when you emerge from the tent and see it’s pouring rain.
And so it went for Matt and me on November 19, 2011.
Ever since Matt and I made the decision to move to New York together, I knew I wanted to ask him to marry me this fall. I felt like it was far enough away for us to have a chance to get settled, but soon enough to still be a surprise. Plus, I just love the fall. There’s a certain magic about this time of year with Halloween and our dinner-in-a-pumpkin tradition, the start of the snowboarding season, Thanksgiving, the leaves, all of it. And somehow in between that decision and now, New York decided to make same sex marriage legal. Nicely done NY, it’s good of you to be so accommodating.
One question we get asked a lot is how we knew who would do the asking. It was never something we actually decided. But I knew I wanted to do it, mainly, I think, because Matt is so into anything wedding, and is the type of person who is really fun to do things like this for. He had given me a few of his classic-Matt-not-so-subtle hints about what he wanted his engagement to be like. He wanted it to be just us. It had to happen at a moment when we were happy and in sync. And it should definitely be a surprise.
I’ve never been good at keeping surprises, not because I spill the beans, but because they torment me. I buy my Christmas presents late because relating normally to someone when I know the present they have coming is just not possible, it’s too distracting. So, as you might imagine, this proposal business — by far the biggest and most complicated surprise I’ve ever put together — was enough to make me crazy.
When Matt and I firmed up our decision to travel both to Utah and to Arizona to see both of our families at Thanksgiving, I knew this was it. It would be perfect to do the proposal and then get to spend time with both families right after. It seemed so simple at the time.
Once the multi-stop flights with the surprise start in San Francisco were booked, I turned my attention to the ring. I knew this was the most important part, but it was the part I had the least to go on. Matt and I had looked at rings once in Trolley Square on our way to the Old Spaghetti Factory months ago. There was zero rhyme or reason to what he liked; everything from simple bling to rings even a professional athlete would think were weird. When it came to size, I had little to go on there too except that he once told me while on the phone from Arizona that he had put his mother’s ring on and it fit him perfectly.
After spending some time looking at rings, and with the clarity I would definitely need help, I called Shauna. We had a fun moment when I gave her the scoop on the proposal, and then got down to business. I gave her an old email address of mine that I don’t use anymore so we could keep our communications secret from Detective Matt. I emailed her photos of some of the rings I’d been looking at to get her opinion. Along with her offering to help with ideas for the ring, we talked about the possibility that she could re-route her surprise New Orleans birthday trip for Chris to meet up with us in San Francisco. This and the many subsequent phone calls and emails that Shauna and I had were definitely one of the most fun parts of the lead-up to the big moment. She was an absolute dream to have as a partner in crime; every bit as excited, emotional, and crazy as I was through the whole thing.
To be continued (after finals)…
Day-after the Proposal